Snooze Fashioned at Snooze
It’s not just Mimosas anymore. If you’re putting down some pancakes with friends at brunch these days in Denver, there are a lot more day-drinking options than just the usual orange juice mixed with sparkling wine. At Snooze, the barons of brunch have created a slew of boozy options that introduce a few classic nighttime cocktails to the light of early morning. This week, Snooze launches a new menu with a few new morning dishes, but also with with three cocktail additions that will make you think you’re perusing a drink menu at midnight.
Snooze bridges the gap gracefully by incorporating day and night flavor expectations — like in the Snooze Fashioned ($8), a classic speakeasy cocktail with a morning sensibility that makes you feel okay about ordering a bourbon drink before noon. Per Flood, who works full-time at Snooze developing drink menus for the restaurant’s 23 locations, successfully morphed the Old Fashioned into a day-drinker’s dream by combining local bourbon, local cold-brewed coffee, sugar, cherries, Champagne vinegar and bitters.
“We’d been working with the Old Fashioned for a while,” Flood says. We caught up with him at Snooze's 2262 Larimer Street location this week to taste his new drink. "We'd been “trying to come up with the right formula for it, but sometimes it doesn’t quite make the cut.” His business card bills him as Minister of Vice, but his daily role at Snooze is coming up with new cocktails for the Snooze empire, which includes restaurants in Denver, San Diego and Phoenix. He works on cocktails with culinary director Spencer Lomax and Andrew Mangan, general manager at the South Colorado Snooze.
“One of us will have an idea,” Flood explains, “like thinking about a classic cocktail and what kind of twist we can put on it. So we tried a different approach to it.” Flood had recently received a sample of cold-pressed coffee from Aurora-based Forest Coffee Trading Company.
“We thought, ‘this is kind of odd, let’s just put an ounce of coffee in it and see what it tastes like,’” Flood says. It seemed to be a good fit. “We all just stood back and thought, ‘Wow, this really works.’ It’s not like sitting at a drawing board — it’s more like we just start pouring things together and asking ourselves 'What’s missing? What’s going to take it over the top?’”
Snooze pours Forest Coffee from the tap, right next to local craft beers. Beans are sourced from the Phahi tribe in northern Thailand and roasted in Colorado. Sourcing the beans only from that single location allows Forest Coffee to maintain consistency with each harvest. The cold-brew coffee is made in small batches, with the process taking an entire day. After a double-filtration, the coffee is smooth and mild, containing 60-percent less acidity than hot-brewed coffee.
“I think it’s got a full body to it,” Flood says, “without being too dark or too bitter, like a lot of coffees can be. I think it’s just very drinkable. It holds up with cream, as well. We do a lot of combinations with coffee and liquor and people really like those two different buzzes at once, I guess.”
But day-drinking, ultimately, is about the booze, not the coffee. The heat of an Old Fashioned is whiskey, and Flood settled on a Breckenridge’s bourbon for his Denver cocktail. In other restaurants, he might use a spirit native to the particular region, but in Colorado, Flood likes to patronize local producers.
Making the drink you drink with pancakes: Per Flood, behind the bar at Snooze.
“We make the choices together, me and Spencer,” Flood says. “We tried to figure out what’s good sourcing. We source a lot from Colorado — we always want to do that. Breckenridge bourbon is very smooth. It’s very mixable, for sure. It’s a good sipping bourbon. Whiskey is a warming thing to me, even in a refreshing drink like this.”
Traditionally, an Old Fashioned contains whiskey, sugar and bitters and is garnished with a cherry and and a slice of orange. After adding coffee, Flood kept enhancing the recipe to make it more breakfast-friendly. He added the flavors of cherries and sugar by creating a cherry shrub.
In Colonial America, a shrub was a way to keep fruit over the winter using sugar and vinegar as preservatives. Eventually, this mixture wound up in cocktails as a flavoring agent. Flood makes his shrub by simmering Champagne vinegar, sugar and tart cherries. When the shrub cools, he bottles it and keeps it behind the bar. “It’s very simple, very tasty,” He says. “It adds a little tart element to the cocktail.”
If you’re heading to Snooze for pancakes, Flood recommends his new cocktail with another of Snooze’s new menu items: “On the sweet side, I’d say it would go well with our Drunken Punk’n Pancakes.” A full order comes with with two pumpkin pancakes filled with cream cheese and topped with a bourbon-maple syrup, a drizzle of sweet cream and maple-spiced pumpkin seeds.
Two other cocktails debut this week: the Blood Orange Marg ($8) and Fallin’ ($7), which is a Mimosa variation containing sparkling wine, apple juice, cherry shrub and a splash of soda water.
“I expect the feedback to be really positive,” Flood says. He sampled the drink to over a dozen servers and it was met with approval. “They all really loved it,” he says. “It was their favorite of the new drinks. I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised.”
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Flood points out that there's a stigma about drinking whiskey in the morning, but he thinks his coffee-infused cocktail will go over well. “It’s definitely booze-forward,” he says, “but it’s very drinkable.”
1.5 ounces Breckenridge bourbon
1 ounce cherry shrub
1 ounce cold-brewed Forest Coffee Trading Company coffee
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Fill a shaker tin with ice and pour in all ingredients. Roll the contents, including ice, back and forth into a tall glass to mix completely. Garnish with an orange wedge.