When I met Dylan Moore a few years ago while testing numerous drinks at Deluxe, his wildly popular restaurant, we became instant friends. I don't know what I admired more — his cooking/restaurant, his entrepreneurial chef spirit, his amazing eye for design or his boisterous essence — but I knew he was the total friend package. Which made it tricky when he and Brett, his bar manager, called and asked me to check out the specialty cocktail list they've designed for Delite, Dylan's new bar that took over a snowboard shop next door to Deluxe. Would my role as a friend conflict with my duties as a professional drinker? As it turned out, the friend and drinker were in perfect accord on Delite, which is well named. A huge glass garage door takes up most of the front, ready to roll open on a summer day but still letting in plenty of South Broadway's spirit on the frostier of Denver's 300 days of sunshine. The interior is sleek and simple, with beautiful original wood floors, exposed brick walls and an enormous "Mixed Drinks" sign behind the bar, which Dylan bought about six years ago, when it was taken off an old bar at Alameda and Federal. The sign gives the space a focus and reminds you why you're here. I asked Dylan to make me a cocktail, and he brought a martini made with Ketel One Vodka shaken hard, fresh rosemary and a grind of pepper, served up and garnished with stuffed Maytag blue-cheese olives and a sprig of rosemary as the olive spear ($11). I looked at him, dumbfounded. "Isn't this the drink I told you about from my trip to Vegas?" I asked. He smiled, and said, "Why, yes, it is!" I took a sip, and it was even more heavenly than the original. I asked him what he called it. "It's a Levini," he said. I'm honored. Not just for the drink, but for the history of friendship that made the drink. And it all started in a bar.
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