Denver’s Ritual Cocktail Showdown Returns: Vote Now!

BY Steph Wilson


Who doesn’t love a good cocktail? Those deliciously dangerous elixirs that turn any mundane day into a tale worth telling—or at least, an evening worth forgetting. If you believe, like we do, that a proper cocktail is the life of the party, the bon vivant of beverages, then do we have news for you? The Ritual, DiningOut Events’ cocktail Olympics, is back for another round. This year, we’re toasting—virtually, of course—the craftiest, the quirkiest, and the most palate-pleasing concoctions Denver has to offer.

When Cocktails Get an Upgrade

Here’s the gist of The Ritual 2023: It’s a tableside cocktail competition designed to take your favorite bartender from anonymous booze architect to the Banksy of beverages. This isn’t just about making drinks; it’s about creating an atmosphere, an experience—a ritual, if you will. Inspired by the slow food movement’s renaissance of mindful dining, The Ritual aims to do the same for our drinking habits. How, you ask? Through the time-honored art of tableside service, a touch of drama is added to your dram. But don’t think of this as a step back in time. Instead, consider it a sip forward into a future where cocktails come with charisma and voting privileges.

Introducing the Liquid Magicians

Denver’s mixologists are stepping out from behind the bar and bringing their craft directly to your table. Let’s see who’s mixing, shaking, and stirring their way to victory this year:

Bistro Vendome: Barbara Silbernagel is stirring up C’est La Vie, so existential crises can wait.

Yardbird: Michael Marquez & Jason Green offer Lavender Honey Haze because we all need a little sweet chaos.

Emerald Eye: Caitlin O’Neill crafts The Ultraviolet Vow, a cocktail so vivid, it can be seen from space.

Mama Lolita’s Mexican: Chris Zeier’s El Otoño Ahumado offers a smoky ode to fall.

Welton Room: Sash Nguyen is luring you to The Dark Side, and spoiler, you won’t want to leave.

Wildflower: Alexis Osborne goes Neither Here Nor There, just like our commitment issues.

NECIO Mexican Kitchen: Jose Gurrola shakes up an Oaxaca Old Fashioned, a hat tip to the classics.

Cantina Loca: Eric Norberg’s Jugo De Loca might make you lose your marbles—because sanity is overrated.

Clairette: EJ Psilas presents The Clairette Cup, a cocktail that’s practically a trophy.

Local Jones: Daniel Frenchmore’s Double Dutch will have you skipping with joy—or tipsiness.

So, How Does This Dance Work?

The Ritual is more than a cocktail competition; it’s a democratic process that even our Founding Fathers would envy. Round one of voting starts today and runs until November 11. So, if you have any sense of civic—or, in this case, sip-vic—duty, you’ll make your way to these watering holes ASAP. The finalists will be decided in a second round of voting from November 12 to 18, with the winner announced on November 21.

Mark these dates, because the drinking game is on:

Oct. 30–Nov. 11: First Round Voting (Yes, that starts today, folks!)

Nov. 12–18: Finalist Round Voting

Nov. 21: Winner Announced

Vote Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

Don’t wait for election fatigue to set in; the voting booths are open, and in this case, they’re your local bars. Consider this an invite to multiple parties, each offering a signature drink that might just change your life—or at least your night. 

Head on over to The Ritual’s website to meet the contestants and their concoctions—and to cast your votes. Denver’s elite sippers and tipplers have been busy crafting experiences in a glass, and it’s your civic duty to go taste and vote for the drink that’ll replace your usual vodka soda. 

Make your voice, and your liver heard. Take a sip on the wild side. And may the best Ritual win.

Bottles Behind the Magic

Big thanks to our spirit animal sponsor, Rémy Cointreau, for keeping their portfolio of bottles flowing:

Bruichladdich (both Scottish Barley and Port Charlotte)
Mount Gay Rum
Rémy Martin
The Botanist Islay Dry Gin


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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