For Coloradans, severe weather events are nothing unusual. Whether it’s three feet of snow, a summer-long drought, or—everyone’s favorite—a destructive downpour of hail, you could say that we tend to take forces of nature in stride. That’s especially true when we’re talking about Hailstorm cocktail at the Fort in Morrison. There, bartenders mix up a hailstorm-inspired cocktail in a mason jar with mint and sugar.

As with many menu items at the frontier-themed restaurant, the Hailstorm cocktail with bourbon, mint, and sugar, has roots in the Old West. In the 1830s at Bent’s Fort (the La Junta trading post that the Fort’s architecture is based upon), hail was gathered by fur traders and trappers from atop the building and used to cool down beverages (ice was still a rare commodity in those days). Although today the Fort mixes this cocktail with regular crushed ice rather than hail, the make-do spirit of those frontiersman endures.

Recipe: The Fort’s Hailstorm Cocktail


3 ounces bourbon of choice

2 teaspoons confectioners sugar

2 sprigs fresh mint

enough hail (or crushed ice) to fill one 16-ounce mason jar

Combine bourbon, sugar, and mint in the mason jar and fill with the hail or ice. Secure the lid and shake vigorously 50 times. The ice will bruise the mint, releasing its flavor. Once well shaken, remove the lid and drink straight from the jar.