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Behind the Bar with Jeff Volkman, Tequila Ambassador at Rio Grande

Meet Jeff and learn how to make his signature cocktail: The Silver Coin Margarita

It’s no secret that Denver is bursting at the seams with culinary talent. But too often in the shadows are equally talented mixologists­—spirit sages who are redefining the cocktail and reimagining our bar experience. And while other cities showcase esoteric craft bitters, artisan ice, and reincarnations of spirits from bygone eras, Colorado is busy infusing beverage programs with two Mile High passions: simple comforts and delectable creativity. On this stage of performative mixology the spotlight shines on many talents, blending dashes of whimsy with jiggers of mind-swirling flavor.

Jeff Volkman, Tequila Ambassador at Rio Grande

Jeff Volkman of Rio Grande

DiningOut: Describe your process for designing the perfect cocktail.
It all starts with fresh ingredients—brilliance in the basics. Every drink has its nuances: lots of thought, research, tasting, and, finally, making sure it is the perfect balance.

What do you love most about bartending?
The people. It’s great to interact with folks, see what they are looking for, and have them leave with a great experience.

What is the inspiration behind this cocktail?
The perfect, classic coin-style margarita. There is something beautiful in the basics and the classics.

The Cocktail: Silver Coin Margarita

Silver Coin Margarita

Fill a 32-ounce cocktail shaker with 5 ounces of ice. Add 2 ounces Herradura Silver tequila, 1-1/2 ounce Rio Citrus*, and 1/2 ounce Cointreau liqueur, then shake. Pour into an Old Fashioned rocks glass. Squeeze half a lime with a citrus press into cocktail. Garnish with an orange peel and a lime wheel.

*Rio Citrus: In a 2-cup measuring cup, add 1/2 cup sugar. Then, add warm water until the volume reaches 2 cups. Shake and stir until sugar has dissolved. Using a juicer, squeeze enough lemons and limes to render 8 ounces of lemon juice and lime juice. Be sure to strain citrus juice to get rid of pulp and seeds before measuring. Add lemon and lime juice to sugar water and mix thoroughly. (Yields 1 quart)

Photos and video by Brent Andeck

For a full look at the DiningOut Denver summer 2019 issue, click here.