Eat & Drink

Worth Every Drop

The anatomy of a $13 cocktail.

April 2016

—Photo by Sarah Boyum

Home values aren’t the only prices spiking in Denver these days. If you’ve been out to dinner or to a bar recently, you’ve probably noticed entrée-priced cocktails headlining drink menus. Do these concoctions warrant the price tag? In a word, sometimes. For one drink worth your hard-earned cash, peer inside the glass of the RiNo Fix N’ Flip, a $13 cocktail crafted by Topher Hartfield, bar manager at Nocturne Jazz & Supper Club. 

THE SECRET

The magical ingredient in this velvety, decadent drink is the Eierlikör,* which Hartfield makes himself. It takes him an hour to whip up each 64-ounce batch of the liqueur: a blend of eggs, sugar, milk, and Don Q Puerto Rican Cristal rum.

THE METHOD

The eggy Eierlikör is heated in a double boiler to 150° to 160°. “Just enough to kill salmonella and make it creamy, but before it turns into rum scrambled eggs,” Hartfield says.

THE TECHNIQUE

Hartfield double-shakes the cocktail—first with ice and then dry—to “open it up and get that good frothiness in there.” He also double-strains the drink to remove ice crystals that can cause extra dilution. 

THE COCKTAIL

Hartfield cuts the sweetness of the Eierlikör with 1 ounce of Buffalo Trace bourbon, chosen for its bold but well-balanced flavor and slightly higher than average alcohol content (90 proof), and 3/4 ounce of Niepoort tawny port. “The port is a good way to get acid without introducing acidic components like lemon or lime juice,” Hartfield says.

THE GARNISH

Fresh nutmeg—there’s not enough bite in the jarred stuff—is grated on top.

*Hoping to cheat and buy pre-made Eierlikör? Sorry; as far as Hartfield knows, it’s not available locally.