April has approximately 597 days this year, and as they slowly (so slowly) drag on, we've compiled a list of enough virtual Friday happy hours to render your liver useless for the remainder of 2020. There are also cheese-making classes, ice cream pop-up shops, online food drives and resources for people who are experiencing food insecurity on the food and drink calendar. Keep reading for the best events this weekend, as well as more virtual activities in the days to come.
Friday, April 17
With the economy taking a beating and unemployment soaring in sectors from hospitality to education to health care and social services, chances are that even if you don't need food assistance, someone you know does. On Friday, April 17, nonprofit organization Hunger Free Colorado (HFC) is hosting a Facebook Live Q & A at 11 a.m. that will address the public food and nutrition programs available to Coloradans. Both current program recipients and those unsure if they qualify for assistance are encouraged to join; if you can't make it, you can also visit the extensive list of food resources on HFC's website, available in both English and Spanish.
If you need a drink after all of that, American Elm, 4132 West 32nd Avenue, is hyping a different cocktail each week during its Friday happy hour — because once you've learned everything there is to know about your housemate(s), pet(s), Tik Tok feed, Exotic Joe and the offerings of every streaming platform you can think of, God knows you need some variety. This Friday, April 17, the focus is on the Old Fashioned; on the restaurant's Instagram page, bartenders will walk you through creating the basic drink as well as variations at 4 p.m. To play along, visit American Elm's website, where you can place a pick-up or delivery order for the classic drink's ingredients. While the "Happy Hour Cocktail Kit" for six includes no booze — only bitters, ice cubes and simple syrup — for $15, the "Cocktails to Go" section offers a set of Old Fashioned makings — including the whiskey — for just $42 for six people. And because every booze purchase must include food, make sure you indulge in one of the spot's excellent entrees or family meals.
You've mastered bread-making at home — now what to put on your yeasted creations? Instead of rummaging through the cheese section at the grocery store (alongside that dude who refuses to wear a face mask) only to end up with a loaf of Velveeta, you can instead make your own creamy burrata and stretchy mozzarella with the experts from the Truffle Cheese Shop on Friday, April 17. Enroll in the class, $30, on the cheesemonger's website, then pick up your bag of supplies containing everything you'll need at the store (2906 East Sixth Avenue) before class commences at 5 p.m. Already have a Zoom happy-hour schedule for this Friday? Future webinars are scheduled for April 24, May 1 and May 8.
Golden spirits maker State 38 Distilling is continuing its Friday virtual happy hour on April 17, with guests Whiskey Dudes With Attitudes. At 6 p.m., tune in to State 38's Instagram page for a discussion of the amber liquor. Even better? The distillery is running this deal through the end of April: Stop by 400 Corporate Circle in Golden between 3 and 5 p.m. to pick up two bottles of brown spirits (including not only whiskey, but also the outfit's reposado and añejo agave spirits) and get a free bottle of Damn Good vodka. Visit State 38's Facebook page for details.
Golden Moon Distillery can't invite you into its tasting room, so instead it's welcoming you behind the scenes with a series of virtual tours of the facility. At 6 p.m. on Friday, April 17, co-owner/distiller Stephen Gould will conduct a tour of Golden Moon's grain silo on Facebook and Instagram Live and discuss its single-malt whiskey distillation process in detail. To get the entire tour experience, call ahead to the distillery, 303-993-7174, to order a bottle of Golden Moon's excellent spirits to accompany the tour.
Saturday, April 18
Nonprofit organization Food Bank of the Rockies has seen demand for food assistance double in recent days, and it expects the need to continue to rise. So local businesses are chipping in to raise funds for the food distribution service: King Soopers, 9News and a trio of local radio stations are hosting a virtual food drive through Sunday, April 26. If you're able, make a financial donation on the drive's website (just $1 provides four meals) and 9News will match the first $10,000 received. For more info, visit 9News.
The Denver Central Market, 2669 Larimer Street, has shifted operations to function as a grocery store — and that makes it one of the few markets where you can get your pantry essentials and your hard liquor in the same spot. Curio, the in-house bar, won't mix up a cocktail to sip while you shop, but you can order cocktail kits and bottles of booze for pick-up Tuesday through Friday (2 to 6 p.m.) and Saturday (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) For the most part, the cocktail kits don't include booze, but instead are substantial baskets of fruit, mixers, garnishes, syrups, bitters and ice that make from eight to ten drinks; prices range from $25 to $50. And while you can splurge on a bottle of spirits — there are several $300 options for sale on Curio's website — you can get a liter of most house spirits for $25 or $30. You can even get fancy ice cubes, which will run you $4 for four, if for some reason you lack access to water and a freezer. Once you have your goodies in hand, start shaking with the help of the bar's Cocktail Sessions, free videos in which bartenders from Curio, Brass Tacks and Roger's Liquid Oasis walk you through the steps to creating perfect quarantine quaffs.
