dirks lemonade in glass on wooden table

Colorado Concerts and Cocktails In a Creative Collaboration

If your favorite song was a drink, what would it be?

BY Steph Wilson

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Summer concert season is about to kick into full swing, so why not mesh the two together. In the spirit of fun, we paired some of the touring artist’s most iconic lyrics with Denver’s dynamic drinks. Put them together and it’s sure to make your evening hit all the right notes.

Ay Papi vs. Rainbow Kitten Surprise

The song: It’s Called: Freefall 

The lyrics: Called to the Devil and the Devil did come / I said to the Devil, “Devil, do you like drums? / Do you like cigarettes, dominoes, rum?” 

The cocktail: Old Cuban at Ay Papi 

The show: Playing May 30, 31, and June 1 at The Mission Ballroom. 4242 Wynkoop St., Denver, missionballroom.com

In Cuba dominoes and rum rule. In fact, dominoes have long been a staple in Cuba’s game scene. In Denver, Ay Papi brings a bit of that pizazz to the Cherry Creek neighborhood. It is, after all, the go-to hotspot for a taste of the tropical isle’s sultry spirit.

Capping in on this vibe, Ay Papi’s Old Cuban marries funky rum with sweet mint, lime, bitters, and bubbles. Just like the devil’s game of choice, this cocktail is a staple of Cuban leisure. And it’s perfect for toasting to Rainbow Kitten Surprise’s rhythmic beats. 248 Detroit St., Denver, aypapidenver.com 

Yacht Club vs. King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard

Yacht Club Fourth Colour cocktails
Tap in to King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard with a drink. | Photo by Yacht Club

The song: The Fourth Colour 

The lyrics: I believe the hyperbole / I see the fourth colour 

The cocktail: The Fourth Colour at Yacht Club

The show: Playing June 7 at Red Rocks Amphitheater. 18300 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison, redrocksonline.com

Brace yourself for a cocktail as mind-bending as a King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard track. The Fourth Colour is a psychedelic mix of Hendricks gin, exotic fruits, and mysterious botanicals that might just have you seeing sounds. It’s a fizzy take on a gin punch straight out of another dimension. 

While you’re there, take a moment to appreciate the other lyrical connections permeating the drink menu. Many of Yacht Club’s signature cocktails share a name with lyrics or titles of tracks by artists and bands including The Grateful Dead (Pinch of Grace, Laughing Bones, Lazy Lightning), Phish (Strange Design), Dolly Parton (Tennessee Homesick Blues), Jimmy Buffet (Changes in Attitude), and more. 3701 N. Williams St., Denver, yachtclubbar.com 

Desert Social Bar & Lounge vs. Disco Lines

The song: Techno & Tequila

The lyrics: Techno and tequila / I can’t even see ya 

The cocktail: Batanga at Desert Social Bar & Lounge

The show: Playing June 8 at the Regenerate Festival in Civic Center Park. 101 14th Ave., Denver, civiccenterpark.org

Composed of cane sugar, sweet lime juice tart, and herbaceous liquor, the Batanga cocktail goes down like water. Hence, it won’t be long until you “can’t even see ya.” It’s the perfect combo for the DJ-playing party oasis on South Broadway, the ideal place to enjoy a calm come up before the electronic dance music storm of the festival. 1312 S. Broadway, Denver, desertsocialdenver.com 

Poka Lola Social Club vs. Big Head Todd & The Monsters

The song: Bittersweet

The lyrics: More sweet than bitter / Bitter than sweet / It’s a bittersweet surrender 

The cocktail: Bittersweet Symphony 

The bar: Poka Lola Social Club

The show: Playing June 8 at Red Rocks Amphitheater. 18300 W. Alameda Pkwy., Morrison, redrocksonline.com

When life gives you lemons, let Poka Lola Social Club mix them into a Bittersweet Symphony. This cocktail balances the punchy bite of Espolon Blanco with the mellow murmur of Gallo Select, echoing the song’s push and pull between joy and sorrow. It’s complicated, layered, and profoundly sippable.

Another boon, the moniker comes from a track born the same decade as Big Head Todd & The Monsters’ enduring hit. Not to mention the show’s opening act this June is The Wallflowers, who were as big as they’d ever be the year that Cruel Intentions made Bittersweet Symphony an instant classic. 1850 Wazee St., Denver, pokaloladenver.com 

Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row vs. Morgan Wallen

Dierks party
Get down and party before or after a concert. | Photo by Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row

The song: Whiskey Glasses 

The lyrics: I’ma need some whiskey glasses / ‘Cause I don’t wanna see the truth 

The cocktail: Dierks’ Lemonade at Dierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row 

The show: Playing June 27 and 28 at Empower Field at Mile High. 1701 Bryant St., Denver, empowerfieldatmilehigh.com

There’s no doubt Wallen loves his whiskey, he seems to mention it in every other song. For example, Sand in My Boots (she said, “Dont cowboys drink whiskey?”) to Cowgirls (I hate that I love the way them kisses taste like whiskey) to Chasin’ You (Chasing you like a shot of whiskey), and the list goes on and on. 

Since Dierks Bentley tapped Wallen to be his co-headliner at his 2022 Seven Peaks Festival, what better way to get loose before a country hoedown than swinging by the cowboy crooner’s bar in Denver. Order the sweet concoction made with a Jack Daniels Tennessee whiskey base that’s as smooth as a Wallen ballad. 1946 Market St., Denver, dierkswhiskeyrow.com 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steph Wilson

Steph Wilson is a writer, editor, and creative maximalist in Denver. She makes magazines for a living and throws color around the world like confetti for fun.
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