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The Family Jones Spirit House is a distillery and food and drink tasting room in LoHi
Adam Larkey

The Cocktail Heatmap: Where to Drink in Denver This Winter

The restaurants and watering holes that will quench your thirst and then some

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The Family Jones Spirit House is a distillery and food and drink tasting room in LoHi
| Adam Larkey

Whether modern and original, or time-tested and throwback, cocktails can be the change-makers of an evening on the town, a good time in a glass. Here in Denver, bartenders have worked hard to perfect inspired drinks with house-made shrubs and bitters, locally distilled spirits, and unexpected flavor agents.

They've brought back straightforward aperitifs and after-dinner bar carts, made a case for rum for rum's sake, and reintroduced milk punches. These drinks are served inside fancy hotels, or cool lounges, stealth speakeasies, or sprawling restaurants. But regardless of setting, the options around Denver for great mixed beverages abound this winter.

Organized alphabetically, here are the 12 newest hot spots to wet your whistle and get a buzz on. Looking for an essential Denver bar? Check out this list of the classics. Don't see your favorite new spot listed? Give it some love in the comments, or send a tip to denver@eater.com.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Millers And Rossi

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Tucked behind an art gallery, this buzzy RiNo cocktail bar features warming winter cocktails such as Scotch Pear, Earl Grace (Hennessey, green chartreuse, Early Grey, lemon, and egg white), and a smoked old fashioned.
Adam Larkey

Citizen Rail

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From beverage master Chris Burmeister comes a welcome happy hour option in the Union Station area. Look for clarified milk cocktails, mixing mezcal, cantaloupe, milk, yellow chartreuse, citrus, and charred grapefruit.
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Wayward

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Spearheaded by one of the country's best new mixologists, this sister spot to popular bar The Way Back offers delicious cocktails starting with weekday happy hour and continuing into weekend brunch. This winter, try Aspen's Back Yard with gin, matcha, and green chartreuse, or Take Your Time with Japanese whisky, Grand Marnier, and Becherovka. And don't miss the Olympics pop-up bar running Tuesday through Saturday during the winter 2018 games.
Adam Larkey

Bar Helix

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Bar Helix screams sex appeal with its flirtatious design and drinks. And while it's first and foremost a modern wine bar, cocktails too are seriously fun in this RiNo hot spot. Try a play on the negroni with campari, vermouth, and cava.
Facebook

Greenlight Lab

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Located off the alley behind Denver Central Market, this new experimental speakeasy by the owners of local bar and restaurant design firm LIVstudio is a one-of-a-kind experience. Find rotating cocktails as well as decor, as the owners continue to test out new concepts for the Denver market.
Greenlight Lab

Izakaya Ronin

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The new Izakaya Ronin's biggest drinking draw comes in the form of a late-night underground whisky bar. Specializing in Japanese spirits and soju, find rare barrel blends and niche cocktails to accompany that midnight bowl of ramen.
Ryan Dearth

Tatarian

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By the owners of beloved Arvada Tavern and Union Lodge No. 1, Tatarian brings nature-inspired cocktails to a stylish and small space in the Berkeley neighborhood. See drinks named for trees and ingredients found in plant matter.
<span data-author="7916">The Tatarian</span> Tatarian

Tavernetta

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Sure, any restaurant by the Frasca Food & Wine team will be known for its wine selection, but go to Tavernetta all winter long for a happy hour spritz in the lounge, a Tavernetta Toddy by the fire, and a post-pasta Cynar or Fernet Branca.
Adam Larkey

The Family Jones Spirit House

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LoHi's new distillery and tasting room provides the rare combination of fine house-made food and liquor, with a cocktail program taking both to the next level. To try distiller Rob Masters' and bartender Nick Touch's winning combinations, order a tea-infused Collins, or a cherry gin sour with lemon, salt, pistachio orgeat, and nut brittle.
Adam Larkey

Ultreia

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Inside Union Station, Ultreia is a dramatic fifth act by the owners of local favorite restaurants Rioja, Bistro Vendome, Euclid Hall, and Stoic & Genuine. Find a gin-heavy cocktail menu with complex variations on the classic Spanish gin tonic, and always start things off with a dry sherry.
Ryan Dearth
Quarters are close in this European-inspired, day-to-night cafe, but in the best way. Patrons can grab a seat on the bleachers or perch by the bar rail with cocktails for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or later. For day drinking, the Squeeze Play is a screwdriver with a twist — orgeat, ginger, and orange flower water are added to the vodka. By night, Call Your Friends packs a clarified punch with port, Batavia arrack, black tea, lemon, milk, and sugar.
Ryan Dearth
Billed as sophisticated Southern fare, the new Julep restaurant in RiNo also puts out steadfast cocktails from behind a stylish centerpiece bar. At dinner, the sorghum old fashioned is a safe bet. For brunch, Pimm's cups and milk punches are all the rage.
Adam Larkey

