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Seven Grand’s Hungry for Apples cocktail is one of 22 drinks recipes in the Happy Hour Handbook. Photo by Whiskey Media Studios
Eat and Drink

3 Colorado Cookbooks That Make Great Gifts—And Benefit Local Businesses

You’ll deliver a double dose of good when you purchase these home-grown recipe collections.

We all want to support our favorite independent bars and restaurants during these unprecedented times of pandemic restrictions and closures. But it can be tough to know exactly how to help (besides, you know, ordering excessive amounts of takeout and tipping large). Well, it is now easier to lend a hand, thanks to the recent release of three beautiful Colorado-based cookbooks. 

The recipe collections below are a win-win. They bring the best of Centennial State dining and drinking to your kitchen and home bar and proceeds from book sales benefit the local establishments that provided recipes for the books. We can’t think of a better way to treat yourself, your loved ones, and your restaurant community this holiday season. 

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The Happy Hour Handbook

Recreate the flavors—and stress-melting magic—of a craft happy hour at home with this collection of cocktail and appetizer recipes from 16 Denver bars and restaurants. The brainchild of Fiona Arnold, co-owner of Queens Eleven, Room for Milly and Blue Sparrow Coffee, the book features 38 recipes from some of the Mile High City’s most esteemed watering holes. Envision: Lacquered pecans from Death & Co Denver, an avocado daiquiri from the Cooper Lounge, and a maple-walnut old fashioned from Williams & Graham. The book, which Arnold describes as “a little piece of joy in a tough year,” also features pro tips for choosing the right glassware, ice, and how to mix and shake your drinks. “It’s a really fun thing to have to help you round out your home entertainment—and, at the same time, support these incredible venues,” Arnold says. Proceeds from book sales will be distributed to participating businesses; if 1,000 books are sold, each bar and restaurant will receive $1,000. 

Buy The Happy Hour Handbook online and pick it up at various locations in Denver. $36 for hardcover, $29.95 for soft cover; delivery options also available for an additional charge

A Bite of Boulder

A Bite of Boulder cookbook. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Bridge

“This is like a slice of our town,” says Jessica Emich, co-owner of Shine Restaurant and Potion Bar, of A Bite of Boulder. The book features 43 recipes from 30 of Boulder’s most beloved restaurants, including an ice cream cookie sandwich recipe courtesy of Shine. Made with almond flour, dark chocolate chips, and DIY raw honey ice cream, the sweet sammies are “nutritionally inspired comfort food,” says Emich. 

Other mouth-watering recipes in the book range from red chile posole from Santo, the OG kale-apple salad from OAK at Fourteenth, hamachi carpaccio from chef Yukiji Iwasa at Japango, and an udon kombu noodle bowl from Leaf. The book also contains cooking tips, as well as special features on wine, cheese, and spices. The coolest detail though? At least 50 percent of proceeds go back to participating restaurants. 

Buy A Bite of Boulder online, or at one of the participating locations listed here; $29.99 

The Aspen Cookbook

The Aspen Cookbook. Photo courtesy of Julia Bridgforth

Whether you make it up to the mountains much this winter or not, you can certainly enjoy a taste of alpine living at home with The Aspen Cookbook. Edited by food journalist Amanda Rae Busch, this stunning tome features more than 100 recipes from 69 restaurants and chefs in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. “It’s a memory of Aspen,” says Tiziano Gortan, founder and owner of the town’s 24-year-old L’Hostaria Ristorante. Gortan’s popular spaghetti carbonara and zuppa di pesce recipes appear in the book alongside other tasty highlights. Think: black cod with miso from Matsuhisa, a Moroccan vegetable tagine from Mawa’s Kitchen, and lemon soufflé pancakes with raspberry syrup from the Little Nell. Proceeds from the book benefit a restaurant-relief grant fund. 

Order The Aspen Cookbook online; $45

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