Cheers to the Holiday Season: 3 Festive Recipes for All Gatherings

BY Gabriela Reyes


The holiday season is a special time of heightened gatherings, where you find yourself either playing the gracious host or eagerly attending with a delightful treat in hand. While there are dedicated holiday pop-up bars for you to visit around town, we continue to see the trend of non-alcoholic drinks’ popularity. For this reason, we have curated three exceptional recipes to elevate every gathering. This includes cocktails and mocktails for those who prefer to revel in the day’s festivities without the spirits, ensuring there’s something to delight everyone. 

Yampa Valley Kitchen

207 9th St, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487

If you’re heading up the mountain range this ski season, prepare to enjoy the culinary journey talents of restaurateur, Hannah Hopkins. Her latest endeavor is a trio of concepts including YVK centered around “chef-driven, scratch-made, and creative cuisine”, promising a gastronomic experience as breathtaking as the vistas that surround you.

“Steamboat’s locally-focused, sustainability superstar YVK has recently launched a rich and romantic dinner menu that includes local Chicken and Duck Liver Pate, Buttermilk Fried Hayden Fresh Farm Chicken, Duck à L’Orange (also available gluten-free), and Truffle and Herb Frites. Reservations can be made on OpenTable .”

Matcha Mint Garden & Tonic
Serves: 1
Preparation Time: Overnight

Mint Simple Syrup
1 cup turbinado sugar
1 cup boiling water
1 cup fresh mint leaves

Stir over heat until sugar dissolves. Let sit overnight. 

1.5 oz Seedlip Garden
1.5 oz mint simple syrup
1 oz fresh pressed green juice
1 oz lime juice
1 tbsp unsweetened matcha powder

Shake all ingredients with ice. 
Strain into a goblet glass filled with ice. 
Top with tonic.
Garnish with sliced cucumber and mint sprig.

OAK at Fourteenth

1400 Pearl St, Boulder, CO 80302

With an illustrious 14-year presence on the renowned Pearl Street, OAK has firmly established itself as a culinary cornerstone in Boulder. Highlighting a thoughtfully curated menu, each dish is a culinary masterpiece that transcends the ordinary dining experience.  Adding to the allure is their exceptional bar program, meticulously crafted under the expert guidance of Bryan Dayton, founder of the Colorado Bartenders Guild and renowned mixologist, along with the creative touch of Collin Griffith, Beverage Director at Half Eaten Cookie Hospitality. If you prefer a spirit-based cocktail, you can also concoct one of Collin’s rum-forward drinks–the Dueling Hongos

“Earlier this year, OAK at Fourteenth welcomed Chef Peter Ho as their new executive chef. At OAK, Chef Peter is a big fan of creating daily specials that showcase the fresh flavors of seasonal produce from local farms, and that, along with his wood-fired cooking skills, make him a perfect fit for the OAK team.”

Lights Out 
Serves: 1
Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Simple Syrup
1 qt sugar
1 qt water
1 pint of blackberries. 

Combine and bring to a boil and boil for five minutes.
Turn off the heat and add a sprig of thyme.
Cover and let ingredients steep for 30 minutes or until cooled. Strain.

1.5 oz zero-proof Three Spirits Livener
.5 oz blackberry thyme simple syrup
2-3 dashes Dram Apothecary Palo Santo bitters
6 dashes Fee Brothers Aztec chocolate bitters
Soda water

Combine Three Spirits, bitters, and simple syrup in a shaker filled with ice. 
Shake for a few seconds. 
Pour over a cube of ice, preferably, or a cup filled with ice. 
Garnish with blackberries and fresh thyme leaves.

Deviation Distilling

1821 Blake St #130, Denver, CO 80202

In the charming alley of Dairy Block in downtown Denver, Deviation Distilling calls cocktail enthusiasts with an enticing array of libations featuring their distinguished Deviation Gin, Barista Whiskey, and Zinfin Bourbon. This innovative team is a constant source of delight, crafting new and festive cocktails for every occasion, including their much-loved Love Potion. Today, we dive into the holiday spirit with a crowd-pleaser, the Ode to Cranberry, skillfully blending Barista Whiskey into a concoction that’s just a shake away from pure goodness.

Elevate your holiday celebrations with the 2023 USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards winners! Deviation Distilling proudly claims a spot in the Top 10 Best Spirit Tasting Rooms and Top 10 Best Craft Gin, promising an award-worthy experience and flavor. 

Ode to Cranberry
Serves: 1
Preparation Time: Minutes

2 oz Barista Spirits Aztec Whiskey
2 oz cranberry juice
½ oz maple syrup
½ oz ginger syrup
2 orange wheels
4-6 cranberries
Rosemary sprig

Add three cranberries to the shaker and muddle.
Fill the shaker with ice. Add whiskey, maple syrup, ginger syrup, and cranberry juice.
Vigorously shake for 20-30 seconds and strain your cocktail into a rock glass filled with ice.
Squeeze one orange wheel over the cocktail. Garnish with remaining cranberries, rosemary sprig, and orange wheel.


Gabriela Reyes

Gaby has been part of the Denver/Boulder food scene since 2015 when she moved to Colorado. While gradually losing her ability to eat due to six years of misdiagnosed food allergies, she became fascinated with the culinary scene. Gaby, aka The Restaurant Encyclopedia, has been DiningOut’s restaurant coordinator for food festivals since 2017 and joined the editorial team in 2022.

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