National Tequila Day was last Wednesday -- but in Denver, every day could be tequila day. This town loves that liquor, whether sipped on its own, mixed up in a marg, or part of another cocktail altogether. And there are plenty of innovative offerings; here, in no particular order, are ten of our favorite tequila drinks that aren't margaritas.
10) Paddy-Zuma's Revenge Green Russell 1422 Larimer Street
At the dark, sultry Green Russell, you can dive into Paddy-Zuma's Revenge: a blend of Espolon Reposada, Smith and Cross Jamaican Rum, Amaro Montenegro, lime, grapefruit and amaretto-esque orgeat.
9) Paloma Vesper Lounge 233 East Seventh Avenue
The paloma is a beloved, traditional Mexican drink, whether made with fresh grapefruit juice, Fresca or Jarritos. At Vesper Lounge, the Frank Bonanno concept that rose from the ashes of Lancer Lounge, the Paloma is made with tequila and a house-made salted grapefruit soda, then served from a tap system. Genius.
8) Medicine Wheel The Kitchen 1530 16th Street
The Kitchen's "Medicine Wheel" suggests a proclivity for curing all ailments with a concoction that blends tequila, mezcal, honey, vodka, herb-packed yellow chartreuse, lime juice and fresh marjoram. Whatever ails you doesn't stand a chance.
7) El Diablo Williams & Graham 3160 Tejon Street
If you think Williams & Graham is a speakeasy devoted to popular Prohibition spirits like whiskey and gin, think again. The cocktail list at this fabulous bar has an entire section dedicated to tequila. The most devilish might be "El Diablo," which features Pueblo Viejo Blanco, tart Leopold Brothers Rocky Mountain blackberry, fresh lime juice and ginger beer.
6) Bullfighter Linger 2030 West 30th Avenue
Linger's "Bullfighter" blends Blanco Tequila, Leopold Brothers Cherry Liqueur, sweet vermouth, lemon and Thai basil for a cocktail that will refresh you -- before it knocks you to the ground. Keep reading for more tequila cocktails.
5) Sloth Love Chunk Colt & Gray 1553 Platte Street
Colt & Gray, ground zero for sophisticated cocktail drinkers, also uses Blanco Tequila in the "Sloth Love Chunk," blending it with Aperol, Combier Grapefruit, lime, fresh grapefruit and aromatic bitters. It's delicious on its own, but any Goonies reference means you'll be drinking in good company.
4) Amor de Sandia Old Major 3316 Tejon Street
If summer means sinking your teeth into a juicy watermelon wedge, you'll feel the love with this tequila-based libation at Old Major. The "Amor de Sandia" is made with tequila, aperol (the blood orange-hued Italian aperitif). fresh watermelon juice, lime juice and simple syrup.
3) Beet Street Squeaky Bean 1500 Wynkoop Street
The blood-red "Beet Street" is a perfect example of the innovative spirit of the Squeaky Bean team. Using sorrel, an herb that yields crimson buds, and earthy beets, they mix up with cocktail with tequila ocho plata, basil, lemon, sugar and egg white.
2) Cubanita Cuba Cuba 1173 Delaware Street
Cuba Cuba, the Cuban oasis in the Golden Triangle, is better known for its classic rum libations. But the "Cubanita," a mix of silver tequila, pineapple juice, lemonade and fresh lime, packs a tropical punch -- and is also available by the pitcher ($38) to share with friends on the dreamy patio.
1) Amante Picante TAG, 1441 Larimer Street
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TAG is all about cross-culinary foodventures -- whether you crave taco sushi or fish tacos. And the adventures continue with the "Amante Picante," a simple, no-nonsense summer refresher made with silver tequila, fresh lime, cilantro and jalapeno.