Atomic Mai Tai
With renewed interest in uranium mining in the red-rock badlands around the Dolores River, despite the dozens of abandoned and still-dangerous mines in the region, this tropical drink goes down smoothly on a sweltering day in Uravan.
2 oz. rum
Juice of one lime
1 oz. Uranium-mine waste slurry, half-life of 4.5 billion years
Shake with ice; garnish with deformed sagebrush.
Parachute Creek on the Western Slope is dumping dangerous levels of benzene into the Colorado River from upstream oil and gas drilling, but who cares when oil companies are raking in record profits? Talk about trickle-down economics! This timeless sour cocktail will go over great at the next shareholder soiree.
1 oz. citrus-flavored vodka
Half-ounce triple sec
Half-ounce cranberry juice
Half-ounce Parachute Creek water, glistening with a surface rainbow of toxins
Shake with ice; strain into chilled glass. Serve with poisoned brown trout.
Ranch Runoff Old-Fashioned
Cattle ranching is a tough business, and it calls for a man's drink. The tough men of the South Platte Valley can't be bothered with fruity frou-frou drinks or with preventing the flow of nitrates, E. coli, and cryptosporidium bacteria from overcrowded feedlots into one of the state's primary watersheds. Set down the cattle prod and reach for this manly cocktail.
2 oz. bourbon or rye whiskey
1 sugar cube
2-3 dashes bitters
Splash of manure-darkened feedlot runoff
Splash sugar with bitters, add whiskey and feedlot juice; stir. Serve with growth-hormone-infused steak.