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Ever since news broke in July that bartenders Noah Heaney, Brian Smith, and Anika Zappe, along with general manager and sommelier Jonathan Greschler, were all joining Coohills in LoDo, I’ve been eager to check out the restaurant’s revamped cocktail program. Although Smith left Coohills as quickly as he signed on (he went to the Squeaky Bean), bar manager Heaney replaced him with Colin Dart. Heaney, Zappe, and Dart have collectively spent time working behind the celebrated sticks at Root Down, Punch Bowl Social, and the Bitter Bar.
The trio—who will launch a new list in two weeks—has shelved the vodka-laden list that included cocktails such as the Wild Blueberry Martini, for a well-rounded group of classically-inspired drinks. A sneak peek at their forthcoming lineup revealed house specials such as an aged-rum sipper (Walk the Plank), a cocktail that combines single-malt Scotch and beet juice (Drop the Beet), and a beer-based tipple (Suntory Shandy). The new menu will also include plenty of staples like an Old Fashioned and the gin-based Vesper. When I stopped in (anonymously, of course), I sipped a Red Hook, pictured, which is one of three barrel-aged drinks Coohills is previewing.
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Heaney fills 10-liter barrels with a premixed cocktail so it can age in American white oak for a few weeks. The barman served my cocktail (a combination of Buffalo Trace bourbon, Punt e Mes Italian vermouth, and Luxardo maraschino liqueur) in a chilled coupe with Luxardo cherries. What’s more: the staff kept my water glass full, knew how to engage me in a conversation to determine my cocktail preferences, and thought to check in at 6 o’clock to see if I wanted to order food before happy hour expired. (Between 3 and 6 p.m. Coohills now offers $5 sangria, $4 bar bites, $3 off of specialty cocktails, $2 off of glasses of wine, and $1 off of draft beers.)
With a view of the Wewatta Street pedestrian bridge and the sunset, close proximity to the Cherry Creek bike trail and I-25, and—now—a thoughtful cocktail program, Coohill’s should become a regular after-work watering hole.
Tip: Although I’m a sucker for watching a bartender mix my cocktail, sun-lovers should check out Coohills’ recently expanded patio.
1400 Wewatta St., 303-623-5700