As Denver temperatures dip (and the wind chill threatens to tear at the walls of your sanity), we've found that nothing fights off the winter doldrums like a steaming mug spiked with strong booze. These eleven Denver bars have dreamed up seasonal hot drinks, from toddies to mulled sake, that promise to warm your chilled bones (and cure your existential woes).
Beatrice & Woodsley
38 South Broadway
If you’re looking for a spot to escape the harsh realities of a Denver winter, look no further than Beatrice & Woodsley’s famously whimsical dining room. With an interior reminiscent of a sylvan fairy tale (complete with gauzy white curtains and forest-themed art installations), this classic Broadway hideaway is as magical as it is cozy. Order the “Kings of New England” and warm your bones with a steaming combination of rye whiskey, apple pie shrub, cinnamon
5126 East Colfax Avenue
A one-stop-shop on East Colfax for both coffee and cocktails (and a classic barbershop visit if you’re feeling really ambitious), Bellwether is a natural choice for anyone seeking a hot cocktail. While the biker-chic cafe offers several warm beverages, the top recommendation is a new seasonal special: Mr. Gustave, a green chartreuse-spiked hot chocolate topped with dark ganache shavings.
494 East 19th Avenue
When the hankering for a spiked cup of coffee hits you before noon (which, let’s be real, happens more often than not as the temperatures get lower), D Bar has your back. Nestled on a cozy corner in uptown Denver, this mecca for all things dessert opens at 11 a.m. and offers six different coffee-spirit blends on its “High Octane” beverage menu, including Mexican Coffee (Kahlua), Italian Coffee (Disaronno Amaretto), French Coffee (Grand Marnier) and the classic Irish Coffee (Jameson). Wake up and chill out with one of these winning combos.
The Family Jones Spirit House
3245 Osage Street
Though the Family Jones Spirit House is a newer addition to the LoHi neighborhood (opening in fall 2017), this stylish spot has quickly earned itself a reputation as a local staple, offering strong, wholly original cocktails created with housemade spirits. Wrap your cold fingers around the bar's newest seasonal cocktail, the Great Hot Pumpkin, made with Mo Jones (a molasses-based rum), housemade pimento dram, Family Jones amaretto, pumpkin and toasted-pecan whipped cream. Or, if pumpkin isn’t your thing, you can also get a spiced-up version of a hot toddy made with Family Jones Rock & Rye whiskey.
Forest Room 5
2532 15th Street
An eclectic little stop just north of the 15th Street bridge, Forest Room 5 is notorious for its outside-the-box experience (think: fancy outdoor fire features, a movie projection screen, a cozy tipi and kinda-creepy doll heads as decor). Grab a bite off the dinner menu (which includes upscale comfort food like skillet fries, alpine cheese fondue and s’mores) and pair it with a Winter Toddy: Leopold’s Apple Whiskey, Templeton Rye, honey and house chamomile bitters.
Just Be Kitchen
2364 15th Street
We’re pretty sure no one’s ever listed whiskey on a list of
1100 14th Street
Hot toddies are best enjoyed while cozied up next to a crackling fire. Thankfully, Hotel Teatro’s version, called the Nickel, offers both in its living-room-style lounge lined with dark wood and cushy chairs. Pick a dish off the restaurant's incredible seasonal menu (pumpkin ravioli, tuna tartare, lobster & grits) and ask for a classic hot toddy made with whiskey, honey, lemon juice and hot water.
2611 Walnut Street
In case “mulled wine” doesn’t immediately elicit images of simmering ramen bowls and pickled ginger, Osaka is dead-set on changing your mind this winter. As one of Denver’s favorite spots for Japanese cuisine, Osaka is constantly dreaming up new ways to serve up fresh takes on your favorite Asian dishes. This season, enjoy a glass of warm spiced sake, a unique spin on Europe’s classic mulled red wine. The bar uses traditional light, dry sake infused with allspice, orange peel, vanilla, clove and cinnamon.
3 South Broadway
Serving up everything from brunch to last-call shots (from 10:30 a.m. to 2 a.m., no less), Sputnik is equal parts rough-and-tumble vintage and hardy rock-and-roll. Head to South Broadway for a dose of hangover brunch (available ’til 3 p.m.) along with a mug filled with coffee, house-infused espresso vodka, Branca Menta, Alpe Genepy and an orange twist, aptly named the Second Wind.
The Way Back
3963 Tennyson Street
Housed in a former Irish pub, the Way Back’s new Tennyson digs are both approachable and downright classy, fusing mid-mod charm with dark wood and keeping a wide range of customers happy with both $3 Coors specials and a killer cocktail program. Committed to “local, sustainable and responsible” food and drink, the Way Back
Union Lodge No.1
1543 Champa Steet
A boozy Easter egg just off the 16th Street Mall, Union Lodge No.1 is a pre-Prohibition cocktail bar that boasts bartenders as friendly as they are knowledgeable. A house favorite, the Red, White and Blue Blazer is a blend of 151-proof Demerara Rum, 100-proof bourbon, applejack, cinnamon and house bitters, set on fire and poured from mug to mug in arcs of blue flame. It
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.