Sunday, April 19
Lines form at Highland's Little Man Ice Cream no matter the month or the weather, and it's not a stretch to guess that half the city is going batty from the lack of access to Denver's most distinctive ice cream shop, and the other half has already arrived in bat territory. So we expect the Sweet Cooie's pint pop-up on Sunday, April 19, to be in big demand. Place an order for your choice of Little Man pint packs (the Classic, which includes vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and cookie dough; the Vegan, with horchata, chocolate salted Oreo, rocky road and cherry lime sorbet; and the Specialty, which contains salted Oreo, salted caramel peanut butter cup, Mexican chocolate and purple cow) and ice cream sandwich packs no later than 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 18. Then stop by Sweet Cooie's, 3506 East 12th Avenue, between 1 and 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 19, to pick up your fix. Prices range from $24 to $28; order on the sweet shop's website.
Keep reading for ongoing online events every day of the week....
Even though it may feel like the world has shut down forever, Mother Nature is actually doling out some good with the bad: Spring has sprung, and now's a great time to start planning a garden. In addition to growing your own food and mitigating grocery-store trips, gardening can also be a meditative hobby — and nothing could be better in these trying times. That's why farmers' advocacy group Frontline Farming is carrying on with its annual heirloom seedling sale. This year, though, all orders must be placed via the organization's online store. Choose from snowy white Japanese eggplant, lemon-colored cucumbers, violet bell peppers, pale yellow to fiery red chiles, and pitch black, burgundy, scarlet and citron hued tomatoes. Don't have a yard? Not to worry — you can also stock up on herb seedlings (oregano, basil, thyme, chamomile, cilantro and parsley) that do great in pots. Then pick up your babies on Saturday, May 9 (at 2861 West 52nd Avenue), or May 16 (at 7000 Garrison Street in Arvada) and get growing.
Need a mid-day pick-me-up? Colorado Springs-based Distillery 291 is keeping the bar fires burning by posting short Facebook Live videos daily at 2 p.m. (and often at 5 p.m., as well). Tune in to see staff taking shotskis (appropriately socially distanced, with just one person on each end of the ski), mixing cocktails, bantering and sanitizing everything in sight. Anyone — even those who don't live south of the Denver County line — can benefit from daily cocktail recipes and a quick time-out between Zoom meetings. Distillery 291 just took home a double gold for its High Rye Colorado Bourbon at the recent San Francisco World Spirits Competition, so you can order a bottle for your home bar and virtual-toast along with the 291 team.
Knowing when to log out of your email is tough when you're working from home — and it's even harder turning off your work brain when your work space is the same as your sleeping, eating, cooking, TV-watching, hand-washing and gritting-your-teeth-and-trying-not-to-bite-your-roommate's-head-off space. But every day from 7:15 to 7:30 p.m., the folks at Burns Family Artisan Ales are hosting Socially Distanced Drinking on Facebook Live. Tune in and chat in the comments with like-minded beer aficionados about what you're drinking and what it pairs with.
Stem Ciders isn't letting a little thing like a global health crisis put a crimp in its long-running tradition of Tuesday pairings. The cidery continues to offer four cans of cider accompanied by four food items (upcoming: cupcakes and sushi) picked by bakers, chefs and producers for pick-up between 3 and 7 p.m. from the Stem taproom at 2811 Walnut Street. Unlike pre-pandemic times, you can reserve your plate (costs vary, but hover in the $25 range) in advance on Eventbrite (recommended) through noon on the prior Monday, but there will be a limited supply of pairings for sale on a first-come, first-served basis on Tuesday. Take a look at Stem's Facebook page for details on the selected ciders and cheese.
The Mile High City's own self-serve chicken sandwich chain, Birdcall, is taking a cue from its namesake and bestowing beautiful music on the people of Denver. Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday through April 23, the restaurant's Facebook and Instagram pages will be streaming free mini-sets from local musicians as part of its Birdcall Lockdown concert series. Past artists include Wildermiss and Neoma; tune in at 8 p.m. for your fix of local music — even better if it's enjoyed with one of the joint's family meals or sandwiches, which you can order online, pick up from the restaurant and enjoy from the comfort of your own couch.
