Category Archives: spirits

Lyons Liqueur Medals in New York

Local liqueur features decaf coffee & clean alcohol.

richardosbottleRichardo’s Decaf Coffee Liqueur, a 40-proof liqueur made with naturally decaffeinated coffee, pure vanilla and neutral grain spirits, was awarded a Silver Medal at the 7th Annual New York International Spirits Competition. It is the fifth international award win for Richardo’s, which can be used in cocktails, cooking and baking, and served neat or over ice. Do alcohol and decaf coffee cancel each other out?

Richard England makes his liqueur through a patent-pending process blending neutral grain spirits with England’s signature mix of naturally decaffeinated coffee, high-quality vanilla and other ingredients, then aged for at least 30 days. England and his wife, Linda, started making Richardo’s in small batches in 1986 , mainly for family and friends. In 2012, he teamed up with Spirit Hound Distillers to take his recipe to production scale while still keeping the rich, creamy and smooth taste of the liqueur intact.

According to England, Richardo’s Decaf Coffee Liqueur is made with high-quality vanilla and decaffeinated coffee, which requires less sugar to overcome the natural bitterness of caffeine.

Made just outside Denver in Lyons, Colorado, Richardo’s is available at Spirit Hound Distillers tasting room on the east side of in Lyons. We’ve passed it a million times en route to Estes Park. We’ve got to stop next time for a distillery tour and to try some Richardo’s. If you aren’t going though Lyons, click here for Colorado liquor stores and restaurant where you can find it.  4196 Ute Highway (US Highway 36), Lyons; 303- 823-5696 (tasting room) or 720- 636-4525.

Five Top Colorado Steakhouses

Open Table’s “100 Best” list includes a handful in metro Denver.

OpenTable-logoOpen Table, the online restaurant reservation site, has unveiled its users’ choices for the 100 Best Steakhouses in America for 2016. Of those, five are in Colorado — all in Denver or the greater metro area. They are:

  • Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Greenwood Village
  • Elway’s Cherry Creek, Denver
  • Guard & Grace, Denver
  • Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille, Park Meadows, Lone Tree
  • Shanahan’s Steakhouse, Denver

I was alerted to this by a Del Frisco’s spokeswoman, who also noted that this upscale steakhouse chain has three interesting insiders’ features:

  • Secret menu items  that “only those with prior knowledge know to order the off-menu delights, many inspired by Del Frisco’s regulars and local celebrities.”
  • Non-traditional spirits  that vary by each location, offering “some of the rarest vintages and bottles available in the U.S.
  • The recently created recently created Somm Wars pitting “Leaders of Women in Wine” against each other, “with Del being “home to many top female sommeliers and a friendly three-city wine competition, which will become an annual event.” The three cities are Dallas, New York and Chicago.

Cornucopia Coming Up at Whistler

Canadian resort’s dazzling November food and wine festival.

cornupcopiaCanadian Thanksgiving occurs in October, leaving room for other eating and drinking “opportunities” in November. Cornucopia runs from the 10th through the 20th. Now 20 years old, this dazzling 11-day display of gourmet food and drink, attracts over 15,000 visitors. Respected industry professionals, judges and presenters to headline each event, seminar and tasting.

In addition to the Culinary Stage and dinners, a series of seminars starting on November 12 cover what could be argued by some as four important “food” groups: wine, beer, cocktails and spirits.Topics include pairing food and cocktails, spirited chocolate, bubbly cocktails, tequila, the history of IPA, pairing wine and chocolate, or wine and pizza, happy hour @ home and more The festival’s hallmark event, Crush Grand Gala Tasting,  Saturday, November 12 , with a vibrant atmosphere where attendees are invited to sip, savor and sample their way through a feast of wines from BC and beyond.

Click here for a full schedule and here to purchase tickets.

‘Gourmet on the Gore’ Fest on Labor Day

10th annual food and wine festival in Vail.

GourmetOnTheGore-logoA Taste of Colorado, the long-running Labor Day Weekend tradition of food, entertainment, carnival attractions and vendors galore, packs ’em in to Denver’s Civic Center Park. But an option in the mountains holds more epicurean appeal –.away from the Front Range’s late summer heat. The commonality, in addition to being in Colorado, is that entry to both events is free. You pay for what you eat.

The 10th annual Gourmet on Gore, a comparatively new classic culinary festival, takes place in the heart of Vail on Labor Day Weekend (September 2-5) and features gastronomic creations from some of Vail’s most renowned chefs, sips from world-class vintners, exceptional beers and events that highlight the natural beauty of Vail. In short, you won’t fine BBQ turkey legs or funnel cake.

In addition to the open-air tasting with wine, beer and spirits selections and  food from the Vail Valley’s top restaurants, Gourmet on Gore offers also offers a variety of additional pairing events and outdoor activities throughout the weekend. The Tasting Tour kicks things off on Friday, September 4, and Open-Air Tastings take place on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 5 and 6, from 11 a.m.  to  6 p.m. Brunch on Bridge Street closes the weekend on Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Find a full schedule of events, lodging packages and other details or purchase Tasting Tour tickets online, FoMoInfo: 970.476.6797 x712.

Durango Wine Experience This Weekend

Food & wine showcased in Southwest Colorado event.

DurangoWineExperience2016-logoI seem to remember being at the very first Durango Wine Experience a decade ago. If not that one, I must have been at the second. In any event, it was an early one and it was terrific. Seminars and tastings, chefs and winemakers occupied Durango‘s charming Main Street. It’s kicking off today for the 10th time. Wish I were there.

