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The barrel-aged peach cobbler bourbon cocktails and spicy brandy-laced chile martinis that put Rising Sun Distillery on the Denver spirits map are drawing savvy sippers to the brand’s new mountain town tasting room.
Sol and Dawn Richardson have taken their distillery’s most popular hits, added a rotating seasonal cocktail menu and a full restaurant, and combined all of the above into a new Frisco location, which opened in August.
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“We wanted to build a brand with longevity that we could pass onto our children,” says Dawn, a high school history teacher turned distillery owner. The original Rising Sun opened in Denver in 2015.
The Richardson’s small batch spirits are made from scratch, calling on regional ingredients and pure Centennial State water. Colorado farmers play a heavy role in the brand’s flavor profiles: Brandy is made with Cox Farm peaches out of Grand Junction, while Pueblo’s Hobbs Family Farm grows plump Mirasol chiles that the Richardsons use in their chile white whiskey and spicy-sweet chile liqueur. Farmers’ market influences continue with Rising Sun’s lavender hibiscus liqueur, which is crafted by steeping Western Slope flowers in the distillery’s organic neutral grain spirit.
The Richardsons live in Denver, but plan on eventually relocating to Summit County. They chose Frisco for its thriving community and tourism flow—and the fact that there’s only one other distillery in the county, the highly successful Breckenridge Distillery.
The new Rising Sun outpost is easily spotted from the Frisco I-70 eastbound onramp, and includes a spacious parking lot patio where you can listen to live music and safely unmask, thanks to 33 spaced seats inside and ten tables outside.
The Frisco location has a modern restaurant, too, in addition to the cocktail and tasting bar offered at the distillery’s Denver outpost. Guests can nosh through a menu of street foods showcasing international flavors, from bacon-wrapped bison meatballs glazed with bourbon sauce ($15) and tender chicken tandoori kabobs ($12) to locally made empanadas ($6). “The menu is a reflection of our travels and our lifestyle,” says Dawn, who lived in Asia for many years and thrives on throwing elaborate dinner parties.
The distillery’s clean-lined interior juxtaposes urban sophistication with mountain west heritage. Vintage skis and a chandelier oversee a polished log community table, room-length bar, and American oak barrels. Large colorful chalkboard menus announce tasting flights, bottle sales, and simple yet creative cocktails, such as the Latin Russian with house made coffee liqueur, organic corn vodka, and splashes of milk and cream ($11).
The next time you’re in Frisco, pop into Rising Sun and sample the goods. Because, as the Richardsons say, life is too short not to drink (and eat) well.
Rising Sun Distillery in Frisco is open daily, 11 a.m.–10 p.m., 1121 Dillon Dam Rd., Frisco