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Fun and naughty cocktails to make for your Valentine

Valentine’s Day is a great way to celebrate loved ones and find your new favorite drink. charger 303 asked some of the best bars in the Denver metro area to share their favorite cocktails for this year’s holiday. Knowing that many people can’t cope due to pandemic conditions, we hope to brighten up your celebrations with these 10 DIY cocktails.

READ: A Denver foodie’s Valentine’s Day gift guide

photo creditHoney Elixir Bar

Site: 2636 Walnut St #104, Denver

The truth : Honey Elixir Bar specializes in elevating the human experience through potions, jun, cocoa, and honey. They use all-natural ingredients and honey as a simple syrup in their cocktails. This Valentine’s Day, the Honey Elixir bar will change its menu for those who go there in person, but Alicia Spurgin, the head bartender, gave Charger 303 a fan favorite recipe.

Recipe: Starstruck

  • 2 oz The Botanist gin
  • 0.75oz Italicus
  • .75 Lazzaroni amaretto
  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz honey anise simple syrup (homemade)
  • Absinthe star (garnish)

To make the honey simple syrup, combine half a cup of honey and half a cup of water in a saucepan until the honey is dissolved. Add 1 tablespoon of anise extract. Stir until combined.

Photo creditRun for the Roses

Site: 1801 Blake Street #10, Denver

The truth : Run for the Roses on Dairy Block is a stylish secluded underground bar. With a sweet treat to share with those home this Valentine’s Day, here’s her sweet scotch recipe to satisfy that sweet tooth.

Recipe: Mickie Walker

  • 0.75oz Grenadine
  • 0.5 oz lemon
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • 2 oz scotch (manufacturer’s choice)

photo credit Mizuna Denver

Site: 225 E 7th Avenue, Denver

The truth : The French-inspired house of Mizuna Denver has a lot to offer this Valentine’s Day with a new food and drink menu. Public Relations Manager Liz Kotalik shared her new Valentine’s Day cocktail to inspire people at home to share the love.

Recipe: french kiss, By Josh Paul, Mizuna Head Bartender

  • (For a drink)
  • 1.5 oz Spring 44 gin
  • 0.75 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 0.75 oz simple syrup

Mix the above ingredients with a handful of fresh raspberries. Shake with ice. Pass through a flute. Pour over your favorite sparkling rose. Garnish with fresh raspberries.

Site: 530 E 19th Avenue, Denver

The truth : Retrograde has a unique location and funky cocktails. This year for Valentine’s Day, Retrograde is continuing with its same menu but to “spice things up”, bartender Paul Larkin shared a spicy cocktail recipe.

Recipe: brain dead

  • 1 oz fresh lemon juice,
  • 1 oz plain honey,
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters,
  • 0.5 oz spiced pear liqueur (like St George’s)
  • 1.5 oz of your favorite vodka.

Add all of this to a mixing container, shake well, and strain into a chilled coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon wedge or twist if you prefer.

Site: 2532 15th Street, Denver

The truth : Forest Room 5 has a very unique atmosphere tucked away just off the road. Lots of people gather to enjoy the campfires with a drink. Charger 303 got an inside from bartender Adrian Gonzalez on a cozy drink to cuddle up to.

Recipe: paradise bear

  • 2 oz whiskey (manufacturer’s choice)
  • 0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 0.25 oz peach bitters
  • Thyme (for garnish)

photo credit Avanti

Site: 1401 Pearl Street, Boulder

The truth : Avanti Boulder has a fun and relaxed atmosphere where one can find any cocktail one desires. Bartender Corey Thompson shared his version of a Valentine’s drink with Magazine 303. Inspired by a fun night out and letting go, the dark rum drink was created.

Recipe: jungle bird

  • 2 ounces dark rum
  • 1.5 oz pineapple juice
  • 0.5 oz Champari
  • 0.5 oz lime juice
  • 0.25 oz single demerara

Although Denver has so much to offer when it comes to showing love for each other, Charger 303 wanted to share the chicest of the class with these classic cocktails. Here’s a list of traditional cocktails that have a fun Valentine’s Day twist to make every day a moment of love.

French 75

Photo credit French 75 Denver

Site: 717 17th Street, B Street, Denver

The truth : French 75 in Denver is anything but a classic cocktail party, offering wonderful meals and great company. The French 75 comes straight from the First World War, taking its name from the 75 millimeter light gun used by the French. This drink is anything but war, it’s a mix of champagne and gin to add a little party to the spice of life.

Recipe: French 75

  • 3 ounces of champagne
  • 1oz gin
  • 0.5 oz lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz simple syrup


Photo creditRun for the Roses

Site: 1801 Blake Street #10, Denver

The truth : The Classic Cosmo born in 1975 by Neal Murray takes its name from the first sipper proclaiming “how cosmopolitan” thus giving its name to a famous drink. The Cosmo is sweet with a hint of spiciness to get your taste buds coming back.

Recipe: Cosmopolitan

  • 2 oz vodka (manufacturer’s choice)
  • 1 oz cranberry juice
  • 0.75 oz fresh lime juice
  • 0.75 oz triple sec
  • Orange zest to garnish

Paper plane

The truth : The famous Paper Plane took off in the early 2000s when Sam Ross fell in love with MIA’s song “Paper Planes”. Word of this new drink spread from New York to Chicago and quickly to Canada. Today, the Paper Plane is known to many bartenders around the world.

Recipe: Paper plane

  • 0.75oz Bourbon
  • 0.75 oz Aperol
  • 0.75 oz Amaro Nonino Quintessentia
  • 0.75 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice

Aperol Spritz

Photo credit Osteria Marco

Site: 1453 Larimer Street, Denver

The truth : The Italian restaurant Osteria Marco in Denver now offers Aperol Spritz on tap. Known as a classic cocktail, the Aperol Spritz takes its name from Italy in the 1800s, when people added water to their wine because it was too strong. Now this champagne drink adds a spritz of Aperol to add some orange zest.

Recipe: Aperol Spritz

  • 3 ounces of Prosecco
  • 2 ounces of Aperol
  • 1oz Club Soda
  • Garnish with a slice of orange


Photo creditRun for the Roses

Site: 1801 Blake Street #10, Denver

The truth : Mr. Erskine Gwynne inspired the classic Boulevardier cocktail. Gwynne was a journalist for the magazine the boulevardier and came to the famous Harry’s Bar where he ordered the sweet bourbon drink.

Recipe: Boulevardier

  • 1.25 oz bourbon
  • 1 ounce Campari
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • Garnish with an orange zest

Cory E. Barnes

The author Cory E. Barnes