The Boulder-based Cocktail Squad, purveyor of canned cocktails and 1989-era Taylor Swift catchphrases, has launched a series of music sets from local musicians on its YouTube channel. Every Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, you can watch new performances from artists like Andy Thorn of Leftover Salmon, Andrew McConathy of the Drunken Hearts and more. Presumably, not every musician making an appearance will be a bearded white dude named after one of the Twelve Apostles, but you'll have to tune in to find out — and even if they are, it'll go down easier with one of the Squad's cocktails in hand; visit its website to find out where you can order them for delivery. In lieu of tips, the beverage producer is requesting that you donate to nonprofit organizations Feed the Frontlines Boulder, United States Bartenders' Guild National Charity Foundation and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Relief Fund.
Our favorite place for Negronis, Bar Helix, is doing double duty as a smokehouse on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. You can order the bar's ribs and sides from 2 p.m. until sellout for no-contact pick-up at 3440 Larimer Street. Details are up on Bar Helix's website, where you can place your order for food as well as large-format cocktails designed to serve six people or more.
The longer Colorado's stay-at-home order drags on, the worse our case of cabin fever gets (at this point, your cousin's wedding in Rapelje, Montana — population 110 — sounds positively enticing). But while you're stuck at home, you can prepare for your next trip to somewhere closer and much, much tastier: Colorado's wine country. Starting Wednesday, April 15, the Colorado Wine Facebook page launched its weekly happy half-hour at 4:30 p.m. on Facebook Live. Winemakers from across the state join the stream each week and chat about tasting tips, the winemaking process and viewer questions. Visit Colorado Wine's website to connect with wineries close to you and find out how you can purchase their wares to drink during happy hour (or — let's be honest — any hour of the day).
Colorado Sake Co. is sending home sushi and sake kits to customers nearly every night of the week for sushi-rolling classes; the packages include enough seafood, rice, nori and veggies to make six rolls (two each of three different styles), plus a rolling mat, chopsticks, wasabi, soy sauce and pickled ginger. Oh, and the most important part — two 350-milliliter bottles of sake: the American Standard (a junmai ginjo, if you're into details) and one flavored version, such as raspberry-lavender. The kits ring in at $80 and are built for two, and you can add more bottles of sake for $10 each. Sign up for the classes on the Colorado Sake Co. Facebook page; they're currently offered every Wednesday through Sunday at 6:30 p.m., with a second session at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Even coronavirus can't kill Wine Wednesday, and Bigsby's Folly is doing its part to uphold the Hump Day tradition. Every Wednesday at 7 p.m., the winery crew is holding virtual gatherings on Instagram Live; while you're there, be sure to take a moment to peruse the feed and enjoy frequent, costumed moments of levity from owners Chad and Marla Yetka.
Denver Beer Co. is hosting a virtual happy hour and tasting every Friday from 4 to 5 p.m. on Facebook Live and its YouTube channel; the taproom's head brewer and owners will discuss select brews each week, which will be posted on DBC's Facebook page in advance so that you can drink along if you'd like.
Dos Luces Brewery will hold Friday night meetups on Google Hangout at 6 p.m. until the taproom reopens. Owner/head brewer Judd Belstock will be discussing his chicha and pulque. Details are up on the Dos Luces Facebook page, where you can also find info on pre-order and pick-up of its brews.
Proof Wine & Spirits, 3360 Larimer Street, is moving its weekly in-store wine tastings into the virtual Wild West (aka Instagram). Each Tuesday, the shop announces two wines it will be uncorking; you can order the bottles on its website and pick them up at the store. Then on Friday at 6 p.m., join store manager and sommelier Jessica Barrand on Instagram Live as she tastes and takes notes on the wine. We'll raise a glass to that.
Curtis Park residents have an easy way to decide where to order Friday night takeout: Curtis Park Neighbors has recently formed the Curtis Park Meal Train. Each week, nearby denizens can order a meal for two for $35 (plus two drinks for just $5 more if the selected restaurant has a liquor license!) no later than Thursday for Friday night delivery straight to your doorstep — if you live within five miles of the participating restaurants. Past participants include Dio Mio Handmade Pasta, Hop Alley and Lou's Italian Specialties. Stay tuned for upcoming collabs and order on the Meal Train website.
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