At Forget Me Not cocktail bar in Denver’s Cherry Creek neighborhood, the beverage program strives to be more than just memorable or even unique—it aims to be, well, unforgettable. So a cocktail that comes in a crystal vat, serves six, and gets set on fire? That does the trick.
“When any of our large-format drinks emerge from the back service well, everyone in the bar stops and stares,” says bartender Aneka Otte. “Everyone grabs their phone the second it hits the table. It creates a buzz that people want to be a part of.”
She’s Tropical is the latest addition to the menu’s large-format cocktails (read: epically sized, punchbowl-style group drinks). It evokes sugar-sand beaches, gently swaying palm trees, and cerulean skies with its citrus tang and primary notes of passion fruit and melon.
Though it’s inspired by beach vibes and warm weather, Otte says the behemoth beverage is also an opportunity to explore the role loose-leaf teas, herbs, and botanicals can play in a cocktail; it’s a subtle nod to the building’s former life as a flower shop. “[I was] inspired by my time spent in local tea shops and apothecaries,” Otte explains. “I found unexpected flavors and ingredients curated by shop owners who put so much care into those products. [Likewise, at Forget Me Not] we source from trusted purveyors, pair ingredients and flavors in creative ways, and do our best to offer a level of service that sets us apart.”
In She’s Tropical, Otte’s own bitter melon tea syrup offsets the sweetness of the fruit, resulting in a light, refreshing, and well-balanced summer sipper. So when Otte needed to select a spirit to round out the recipe, Grey Goose vodka was an easy call.
“I trust the Grey Goose brand and its consistency. Whether I’m stirring it into a martini or throwing it into a large vessel and lighting the whole thing on fire, I know the spirit and trust that our guests will enjoy the drink,” she says. “Plus, Grey Goose offers plenty of texture, so it holds up against all the other ingredients instead of getting lost.”
But if the killer recipe and Grey Goose base weren’t enough to keep people coming back for the She’s Tropical, the presentation definitely is. “Carved melon, lemons lit on fire, orchids,” Otte says. “It just looks like a party!”
- Restaurant: Forget Me Not, 227 Clayton Street, Denver
- Bartender: Aneka Otte
- Cocktail: She’s Tropical
- Brand: Grey Goose
- Price: $120 (serves six)
- 2 ounces passion fruit puree
- 4 ounces lemon juice
- 4 ounces lime juice
- 12 ounces bitter melon tea syrup (bitter melon tea steeped in simple syrup)
- 12 ounces Grey Goose vodka
- 8 ounces sparkling wine (or whatever tastes good!)
In a large vessel, combine all ingredients except sparkling wine. Give a quick stir and add crushed ice. Top with sparkling wine and a little more ice. Garnish with a carved half melon, spent lemon halves, and edible orchids. For extra fun, pour some overproof rum on the lemons and light on fire.
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