Each year, typically in February, our editorial staff heads to the mountains for an overnight retreat during which we hit the slopes, scream down a tubing hill, and cook and drink together in rustic cabins. I have fantastic memories of knee-deep powder in Vail’s back bowls, but my favorite part of the trip is always the dinner we make together. I’m not much of a chef, so a few years ago I volunteered to make margaritas after finding an easy recipe. Turns out, the 5280 crew really likes margaritas, and I really like mixing drinks. There’s something tremendously satisfying about selecting the right components and blending them together in a way that makes someone else happy. I was reminded of my annual role as barkeep while reading Denise Mickelsen and Callie Sumlin’s feature about Colorado’s thriving distillery scene. Just as I derive pleasure from crafting well-made drinks for my friends, these distillers are delighting in changing the way we think about booze. For these folks, it’s all about the provenance of their ingredients, the care with which their products are made, and the opportunity to bring makers and consumers together to enjoy something that’s quintessentially Colorado. Yes, these small businesses are growing economic drivers for places like Woody Creek, Buena Vista, and even Denver. The tasting rooms you’ll find there, though, create something beyond dollar signs: new communities of artisanal makers, much like those who have flourished in our craft brewing scene. And to honor the people making these top-quality spirits, well, I may have to forego the margaritas at our retreat this month in favor of Manhattans and martinis, made with booze from Colorado’s finest distilleries.