Raise a Glass to Denver’s Top Ritual Makers
The Winner of this tableside cocktail competition is…
A cocktail renaissance is underway. Diners and drinkers across the nation are craving a new kind of hospitality experience. Something that will re-center our focus from quantity back to quality; from speed back to precision; from work back to art. We’re witnessing the beginnings of a new era that aims to celebrate a truly great cocktail experience as it was meant to be enjoyed. Because an evening out for drinks should be more than a seat at the bar and liquor in a glass — it’s a luxury to be indulged and an age-old ritual to be honored.
For the first time, DiningOut Events partnered with Remy Cointreau to bring you The Ritual, a Colorado cocktail competition meant to challenge and inspire mixologists across the Front Range to dig deep, return to their roots, and bring beauty back to bartending through craft cocktail service that is thoughtful, unique, ingredient-focused, and primed to usher in a whole new age of signature beverage service.
We handpicked some of the region’s most premier professionals behind the bar and asked them to create a custom cocktail “ritual” — something that captured the essence of all that a true hospitality experience should entail. Then, we asked you — the diners, imbibers, and proud patrons of Colorado — to vote on your favorite. Last, we narrowed to the top four finalists, and you got to decide which ritual stands above the rest. From classic punch bowls and flame-engulfed garnishes to tableside smoke domes, what does the new era of craft cocktails look like to you?
WINNER OF THE RITUAL
The Denver tiki bar is a tropical-themed oasis with island-inspired craft cocktails and Polynesian and Caribbean eats. An OpenTable Diners’ Choice and Restaurant Clicks Best of 2022, Adrift delivers not only on the refreshing sips and uniquely tasty fare to go along with the tiki style, but also boasts an entire tropic-influenced interior that transports all who enter to a beachy haven far from their present reality.
Trouble in Paradise
The Trouble in Paradise has one job: to foster a great time. Served in a beautiful, gleaming, turtle-shaped punch bowl, this cocktail experience includes three different spirits, Jell-O shots, an edible marshmallow garnish (for toasting!), a kiss of fresh fruit and bubbles, and all the promise of a beachy, tropical, island paradise.
“For me, and here at Adrift, [people] come here because it’s a tiki bar, and it’s this awesome experience that they want to have — so we want to show them something they don’t really see anywhere else in Denver. I want them to come in here and forget about everything else going on, be happy, drink, and make friends.”
—Giovanni Fioramonte, Beverage Director of Adrift
Guard & Grace
High Roller Vieux Carré
At Guard & Grace, the M.O. across the board is elevated excellence, and this cocktail ritual is no exception. The High Roller Vieux Carré is thoughtfully crafted with premium ingredients uniquely inspired by the kitchen — including Japanese A5-washed Benedictine and soju bitters — then combined with a velvety smooth cognac and a single-barrel bourbon, all smoked tableside in a CREATIVECHEF smoking dome for striking notes of umami.
Cigarillos and Scotch
This ritual at Green Russell is dressed to impress and made to turn heads. With all the ingredients wheeled out on a bar cart, the Cigarillos and Scotch is a peaty scotch concoction smoked tableside in a state-of-the-art Stündenglass Gravity Infuser so the whole restaurant gets to feel like part of the show.
The Saganaki Cheese
Steakhouse 10 goes above and beyond to stand out — in service, in menu offerings, and in unprecedented experiences. Did you think liquor was reserved for cocktails only? Think again. Taking a plate of imported Greek Kasseri goat cheese and setting it aflame with Metaxa 7 Stars Greek brandy, this tableside ritual is exceptional and edible.
The Road to the Finals
See the other creative contenders that our finalists had to beat out to get here. All rituals are available to enjoy at the participating restaurants and bars now!
Kevin Burke at A5 Steakhouse
The Ritual: Three Sheets
Stefan Spitaleri at The Fifth String
The Ritual: Rum Is For Drinking Not For Burning
Nicole Lebedevitch at Forget Me Not
The Ritual: Fog and Flower
Jay Murdoch at Ash’Kara
The Ritual: Aligning the Wilderness
Jordan Lyon at Foraged
The Ritual: Kauri Mule
Haydee Hopkins at Williams & Graham
The Ritual: So Matchalada