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Every year from November 1–2, the traditional Mexican celebration of Día de los Muertos gives revelers the opportunity to honor their lost loved ones through vibrant art, traditional music, and of course, mouth-watering Latin cuisine. The two-day festival offers an explosion of color and flavor that extends well north of the border—and Denverites can celebrate with one (or more!) of these culinary experiences. Throughout the happenings, look for marigold-inspired offerings; the golden orange flowers are traditionally used for their color and smell to help guide the dead to the afterlife. Here, a few of our favorite ways to honor the occasion.
Alongside a suite of virtual events (see below), chef-restaurateur Richard Sandoval’s Denver-based restaurants Tamayo and Toro will serve an exclusive Día de los Muertos menu inspired by the “Altar of the Dead.” Start with a choice of five specialty cocktails, including the marigold margarita and habañero blood orange margarita. And the festive food menu includes a chile ancho confit—a pork belly stew with almonds and mole rosa—and a can’t-miss braised short rib. Save room for dessert and try the pumpkin bread cake crafted with caramel pumpkin, orange blossom milk, and spiced pepitas, and topped with cinnamon ice cream.
Mountain-bound? You can also join the fun at Sandoval’s Maya in Avon. Located in the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa, Maya will be serving the marigold margarita and pumpkin bread cake—we recommend dining on their expansive terrace with stunning Beaver Creek views.
Or if you prefer to bring the festivities to your home, join Sandoval in a virtual masterclass where you’ll learn how to make your own pumpkin bread cake, marigold margarita, or pepita brittle. And don’t miss an accompanying curated Latin playlist on Spotify, and abstract artwork from renowned Mexico City–based artist, Chepe Daniel Baez, who created the campaign’s graphics. Runs October 5 to November 20. Tamayo at 1400 Larimer St.; Toro at 150 Clayton Lane, Ste B; Maya at 126 Riverfront Ln., Avon
This free-spirited, modern LoDo cantina serves dishes inspired by the American Southwest and Baja Mexico, transporting guests south of the border with a variety of Mexican fare. This year, chef Cesar Tamariz is celebrating Día de los Muertos with three special menu additions. Start with the fire-roasted elote served with paprika aïoli, cotija cheese, and cilantro. For an entrée, choose from the short rib birria tacos served with arroz rojo and corn tortillas, or the pato con mole—a seared duck breast in mole negro served with a brussels and yams hash with a cherry glaze. Runs October 29 to November 2. 1890 Wazee St.
Nestled on historic South Broadway, this gluten-free brewery will toast to Día de los Muertos with its Mexico- and Peru-inspired, blue-corn-based brews. Join Dos Luces in celebrating the annual release of the Azteca Pulque, a brewery favorite made from maguey sap and garnished with chocolate, cinnamon, and cayenne. Expect a rich, sweet, sour, and spicy flavor that’s reminiscent of a sour Mexican hot chocolate. Come dressed in costume to receive free candy during the festivities. October 30. 1236 South Broadway
Located at Stanley Marketplace in Aurora, this sit-down taco joint offers Mexican street food with a hint of Southern comfort—a style the restaurant touts as “Mexican Soul Food.” For Día de los Muertos, guests are encouraged to bring a photo of a lost family member or pet and add it to Comida’s commemorative altar—and doing so can earn you a free house margarita of your choice. The restaurant will also be pouring mezcal cocktails, including Del Maguey Vida’s “Vida de Muertos,” made with pear nectar, lemon, cinnamon simple syrup, and an angostura float. Runs October 26 to November 2. 501 Dallas Street, Aurora
If you visit RiNo’s Bellota between October 25 and November 1, bring a photo of a lost loved one to honor on Día de los Muertos. Guests who bring something for the altar will be given a token to return on November 1 for a day of celebration at the restaurant, which can be redeemed for a marigold-infused milagro tequila shot. During the celebrations, look for food and drink specials like the Tierra de los Muertos cocktail, made with Sol De Mexico tequila and cocoa bitters, giving it a black appearance that resembles the land of the dead. Runs October 25 to November 1. 3350 Brighton Blvd.
This upscale Mexican restaurant in Platt Park is hosting Dano’s Tequila for a special Día de los Muertos tasting takeover. One of Mexico’s oldest distilleries, Dano’s will be serving specialty cocktails during its traditional Día de los Muertos festivities, which include face painting and “pin the tail on the donkey.” At 8 p.m., guests will be invited to take a swing at a piñata before a costume contest for humans and pets starting at 9 p.m. Enjoy a late-night DJ until midnight. October 30. 1518 S. Pearl St.