Dearly Beloved at the Avenue Grill
Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to praise the cocktails of Randy Layman, the bartender at Avenue Grill. I already know that Randy is one of Denver's up-and-coming superstar bartenders, but I had no idea that he's such a romantic. But when he serves me a Dearly Beloved ($10), made with Green Chartreuse, Laird's AppleJack, lemon juice and simple syrup, he tells me that he created the drink as a wedding present for his wife. At that point, I get big puppy-dog eyes and can't hold back an "Awwwww." Like a painter painting a portrait or a poet writing a poem, it's a beautiful gift from a groom to his bride. Except that it's a drink, which makes it even better than a painting or a poem. According to Randy, Dearly Beloved is his variation on uber-trendy The Last Word, a classic Prohibition-era cocktail made from equal parts Bombay gin, Maraschino liqueur, lime juice and Green Chartreuse. The French liqueur is one of the new darlings of cocktologists, even if the last time you saw a bottle was in the back of your grandfather's bar. Not only is it newly popular, but it has a storied history: It was invented by the Carthusians, an order of cloistered monks who concocted it in the Chartreuse Mountains in 1764. To quote Quentin Tarantino in Death Proof, "Chartreuse: the only liqueur so good they named a color after it." I now pronounce you man and drink.
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