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Eleven Hot Cocktails to Warm Up Cold Denver Nights

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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 and lemon.

Bellwether offers hot chocolate with a hint of Chartreuse.EXPAND
Bellwether offers hot chocolate with a hint of Chartreuse.

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.

D Bar
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.

Looking down at the bar in the Family Jones.EXPAND
Looking down at the bar in the Family Jones.
Danielle Lirette

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.

Pastured butter is one of the key ingredients in this hot drink at Just Be Kitchen.EXPAND
Pastured butter is one of the key ingredients in this hot drink at Just Be Kitchen.

Just Be Kitchen
2364 15th Street

We’re pretty sure no one’s ever listed whiskey on a list of health foods, but 15th Street’s delightfully diet-friendly Just Be Kitchen is damn well going to do its best to try. Boasting a menu that’s 100 percent free of gluten, grain and refined sugar, Just Be still somehow manages to offer full-bodied comfort fare for breakfast, lunch, dinner and happy hour. Case in point: The Butter Me Up is made with quinoa whiskey, cider, butter and cinnamon.

A hot toddy by the fireplace at the Study, an extension of the Nickel, located inside Hotel Teatro.
A hot toddy by the fireplace at the Study, an extension of the Nickel, located inside Hotel Teatro.

The Nickel 
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.

Osaka Ramen
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's Irish Coffee features beans from Method Roasters, a local coffee company.EXPAND
The Way Back's Irish Coffee features beans from Method Roasters, a local coffee company.

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 is an all-around feel-good choice for dinner and a drink. Keeping with the classic vibes, the winter cocktail menu includes a ritzy take on classic Irish coffee: Slane Irish Whiskey, coffee from Method Roasters, heavy cream and a dash of nutmeg.

The "Red, White, and Blue Blazer" isn't messing around.EXPAND
The "Red, White, and Blue Blazer" isn't messing around.

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 tastes like apple cider and burns like whiskey. There's a limit of one per guest — because, yes, it really is that strong.

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