A number of Denver restaurants have bars that just do everything right. The restaurateurs recognize the importance of a comfortable bar setting. The bartenders are professionals who understand the complexity of a cocktail — and the simple value of a substantial pour. And the chefs realize that it's important to serve great bar food. With its new happy hour (including six weeks of free parties for companies that could use a little pick-me-up), Vesta Dipping Grill is taking an already good bar to a whole new level. The cocktail menu features drinks made solely from Colorado products — and if your first reaction is "I can't imagine Colorado has any good spirits," your thinkin' is stinkin'. Because Colorado has some amazing liquor producers: Stranahan's, Leopold Bros., Peach Street Distillers, Montaña Rum, Great Divide Brewing Co., Vodka 14 — and many of their liquid assets make an appearance on Vesta's drink menu. My favorite is the Bijou Cocktail ($10), made with Leopold's Small Batch Gin, Brother's Gin, Three Pins Alpine Herbal Liqueur, Carpano Antica Formula Vermouth and a dash of orange bitters, followed closely by the Basilico ($9), made of Peach Street Distillers Goat Artisan Vodka, fresh basil, lime juice, simple syrup and a splash of soda, and the Blackberry Sage Smash ($10), made with Stranahan's Colorado Whiskey, lemon, simple syrup, fresh muddled blackberries and sage. All Colorado cocktails are $7 during happy hour, which runs Monday through Friday from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Twelve years after it exploded on the local dining scene, Vesta is still surprising us — and supporting the community. Now, get over there and do the same.
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