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It didn’t take us long to realize that Acorn—a new American restaurant tucked inside The Source in RiNo—was a standout among Denver’s new restaurants. Chef Steven Redzikowski and bar manager Bryan Dayton opened the establishment in the fall of last year, and have maintained a full floor every since. (For more background, read a review of Acorn from 5280‘s May issue.) At the top of its most alluring attributes, including cuisine and a well-designed space, is the restaurant’s cocktail menu. The seasonal list is created and curated by Dayton and his bar staff, and it smartly offers boozy selections categorized by potency: nonalcoholic, low alcohol, and high alcohol.
Among the menu’s highlights—which is slated to change sometime before midsummer—is the Rosies Return, a light mix of Leopold’s gin, sparkling rosé, and rose flower water; the Central Slope Sour, designed by bartender Alex Parks back in January for 5280’s Colorado Cocktail Contest; and the Acorn Julep, a playful twist on the julep that incorporates house-made bitters.
Though the spring menu won’t last long (I can’t wait to try the talented team’s new creations), one I’ll miss is Ginger’s Lost Island. The cocktail, which contains Domaine de Canton and Fidencio Unico mezcal, manages to be something rare: A mezcal/tequila-based cocktail with finesse. The two spirits are paired with lemon and lime juice, and then, a true revelation: ginger liqueur and a spiced agave nectar. The result is not too harsh, sweet, nor fruity—something difficult to achieve with a high-alcohol, tequila-infused drink. Instead, Ginger’s Lost Island is a refined and flavorful drink fit for easy sipping. 3350 Brighton Blvd., 720-542-3721
If you don’t get to Acorn before the menu changeover, you can make Ginger’s Lost Island at home. Here’s how.
Note: The above graphic shows the generic ingredients used to make the cocktail. Below is the exact recipe that Acorn bartenders follow.
1¼ oz. Domaine de Canton
¾ oz.? Fidencio Unico
¾ oz.? Suerte Reposado
? oz. cinnamon and cardamom agave nectar
¼ oz. lemon juice
¼ oz. lime juice
Garnish with a lime wheel.
Follow digital assistant editor Jerilyn Forsythe on Twitter at @jlforsyt.