In the absence of holiday embraces and family gatherings, this hug in a glass hopes to quench our thirst for a little bit of warmth and cheer. The oh-so-aptly named FIG-get 2020 does just that through festive flavor combinations, with just the right amount of sugar and spice doing their damned best to make everything nice.
“During these crazy and uncertain times, I believe we are all craving any and all comfort of family and friends, but social distancing discourages contact, so creating a cocktail that smells and tastes like the holidays was my first priority!” says bartender Alexis Osborne.
To create all the sensory effects of holiday cheer, Osborne uses Flor de Caña 12 Year rum as the spirit behind the holiday spirit. In addition to the Flor de Caña base, she also adds Uruapan Charanda Blanco rum, the epic herb-and-spice liqueur Licor 43, chai syrup made with local fave Savory Spice Shop’s chai mix, and a hearty spoonful of fig jam. You don’t see jam cocktails all that often; it’s hard to pull off the balance of textures and flavors, but when done properly as it is here, the payoff is pure cocktail magic.
Flor De Caña is a fifth-generation family-owned distillery, with 130 years of history behind it. The family and the spirit house have withstood a plane crash, civil war, hyperinflation, fires, hurricanes, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. Through all those disasters and obstacles, the distillery has become fully carbon neutral and was the first distillery in the world to become Fair Trade Certified. In addition, Flor De Caña provides free healthcare for employees and their families, free schooling for employees’ children, and donations to nonprofits working to alleviate poverty and provide free medical services to child burn victims.
Osborne consciously chose Flor De Caña because the small, family-owned brand’s ethics are in line with her bar home, Pony Up. Her decision brings together two businesses that support their community, employees, and industries. Of her time at Pony Up, Osborne says, “I hadn’t expected to [meet] a woman, Angela Neri, who has changed the face of popular dining in Denver. For her it is all about inclusivity for all, and she truly lives it. Angela has changed the narrative of business owners in Denver the same way Flor De Caña did for rum.”
Although we can’t flock to Pony Up for our drink and French dip needs right now, the bar’s core values aren’t forgotten; they are clear through its service to the community and industry family meal initiatives. We look forward to the day it reopens its doors as a welcoming haven, after-work sanctuary, home away from home, and an overall great spot for food, drinks, and comradery.
- Restaurant: Pony Up, 1808 Blake St., Denver
- Bartender: Alexis Osborne
- Cocktail: FIG-get 2020
- Brand: Flor de Caña
- Pour cost: 20% (the sweet spot!)
- Price: $12. The to-go version is priced at $20 and serves two.
- Sales: $200 per week
- 1 ½ ounces Flor de Caña 12 Year rum
- ½ ounce Licor 43
- ½ ounce chai syrup
- ½ ounce lemon juice
- ¼ ounce Uruapan Charanda Blanco rum
- 1 spoonful fig jam (about 1 ounce)
Add all ingredients to a shaker tin with ice. Hard shake. Strain into rocks glass with fresh ice. Garnish with dried fig medallion.
- 8 ounces granulated sugar
- 16 ounces water
- 2 tablespoons Natural Grocers chai tea powder
- 1 tablespoon Savory Spice Shop chai mix
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cardamom powder
Add all ingredients to a pan and bring to a simmer. Cook on low for 20 minutes. Let cool and fine strain for use.
Jen Mattioni started working in bars and restaurants as a Philadelphia high school student and never left the industry. She moved to Denver in 2008 and has had the opportunity to manage, bartend, and serve at great spots including Q House, Leña, Prohibition, The Walnut Room, and Central Bistro; she is also the cocktail creator for Colorado FIVE 2019 and 2020. Currently, she’s completing her MFA degree and spends her free time eating as many breakfast sandwiches as humanly possible, creating oddball cocktails with ingredients she’s never used, fiending for dumplings, and reading too many books simultaneously.
What other Denver drinks are worth highlighting? Email your experiences (and thoughts, opinions, and questions—anything, really) to firstname.lastname@example.org.