Half-dozen educational seminars start today. The Walk-About Durango, the signature tasting event, provides attendees to enjoy a casual, multi-location stroll in downtown Durango tasting wine, beer, spirits and drinking in the artsy atmosphere. It takes place tomorrow, Friday, May 6 from 4 to7 p.m.

The Grand Tasting is grand indeed, with top local chefs and scores terrific wineries, distributors, breweries and distilleries from around the world featured on Saturday, May 7 from 3 to 6:30 p.m. If you can still make it, click here for tickets. If not, put it on your radar screen for 2017. I am.

New Cocktails Made with Premium Scotch

The Famous Grouse shines in quartet of new cocktails.

003I am not sure why I was invited to the recent introduction of four bespoke cocktails, All the other guests were in the spirits industry. I was the only food writer/blogger. But I welcome any opportunity to visit TAG Continental Social Food, one of the landmark Larimer Square restaurants. TAG provided delicious hors d’oeuvres to accompany the cocktails, all made with The Famous Grouse Scotch whisky.

I’m really not much of a whisky/whiskey drinkers, but three of these four concoctions went a long way in changing my opinion. They were very, very good. The Old Fashioned was a bit “pure” for my taste. Here’s the new quartet of unique adult beverages:

The Old Scotsman is the name of a new tall cocktail,. It is made with The Famous Grouse blended Scotch whisky, Owl's Brew The Famous Mint Tea, honey mint syrup, Angostura Bitters, lemon juice and ginger beer, Truly tasty.
The Old Scotsman is the name of a new tall cocktail,. It is made with The Famous Grouse blended Scotch whisky, Owl’s Brew The Famous Mint Tea, honey mint syrup, Angostura Bitters, lemon juice and ginger beer, Truly tasty.
The Maesto features The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whiskey. Amantillado sherry, Amaretto, a bit of Peychaud's bitters and twist in a coupe.
The Maestro features The Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky. Amantillado sherry, Amaretto, a bit of Peychaud’s bitters and twist in a coupe. It’s a glamorous cocktail.
On the left, the Italian Old-Fashioned -- The Black Grouse, Amaro CioCiaro, Cocktail Punk smoked orange bitters, sugar cube, orange peel and Angostura bitters
On the left, the Italian Old-Fashioned — The Black Grouse, Amaro CioCiaro, Cocktail Punk smoked orange bitters, sugar cube, orange peel and Angostura bitters. Stir My Brandy With a Nail is a curiously named cocktail that combines several ingredients that are unusual in and of themselves and greatly interesting in a balanced cocktail.made with The Famous Grouse, Maison Rouge Cognac, Owls Brew Smoky Earl Syrup and lemon juice, topped by a lemon wheel.

Continue reading New Cocktails Made with Premium Scotch

1515 Restaurant’s Swank Bar

New menu, new cocktails & new style at Rewind.

0011515 Restaurant has been a downtown Denver staple for nearly two decades. The street-level bar is known as a congenial place for a drink and bite, while the second-floor restaurant is a fine-dining tradition under the careful operation of owner Gene Tang.  Because it’s been around for so long, 1515 never makes it onto any hot lists anymore, but it has a long history of good food, hospitality and service.

Gene Tang, long-time owner of 1515 Restaurant.
Gene Tang, long-time owner of 1515 Restaurant.

With a makeover, a new menu including molecular gastronomy tricks and a new name, Rewind) has become a very cool place. Gene’s wife Paula redesigned the space, using reclaimed wood, cool lighting and seating (and standing) choices. Rena Day, a well-known and well-liked bartender at Zengo, now Rewind’s bar manager, oversees a program of new cocktails and a fab selection of craft beer. Did I mention the award-winning wine list?

It is possible to get food from the main restaurant menu, but the new pub’s intriguing bar menu is part of the experience. Bottom line: you can order new, traditional or a combo at Rewind.

Rena Day, mixing away.
Rena Day, mixing away.
Back to the glam forties cocktail culture.
Back to the glam forties cocktail culture.
The Chinese-inspired steamed bun category of food is represented with these plump pork-filled beauties.
The Chinese-inspired steamed bun category of food is represented with these plump pork-filled beauties.
A line of vrisp-vegetarian spring rolls with ginger-soy dipping sauce.
A line of crisp-vegetarian spring rolls with ginger-soy dipping sauce.
A tray of fresh Dover sole en papillotte draws on 1515'classic European heritage.
A tray of fresh Dover sole en papillote draws on 1515’s classic European favorites.
Cutting into the parchment package in which the sole was steamed.
Cutting into the parchment package in which the sole was steamed.
Modern molecular magic as a mozzarella ball is inflated.
Modern molecular magic as a mozzarella ball is inflated.
An ecelctic plate of an oyster Rcokefeller on a nest of greens and mozzarella ball with Balsamic vinegar drizzled on top, plus a little Caprese tower.
An eclectic plate of an oyster Rockefeller on a nest of greens, a mozzarella ball with Balsamic vinegar drizzled on top, and a classic Caprese salad combination .
Ultra-thin slices of Coloado Wagyu beef seared on a hot stone.
Ultra-thin slices of Colorado Wagyu beef seared on a hot stone.

Price check: Rewind’s small-plate prices are $5-$8. 1515 Restaurant’s appetizers are $15-$22.

Rewind and its progenitor, 1515 Restaurant, are at  1515 Market Street, Denver; 303-571-0011.

1515 Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato