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Cocktail Creators: Kendra Anderson of Denver’s Bar Helix

Kendra Anderson, owner of Bar Helix {3440 Larimer St., Denver; 720.449.8587}, discusses what goes into creating a memorable cocktail and shares her drink recipe for the Jamaican Negroni.

DiningOut: What do you enjoy most about bartending?

Anderson: As a first-time bar owner, I thought that it was really important that I learn how to bartend so that I could not only have the opportunity to personally make cocktails for my guests, but also to make sure that I learned how best to set my bar team up for success. It’s also a ton of fun.

DiningOut: What goes into creating a great cocktail?

Anderson: At Bar Helix, we actually prefer to create memorable experiences for our guests by taking them on an unexpected journey with our cocktails. Typically, that means creating a drink that combines a familiar spirit with one that’s lesser known or more unique, then making sure it’s truly delicious and perfectly balanced—and maybe even has a name that might make them blush a little.

DiningOut: What is the inspiration for this cocktail?

Anderson: Our Jamaican Negroni (which is a riff on the Kingston Negroni) was inspired by one of our longtime regulars, Kirkaldy Myers—who loved Negroni cocktails and also happened to hail from Jamaica. He told us that he was about to move away from Denver and so we wanted to create a drink in his honor. The addition of the pineapple-infused Campari makes the drink even more delightful—just like our friend Kirkaldy!

The Cocktail: The Jamaican Negroni

Key Ingredient: Campari

In a mixing glass filled with fresh ice, add 1 ounce pineapple-infused Campari, 1 ounce Appleton Estate Reserve Blend rum, 1 ounce Dolin Rouge vermouth, and 2 dashes Bittermens ‘Elemakule Tiki Bitters and stir 40 times to fully combine and dilute. Strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with fresh ice. Express the oils from 1 lemon twist into the drink, then rest the twist in the glass.

Photos and video by Brent Andeck of Andeck Photography