Colorado governor John Hickenlooper recently demonstrated the purity of the Animas by slurping from a bottle of river water (with an iodine back). In 2013 he told a U.S. Senate committee that he once drank fracking fluid while meeting with Halliburton executives, describing the experience as "almost ritual-like." In honor of our governor's background in brewing and his thirst for our state's poisons, I'd like to propose the following Colorado Cocktails:
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.
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.