When it comes to cocktails, it is easy to get stuck in a routine (rum and Cokes, gin and tonic, Manhattans). To help you out of your spirits rut, we asked Star Bar bartender and Colorado Bartenders’ Guild creative director Allie Geppert to help us navigate our way out of spirits purgatory.
If you like a gin and tonic…
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The classic highball cocktail was created when the soldiers in the British East India Company’s army discovered quinine’s antimalarial properties—and that gin and lime made it taste a whole lot better.
…try an aviation.
This drink ditches the bitter tonic and replaces it with a sweet maraschino liqueur and the elusive crème de violette.
To make an aviation, you’ll need:
2 ounces gin
1 ounce maraschino liqueur
½ ounce crème de violette
1 ounce lemon juice
Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass.
If you like a Manhattan…
Congratulations on already living more adventurously than your spirit-and-soda brethren, but Geppert still recommends you take it a borough further.
…try a Brooklyn.
The “funkier, hipster brother” of the bourbon-based Manhattan is no less classic and substitutes Old World aperitifs for Angostura bitters.
To make a Brooklyn, you’ll need:
1½ ounces rye whiskey
½ ounce dry vermouth
2 teaspoons maraschino liqueur
2 teaspoons Amer Picon, Torani Amer, or another aperitif
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice and stir. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with an orange peel.
If you like something bubbly…
You could just stick with Champagne, but be bold and branch out.
…try an Aperol spritz
This is a sparkling cocktail with a beautiful orange hue.
To make an Aperol spritz, you’ll need:
4 ounces Prosecco
1 ounce Aperol
Splash of club soda
Green olive, orange slice, or cherry
Fill a wine glass with ice. Pour in the Prosecco first, followed by the Aperol and club soda. Geppert recommends you garnish the drink with a green olive (yep) or an orange slice and cherry.
If you like rum and Coke…
It’s seriously time you branch out beyond your 21-year-old self’s go-to drink.
…try a Dark ‘n Stormy
The signature drink of Gosling’s rum is a wonderfully simple drink. You could, of course, substitute some Colorado spirits. We promise not to tell.
To make a Dark ‘n Stormy, you’ll need:
1 ½ ounces Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
4–5 ounces Gosling’s Stormy Ginger Beer
In a tall glass filled with ice, add the ginger beer and top with rum. Garnish with a lime wedge.
If you like margaritas…
A classic. Period.
…try an El Diablo
Trade out one French liqueur for a sweeter—and darker—alternative with a devilish tinge.
To make an El Diablo, you’ll need:
1½ ounces reposado tequila
½ ounce crème de cassis
½ ounce lime juice, plus a lime wedge
Combine the first three ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake well, and strain over ice into a highball glass. Top with ginger beer and garnish with a lime wedge.
If you like cider…
Cider is lovely, but you may want a drink with a little more oomph.
…try a Jack Rose
This was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway, and we’ve heard he knew a thing or two about drinking.
To make a Jack Rose, you’ll need:
2 ounces applejack
1 ounce lime juice
½ ounce classic grenadine
cherry or apple slice
Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a cherry or apple slice.
—Image courtesy of Shutterstock