The Local newsletter is your free, daily guide to life in Colorado. For locals, by locals. Sign up today!
Colorado may be landlocked, but island-inspired Adrift Tiki Bar in the Speer neighborhood manages to deliver a slice of beachside heaven. That’s especially true now that the serene enclosed patio is open for the season, with its brilliant hula dancer mural (by Denver graffiti artist Jolt), grass-hut awnings, and piping-hot lava rock fire pit. Nothing pairs better with patios than cocktails, and you’ll definitely want to soak up the warm weather with Adrift’s macadamia nut chi-chi in hand.
First things first: What’s a chi-chi? The chi-chi, which is the only cocktail that remained on the menu when the team behind Little Man Ice Cream took over operations at the restaurant last year, is a frozen blend generally made with vodka (Adrift uses Pearl), pineapple juice, cream of coconut, and ice. However, Adrift kicks the flavor up a notch with the addition of rich macadamia nut liqueur and the subtle molasses notes of demerara sugar. (Pro tip: Make it a choo-choo by swapping Old Forester bourbon whiskey for the vodka, or a cha-cha by opting for Crested Butte-based Montanya Distillers’ rum.) The concoction is then whizzed into a smooth, creamy slushy spiked with just the right amount of booze, then poured into a pilsner glass and garnished with a cherry and an edible orchid. General manager Zach Sipherd describes it as “the tiki-version of a piña colada [which is actually Puerto Rican in origin].” We just call it delicious: The subtleness of the vodka doesn’t overwhelm the nutty flavor of the macadamia liqueur, and while it’s sweet enough to pass as dessert, it’s still balanced.
Try the chi-chi during happy hour on Tuesdays through Saturdays (from 4 to 6 p.m.), when all tiki cocktails are $2 off, or during the newly launched weekend brunch. If you go for brunch, be sure to pair your chi-chi with chef Tyler Critchfield’s to-die-for malasada doughnuts, pillow-soft brioche doughnut holes covered in lilikoi (passion fruit) caramel and sprinkled with coconut sugar. Tropical getaway, complete.
218 S. Broadway, 303-778-8454