Things to Do

The Eight Best Events on the Culinary Calendar This Week

Eight glasses of whiskey per day is good for hydration.
Danielle Lirette
Eight glasses of whiskey per day is good for hydration.
As the temperatures get colder and the air gets drier, keeping hydrated is especially important for your health. That won't be a problem this week: Choose from coffee, beer, wine, whiskey and punch — and that's just for starters — at one of these eight great food and (mostly) drink events around town. Then keep reading for more activities in the weeks ahead.

click to enlarge High Point Creamery created Bob's Babka, an olive oil and chocolate babka flavor, for the Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center this Hanukkah. - MARK ANTONATION
High Point Creamery created Bob's Babka, an olive oil and chocolate babka flavor, for the Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center this Hanukkah.
Mark Antonation
Monday, December 9
Ice cream emporium High Point Creamery is setting up shop in the lobby of the Staenberg-Loup Jewish Community Center, 350 South Dahlia Street, from Monday, December 9, through Monday, December 23, to celebrate Hanukkah with a special ice cream flavor created just for the holiday. Bob's Babka is a rich olive oil ice cream studded with chunks of homemade chocolate babka (a sweet, yeast-risen loaf of bread similar to coffee cake). You can purchase a pint of this holiday cheer for $8, with over 40 percent of the proceeds going to support the JCC. In addition, the organization is holding a food drive, so bring canned food and toiletries for drop-off through Wednesday, December 18; the goods will be donated to Stapleton's Isabella Bird Community School.

click to enlarge Jovanina's Broken Italian hosts Attimo winery for dinner on December 10. - COURTESY JOVANINA'S BROKEN ITALIAN
Jovanina's Broken Italian hosts Attimo winery for dinner on December 10.
Courtesy Jovanina's Broken Italian
Tuesday, December 10
Beer dinners are nothing new in ale-obsessed Denver, but a coffee and beer dinner? That's a happy outgrowth of the partnership between Queen City Collective Coffee and Novel Strand Brewing Co., which share the space at 305 West First Avenue. The coffeeshop-brewery combo is bringing in chef Will Harris of Linger to prepare a four-course meal with coffee and beer pairings from 6 to 10 p.m. Courses include charcoal-roasted prawns with rice grits, sofrito and coffee broth, and coffee sorbet; some accompanying beverages are Queen City's Worka pour-over coffee, Scottish Wee Heavy beer and a coffee Imperial stout. A limited number of tickets, $70 (including tip), are available on Eventbrite, but the majority of tickets will need to be purchased (fee-free!) at the coffeehouse itself.

Jovanina's Broken Italia
n is partnering with Attimo winery for a dinner highlighting the Denver winemaker's beverages. Starting at 6:30 p.m., the cute and comfortable dining room at 1520 Blake Street will host guests for five courses with accompanying wines; we're most excited about rabbit ragu paired with barbaresco; tender osso buco and polenta with barolo; and semifreddo with caramelized bananas and amaro. Tickets are $162 (includes tax and tip) on Eventbrite now.

Receive the gift of knowledge so you can give the gift of booze at Golden Moon Speakeasy's holiday punch class on Tuesday, December 10. The ninety-minute workshop at the tasting room, 1111 Miner's Alley in Golden, begins at 5:30 p.m.; you'll get drinks and appetizers while you learn how to craft three punches (sorry, batched cocktails) that you can easily make in advance of your holiday entertaining. And while we can't guarantee you won't spend that extra time refilling the bruschetta platter instead of socializing, at least you'll have one less thing to worry about as you try to maintain the illusion you have it all together during the most stressful (sorry, joyous) time of the year. Pick up your ticket ($45) on Eventbrite, where you can also find out what you'll be making. Our favorite? The Pistol Packing Punch, a concoction of rye whiskey, bitters, black tea and citrus.

Wednesday, December 11

The Source's market hall bar, Isabel, 3350 Brighton Boulevard, is Yuletide-ing up the joint on Wednesday, December 11, with a 7 p.m. screening of the 1954 film White Christmas, wherein two dancing girls and a pair of borderline sleazy producers bring about a holiday miracle thanks to a fake engagement, tap dancing, eavesdropping and a healthy dose of jingoism. Pair the classic musical with with an equally classic winter drink — hot toddies, on special for $7 all night — and you've got a thoroughly modern Denver setting in which to enjoy one of the most beloved Christmas movies of the last 65 years.

click to enlarge Rioja is all dressed up for the holidays. - SCOTT LENTZ
Rioja is all dressed up for the holidays.
Scott Lentz
Thursday, December 12
Nothing warms your belly on a cold winter night quite like a few fingers of amber whiskey. And on Thursday, December 12, Denver distiller Laws Whiskey House, 1420 South Acoma Street, is spreading the warmth not only to customers, but to kids who otherwise might not receive a holiday gift. From 5 to 9 p.m., the tasting room is practically giving away flights for $10 and pours and cocktails for just $5 — and it's literally giving away one cocktail if you show up with a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots. Rolling Smoke Bar-B-Que will also be on hand with its own brand of smoky sustenance; get more details on the Laws Whiskey website and Facebook page.

Rioja, the venerable Spanish restaurant at 1431 Larimer Street, has stayed fresh for its fifteen years in business by executing its food impeccably and (perhaps more important) continuing to create unique dishes. The menu for its Thursday, December 12, wine dinner with Spanish producer Muga is no exception; the five-course meal kicks off at 7:30 p.m. and includes dishes like fig and Manchego mezzaluna pasta, octopus with pickled mushrooms, and venison with black tea demiglace and savory onion and fennel bread pudding. The $200 price tag includes tax and gratuity; secure your seat on the restaurant's website.

click to enlarge Scott Young, "Wish You Were Her(e)." - SCOTT YOUNG
Scott Young, "Wish You Were Her(e)."
Scott Young
Friday, December 13
In partnership with the Knockout art exhibit that opened at the Dairy Block on December 1, chef Kelly Whitaker (Basta, Wolf's Tailor, Bruto) is cooking a Knockout Cancer dinner on Friday, December 13, that benefits First Descents, a nonprofit organization that provides free outdoor experiences for people impacted by cancer and other serious illnesses. Billed as an "experiential" and "immersive" dinner produced by Thrice, the evening begins at 6 p.m. at Bruto, 1801 Blake Street, with cocktails and oysters before moving to neon artist Scott Young's studio at 1821 Blake Street, where dinner and drinks from Blanchard Family Wines and Run for the Roses will be followed by an art auction. Tickets, $165, are on sale now at Eventbrite.

And if you're planning ahead...