In every bar you go to, despite menu or theme or price range, there are a few favorites patrons expect to be able to order. While the popularity of Artisan cocktail bars is rising, it’s always a smart idea to pay respect to the classics. Some bar goers may think that classic drinks are boring or common, but the reality is, when they are made well, classic cocktails can really be impressive. There are quite a few different classic cocktails that have delighted bar patrons for decades, but this list focuses on a few different spirits.
- Margarita- No Taco Tuesday would be complete without the tangy, sweet, salty favorite, the margarita. Whether frozen or on the rocks, this tequila-based favorite can pack a real punch. The classic preparation includes tequila, lime and Triple Sec, but modern variations have subbed out the lime for other citrus fruits like lemon, orange or grapefruit, added spicy elements like jalapenos and replaced the Triple Sec with its more sophisticated sibling, Grand Marnier. Add a little salt on the rim and you’ll have the perfect pairing for some guacamole.
- Old Fashioned- An smooth but aggressive drink, the Old Fashioned recalls decades past. It’s simple ingredient list includes rye whiskey or bourbon, bitters and a single sugar cube. Some presentations include an orange wheel or maraschino cherry, but the drink is just as good without. This drink is served best with a big, slow melting ice cube, but some also prefer a few splashes of water to make it a bit more drinkable. An Old Fashioned is a slow sipper.
- Martini- No drink seems quite as sophisticated as a martini. The very glass it’s served in is highly recognizable and generally associated with people of class and stature. A classic martini is made with vodka or gin and vermouth, shaken (or stirred) with ice and strained over a glass with garnishes like pearl onions, olives or a twist of lemon.
- Gimlet- For lovers of piney, earthy gin, a gimlet is a good choice. The classic gimlet mixes mostly gin with a bit of lime juice and the occasional splash of soda. Tart and refreshing, gimlets rose to popularity in the 1920s, but are slowly making a comeback. Gin is one of the more polarizing spirits and is commonly associated with old age, but gin cocktails are getting revamped for a younger generation.
- Piña Colada-The sweetest specialty cocktail on the list, the tropical piña colada is usually served frozen. Including rum (light or dark rum, or both if you’re feeling bold), coconut cream and pineapple juice, this favorite is blended with ice and garnished with tropical fruit and one of those tiny paper umbrellas. It’s paradise in a glass.
If you find yourself at any Denver cocktail bars, there will be lots of delicious drinks to choose from. If you are overwhelmed by the choices, or perhaps just want to celebrate the classics, this list can help you pick out a drink that has stayed popular over the years for a reason: they’re just plain good!