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Cocktail Creators: Nicole Lebedevitch of Denver’s Ash’Kara

Nicole Lebedevitch, bar manager at Denver’s Ash’Kara {2005 West 33rd Avenue, Denver; 303.537.4407}, discusses how to craft a memorable cocktail and shares her recipe for the Fallen Cherry Fizz.

DiningOut: What do you enjoy most about bartending?

Lebedevitch: The constant ability to give someone the unexpected and get to be in that exact moment with them. You get to create something, deliver it to the guest, and then see their reaction, be it good or bad. You have the opportunity to make someone’s night—or turn it around by just a mere gesture through the tools that we have every night … good conversation, great food, or that unexpected drink.

DiningOut: What goes into creating a great cocktail?

Lebedevitch: Love and balance. A guest can tell when you make a drink because you have to rather than because you want to. It’s in the details—making it the same every time, using the correct tools for the job, and delivering it to the guest with excitement, even if it’s super subtle! It also has to be balanced from the origin of its creation, but the guest can tell when you make a cocktail without loving what you are doing.

DiningOut: What is the inspiration for this cocktail?

Lebedevitch: This cocktail is meant to be a great start to a meal here at Ash’Kara. With the balance of acidity from the cherry, lemon, and the Prosecco on the beautifully textured vodka that is Wheatley, we are able to awake the taste buds. We balance all of that out with the hints of cardamom to begin your exploration of spices that our cuisine has to offer.

The Cocktail: Fallen Cherry Fizz

Key Ingredient: Wheatley vodka

In a mixing glass, combine 1 1/2 ounces Wheatley vodka, 3/4 ounce cherry-cardamom syrup, 1/2 ounce lemon juice, 1/4 ounce gentian liqueur, a dash of Peychaud’s bitters, and ice. Shake to combine, then strain into a coupe glass and add 1 ounce Prosecco. Garnish with a lemon twist and cherry.

Photos and video by Brent Andeck of Andeck Photography