Sometimes in the summer, we come to a crossroads trying to decide whether to go the cocktail or the ice cream route. But why choose when you can have the best of both worlds? From slushies spiked with wine to milkshakes made with liquor to a special brunch drink involving a popsicle, there are gallons of options for those who like their dessert and tipple to co-exist. With that in mind, next time you want a cool, relaxing treat, head to one of these seven places, listed in alphabetical order, and give the boozy frozen drinks a try. Just make sure to bring your ID.
7. 5280 Burger Bar
In the Denver Pavilions, 500 16th Street
When was the last time you had ice cream in a martini glass? Never? Well, now's your chance, with this downtown burger joint's lineup of shaketinis. The process for making this decadent cocktail is simple: First a shot or two of the alcohol is poured, then it's whipped up with 5280's homemade ice cream. Aside from the glassware, what really makes this treat stand out is the garnish, which could include a roasted marshmallow, fresh pineapple, tiny umbrellas and more. The venue offers eight seasonal and standard flavors, which have included the caramel affogato, with coffee and sea-salted caramel ice cream, coffee liqueur and Irish cream; the Atomic Bomb Pop, with chocolate and caramelized-banana ice cream mixed with 99 Bananasschnapps; and Dad’s S’mores, with toasted-marshmallow ice cream, shaved dark chocolate, graham-cracker crumbs and vodka. Each costs $10.95 and will give you a light buzz for your buck, making this drink the perfect Pavilions pre-movie tipple.
6. The Infinite Monkey Theorem Urban Winery
3200 Larimer Street
Frozen wine is a thing, and you can get an expertly made sangria slushie from now until the end of the season at this urban winery. The $7 drink, served in a stemless glass with a straw, is made with the winery's rich red vino, Barbara D'Alba, simple syrup and Moscato. Keep in mind that you can only sip this fun frozen cocktail in-house, so get ready to settle into a night listening to live music, playing board games or simply dishing about life with your friends in between periodic brain freezes.
5. Lola Coastal Mexican
1575 Boulder Street
Imagine the surprise of ordering the Michelada Pop for brunch at this snazzy LoHi Mexican restaurant, only to find that instead of a simple beer-and-tomato-juice mixture, your server delivers a popsicle. A popsicle, mind you, made of tangy frozen sangrita and tart lime juice that rests gently on a chili-salt-rimmed pint glass filled with even more of that spiced sangrita. It comes with an accompanying can of frosty Howdy Beer from The Post Brewing Co. in Lafayette, which you pour into said glass. The first thought: "What should I do with this popsicle? Lick or dip it?" Both are appropriate options, but in the end, you'll want to let that savory beauty melt into the fizzy beer to give the beverage its addictive flavor. Plus, at $5 a pop (including the beer), there is no reason not to try it again and again.
4. Milkbox Ice Creamery
1701 Wynkoop Street
Whether you're on the go at Union Station or just enjoying the venue, a stop at this charming, classic ice cream shop is a must, especially if you have a hankering for a little liquid courage in the guise of a decadent milkshake. The mirrored-wall menu offers four options, all made with goods from Little Man Ice Cream. This includes the 1981, with butterscotch and bourbon; the Burning Clocktower, with chocolate orange and tequila; the Dignitary, with coconut almond fudge and rum; and the Mizpah, with strawberry and vodka. While all of these prove delicious, the pro move would be to ask the scooper to make you a special tipple, which, like any good mixologist, he or she can do by assessing your favorite flavors. Or mix and match your own ice cream choice with the preferred booze. No matter what you pick, options run $9 each — sprinkles optional.
Keep reading for the rest of the boozy frozen dessert list...
3. Stem Ciders
2811 Walnut Street
At this RiNo-based cidery, owners Eric Foster and Phil Kao make a very special slushie drink consisting of crushed ice, cider and bright raspberries. The crux of this decadent drink is the off-dry and slightly tart Branch & Bramble cider, a beverage made with a slew of culinary apples such as Red Delicious, Gala, Fuji and Braeburn. The festive pink hue comes from the addition of raspberries, which are blended into the frosty concoction. Grab a glass and head outside to Stem's vast patio, or stay out of the sun and slowly sip inside the tap room. Either way you do it, one of these babies in hand makes you undoubtedly cool from the inside out.
2. Steuben's Uptown
523 East 17th Avenue
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7355 Ralston Road
It shouldn't surprise you that this popular comfort-food spot would also make milkshakes laden with glorious booze. In fact, there are five tasty options at both the Uptown and Arvada locations. Each runs $10 and gets made with soft-serve freshly ejected from a giant ice cream machine. Some of the options to choose from include the Grasshopper, a chocolate-minty mixture of creme de menthe, creme de cacao, twist soft-serve and Oreo crumbs; the Double Double, with Jim Beam, vanilla syrup, malt and vanilla ice cream; or the slightly smoky Suntory Times, made with Pig's Nose whisky, espresso, chocolate ice cream and honey-roasted peanuts. Pair that with an order of fries, and you have an elevated take on a classic combination.
1. TAG Burger Bar
1222 Madison Street
Just because Troy Guard’s causal burger place specializes in patties doesn't mean that you can't sidle up to the long, sturdy bar just for one of the crazy, boozy milkshakes on offer. Who knows — you may want to try all seven. Many of the $12 concoctions consist of soda and cereal, making them not only sweet and sensational, but colorful as well. Highlights include the Root of All Evil, which has your choice of ice cream with Bulleit bourbon and Abita root beer; Oh Captain My Captain, a fun interplay of strawberry ice cream with whipped-cream vodka and Cap'n Crunch Berries as garnish; and Nutella Me S'more, a mixture of chocolate ice cream, Nutella sauce, chocolate vodka, burnt marshmallow and a sprinkle of graham cracker crumbles. These adult shakes are guaranteed to bring out your inner child.