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Colorado is the only state in the country where you can currently buy Träkál (pronounced Tra-Kal), the Chilean spirit made from pear and apple brandy eau de vies infused with Patagonian herbs and berries. At 42 percent ABV, Träkál is often compared to gin—but the spirit does not contain any juniper and has a distinctive flavor that is sweet and herbaceous, with hints of apples, red berries, fennel, and chocolate mint. In the six months since its release in the United States, Träkál has become a darling of Colorado’s creative mixologists; drinks made with the innovative spirit are popping up on cocktail lists all over the Mile High City. Here are 11 bars where you can taste this versatile new spirit.
Jeremy Duffy, bar manager at the Arvada Tavern, plays up Träkál’s apple-and-pear-brandy base by paring the spirit with Copper & Kings un-aged apple brandy, fresh lemon juice, house-made orgeat (a sweet almond syrup typically used in tiki drinks), Dimmi Liqueur (an licorice-y Italian grappa), and a spritz of crème de violet on the surface of the drink. The refreshing, floral cocktail, aptly named Into the Mystic, is currently on the seasonal Spring menu.
Wallet Dent: $12. 5707 Olde Wadsworth Blvd., Arvada, 303-690-6269
Acorn’s beverage director, Alexis Osborne, recently added the Figgin Warrior cocktail to the spring menu. The name is a punny play on the definition of Träkál, which translates to “first warrior into battle” in Mapuche, the indigenous language of the peoples of southern Chile. The bright and refreshing cocktail is made with Träkál, St. George spiced pear liqueur, fig, dandelion root, lemon, and hibiscus bitters, and is topped with a dried fig.
Wallet Dent: $12. The Source, 3350 Brighton Blvd., 720-542-3721
South Broadway’s boozy oasis, La Cour, is known for its culinary-inspired cocktails and its lush garden. Brunch-goers can enjoy bartender Matt Cowan’s Andean Bird, a bitter tropical cocktail made with Campari, Träkál, pineapple juice, lime juice, and hibiscus-green tea syrup. The brunch-only cocktail is topped with a maqui berry, an antioxidant-packed fruit native to Chilean Patagonia.
Wallet Dent: $12. 1643 S. Broadway, 303-777-5000
Although Träkál is technically its own category of spirit, many folks use it as a gin substitute because of its herbaceous and complex flavor profile. Gin lovers will be happy to learn that Träkál makes for a delicious Negroni variation. Try it at Cherry Creek’s North Italia this spring, where a barrel-aged Träkál Negroni garnished with fresh rosemary is on the seasonal menu.
Wallet Dent: $10. 190 Clayton St., 720-941-7700
For a light and refreshing Träkál cocktail that is perfect for warm-weather sipping, check out bartender Christina Acosta’s spring cocktail, titled #94, at this trendy RiNo bar. Made with Träkál, Cocchi Americano, lychee syrup, and grapefruit juice, the bright flavors of the grapefruit balance nicely with the herbal complexity of Träkál. The lychee syrup beings a touch of sweetness to round it all out.
Wallet Dent: $12. 3126 Larimer St., 720-445-9691
Boulder’s Oak at Fourteenth serves a twist on a traditional whiskey sour called Summer in Patagonia, made with Träkál, apple juice, lemon juice, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, and Leopold Bros. Absinthe Verte. Bar manager Andreas Pejovic’s creation is sweet and refreshing with just the right amount of kick.
Wallet Dent: $13. 1400 Pearl St., Boulder 303-444-3622
This spring, the industry favorite Star Bar in the Ballpark Neighborhood is serving bartender Les Baker’s sophisticated, super-boozy twist on a Rusty Nail called Agua Oxidado, made with Träkál, Naked Grouse blended Scotch, and the Czech liqueur, Becherovka .The flavors of Träkál play nicely with herbal Becherovka, making this tipple a flavor bomb of herbs and spices with a touch of smoky sweetness from the scotch.
Wallet Dent: $10. 2137 Larimer St.
This six-month-old LoHi eatery features a Träkál cocktail called the Yoni, made with Banhez Mezcal, Träkál, pomegranate liqueur, blood orange juice, lemon juice and a fresh sage leaf garnish. While boozy and opinionated, the Yoni is also refreshing and sweet—a perfectly balanced way to welcome the warm weather to Denver.
Wallet Dent: $11. 1817 Central St., 303-993-2364
The hush-hush tiki speakeasy is a pop-up tropical oasis located on the upper floor of the Beetle Bar on East Colfax. (Hidden Idol plans to open its own brick-and-mortar location sometime this summer.) For his signature Träkál cocktail, beverage director Ben Krajenke mixes the Patagonian spirit with fresh pineapple juice, lime juice, grapefruit shrub, and a habanero tincture. It’s a spicy and tropical tipple that has a kick in more ways than one.
Wallet Dent: $11. 3014 E. Colfax Ave, 720-389-8109
Despite its incredible complexity, Träkál plays surprisingly well with mezcal, tequila’s smokier brother. Tacos Tequila Whiskey’s Attily Spalvins makes the smoke-and-peach-forward 180 Degrees South cocktail with Träkál, Del Maguey Vida mezcal, peach liqueur, agave nectar, and fresh lime juice. For an extra jolt, get yours shaken with half of a fresh habanero chile. The drink, which is only available at the York Street location, is finished with a fresh lime wheel and a gummy peach ring, a fun garnish that brings out the sweetness of the peach liqueur.
Wallet Dent: $10. 1514 York St., 720-475-1337
The Source’s RiNo Yacht Club has a refreshing and citrus-forward Träkál cocktail on its warm-weather menu called the Manque Mania, created by bartender Chris Dunsmoor. This refreshing take on a traditional cooler is made with Träkál, Amontillado Sherry, pear brandy, simple syrup, fresh lemon juice, and a splash of tonic water and is garnished with a slice of lemon and a sprig of fresh mint.
Wallet Dent: $10. The Source, 3350 Brighton Blvd #100
Want to try making Träkál cocktails at home? Pick up a bottle at the Proper Pour located inside the Source or at Argonaut Wine & Liquors.