Millers And Rossi

Adam Larkey
Tucked behind an art gallery, this buzzy RiNo cocktail bar features warming winter cocktails such as Scotch Pear, Earl Grace (Hennessey, green chartreuse, Early Grey, lemon, and egg white), and a smoked old fashioned.
Adam Larkey

Citizen Rail

Facebook
From beverage master Chris Burmeister comes a welcome happy hour option in the Union Station area. Look for clarified milk cocktails, mixing mezcal, cantaloupe, milk, yellow chartreuse, citrus, and charred grapefruit.
Facebook

Wayward

Adam Larkey
Spearheaded by one of the country's best new mixologists, this sister spot to popular bar The Way Back offers delicious cocktails starting with weekday happy hour and continuing into weekend brunch. This winter, try Aspen's Back Yard with gin, matcha, and green chartreuse, or Take Your Time with Japanese whisky, Grand Marnier, and Becherovka. And don't miss the Olympics pop-up bar running Tuesday through Saturday during the winter 2018 games.
Adam Larkey

Bar Helix

Facebook
Bar Helix screams sex appeal with its flirtatious design and drinks. And while it's first and foremost a modern wine bar, cocktails too are seriously fun in this RiNo hot spot. Try a play on the negroni with campari, vermouth, and cava.
Facebook

Greenlight Lab

Greenlight Lab
Located off the alley behind Denver Central Market, this new experimental speakeasy by the owners of local bar and restaurant design firm LIVstudio is a one-of-a-kind experience. Find rotating cocktails as well as decor, as the owners continue to test out new concepts for the Denver market.
Greenlight Lab

Izakaya Ronin

Ryan Dearth
The new Izakaya Ronin's biggest drinking draw comes in the form of a late-night underground whisky bar. Specializing in Japanese spirits and soju, find rare barrel blends and niche cocktails to accompany that midnight bowl of ramen.
Ryan Dearth

Tatarian

<span data-author="7916">The Tatarian</span> Tatarian
By the owners of beloved Arvada Tavern and Union Lodge No. 1, Tatarian brings nature-inspired cocktails to a stylish and small space in the Berkeley neighborhood. See drinks named for trees and ingredients found in plant matter.
<span data-author="7916">The Tatarian</span> Tatarian

Tavernetta

Adam Larkey
Sure, any restaurant by the Frasca Food & Wine team will be known for its wine selection, but go to Tavernetta all winter long for a happy hour spritz in the lounge, a Tavernetta Toddy by the fire, and a post-pasta Cynar or Fernet Branca.
Adam Larkey

The Family Jones Spirit House

Adam Larkey
LoHi's new distillery and tasting room provides the rare combination of fine house-made food and liquor, with a cocktail program taking both to the next level. To try distiller Rob Masters' and bartender Nick Touch's winning combinations, order a tea-infused Collins, or a cherry gin sour with lemon, salt, pistachio orgeat, and nut brittle.
Adam Larkey

Ultreia

Ryan Dearth
Inside Union Station, Ultreia is a dramatic fifth act by the owners of local favorite restaurants Rioja, Bistro Vendome, Euclid Hall, and Stoic & Genuine. Find a gin-heavy cocktail menu with complex variations on the classic Spanish gin tonic, and always start things off with a dry sherry.
Ryan Dearth

Call

Ryan Dearth
Quarters are close in this European-inspired, day-to-night cafe, but in the best way. Patrons can grab a seat on the bleachers or perch by the bar rail with cocktails for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or later. For day drinking, the Squeeze Play is a screwdriver with a twist — orgeat, ginger, and orange flower water are added to the vodka. By night, Call Your Friends packs a clarified punch with port, Batavia arrack, black tea, lemon, milk, and sugar.
Ryan Dearth

Julep

Adam Larkey
Billed as sophisticated Southern fare, the new Julep restaurant in RiNo also puts out steadfast cocktails from behind a stylish centerpiece bar. At dinner, the sorghum old fashioned is a safe bet. For brunch, Pimm's cups and milk punches are all the rage.
Adam Larkey

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