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Behind the Bar with Nick Lowe of Brass Tacks

Meet Nick and try your hand at his popular cocktail the Morse Code

Nick Lowe of Brass Tacks

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.

Nick Lowe, bartender at Brass Tacks

DiningOut: Describe your process for designing the perfect cocktail.
For most cocktail creations, I begin with a flavor experience in mind, which I then strive to create while layering as much complexity as possible.

What do you love most about bartending?
I love that bartending creates the opportunity for new and different interactions on a constant basis. It always feels fresh. Every minute of each shift of each week is unique and different from the previous.

What’s the inspiration behind this cocktail?
My inspiration for this cocktail was one of my favorite tiki cocktails called Three Dots and a Dash, which combines rhum agricole and Jamaican rum to create a funky and grassy base. I stuck very close to the original build of this cocktail, while replacing the juices and sugars with those I found to better complement the chocolate and orange spice characteristics presented by Balcones rye whiskey.

The Cocktail: Morse Code

In a metal shaker, combine 2 ounces Balcones rye whiskey, 1/4 ounce amer liqueur, 3/4 ounce lemon juice, 1/2 ounce pineapple juice, 1/2 ounce Falernum, 1/2 ounce grenadine, and 1 barspoon St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram liqueur. Add in 4 ounces pebble ice, and shake. Pour into a tiki glass, and fill with more pebble ice. Garnish with mint sprigs, cherries, and an orange wheel.

Photos and video by Brent Andeck