Cocktail of the Week: A Best Friend's Cocktail at Fort Greene
Guthrie’s Old Fashioned at Fort Greene
Eleanor Cheetham worked behind the bar for three years at Crash 45, a neighborhood bar in Globeville. When the owner wanted out, she and a partner bought it, remodeled it with a Brooklyn aesthetic and renamed it Fort Greene. When her partner wanted out, she stepped up and became the sole owner of the bar where she was formerly an employee. “I love the space,” she says. “This neighborhood is so important to me. I've lived in Globeville for years, and the community here has been so supportive."
She created a cocktail list at Fort Greene based solely on versions of traditional recipes, including a variation of an Old Fashioned containing bourbon, applejack, unrefined sugar, boozy cherries and her own bitters, naming the recipe after her dog, Guthrie.
Here's the recipe for Guthrie's Old Fashioned ($10), based on the classic cocktail typically made with whiskey, sugar and bitters.
1 ounce Bulleit rye whiskey
1 ounce Laird’s applejack
1 brandied cherry
1 Demerara sugar cube
3 dashes Peruvian bitters
Guthrie used to keep Cheetham company back in the Crash 45 days. “I used to bring him to the bar and he would just sit by the fruit,” she says. That was back when he was a puppy. He’s bigger now, and doesn’t spend much time at the bar anymore. But she loves to hear her dog's name every time a customer orders a Guthrie's Old Fashioned. “It’s just such a great name,” she continues, “and it came to my mind when I was drinking it. I always wanted to name a drink after him. It had to be a whiskey drink, for sure, because whiskey just seems like his drink of choice.”
The cocktail starts with a brandied cherry. “My friend Dave made those for me,” Cheetham explains. “He just combined brandy, sugar and cinnamon with some pie cherries. I prefer to make things myself or have friends make them. It just makes the drink more unique. It puts more love into it."
“I take a cherry with some of the juices, a sugar cube and a heavy dose of the Peruvian bitters, and muddle that,” she continues. Then she adds ice, pours in bourbon and applejack and stirs it all to combine, garnishing the drink with an orange peel.
Cheetham uses Demerara sugar, which is an unrefined sugar. “It’s richer,” she says. “It has more of a molasses taste to it. It makes the drink a little more interesting.”
The bitters are made by combining water, vodka and grain alcohol in a pot and bringing them to a boil. Cheetham adds chinchona bark, cassia bark, galangal, cloves, bitter orange peel, vanilla and cocoa nibs, allowing those botanicals to steep to extract their flavors. Finally, she adds Batavia Arrack, a flavorful rum from Indonesia made with sugarcane juice and red rice.
Eleanor Cheetham making her canine-inspired cocktail behind the bar at Fort Greene.
An Old Fashioned, even one named after a puppy, is based on whiskey. “Bulleit is my standard whiskey,” Cheetham says. “I really like Bulleit. It’s just a crowd-pleaser, and it’s a solid whiskey.”
Applejack, a blend of apple brandy and grain alcohol, is used to sweeten Cheetham’s Old Fashioned. Applejack was popular in colonial America, where apples were abundant. “It’s just kind of a nice substitute for whiskey and brandy, “ Cheetham says, "because it’s just a good balance between the two.”
For a food pairing with the cocktail, she says, “You can’t go wrong with the cheese curds, because everyone loves those. It’s something nice to snack on while you’re enjoying a cocktail.” The curds are $8, but $6 during happy hour, which runs from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
Guthrie's Old Fashioned has only been on the menu for two weeks, but Cheetham says people are already enjoying it. “We’re not trying to be a cocktail bar,” she’s quick to mention. “We’re not trying to be a dive bar. It’s just somewhere where people can enjoy our old-world decor, but we keep it contemporary with local art, not to make it stuffy.”
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Denver dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.