March 30, 2017 Slideshows » Food & Drink

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Cocktail competition at Brooklyn's on Boulder 

Let any doubts as to the excellence of the cocktail scene in Colorado Springs be banished.
Griffin Swartzell
Bar-back Noel Carlson from The Warehouse pours vermouth for the "Nate needs a pony" cocktail.
Griffin Swartzell
The night's judges, from left to right: local chef Brother Luck, Jason Kosmas of New York City's Employees Only, spirits writer/maker Simon Ford, Brooklyn's bar master Nate Windham. Not pictured, raffle winner Nate Benet, who won the fifth judge seat.
Griffin Swartzell
Noel Carlson and bartender Stephen Winchell garnish their drink, made from dry gin, Punt e Mes vermouth, lemon juice, raspberry simple syrup, and winter aromatic bitters.
Griffin Swartzell
Kevin Hill of the Blue Star was nervous, but he and bar-back Bailey Brown did well with "Lettie Belle."
Griffin Swartzell
The "Lettie Belle" veers healthy and sips fascinating, with dry gin, muddled lemongrass, lime juice, rhubarb bitters, Benedictine, roasted dandelion root tea syrup, and saline.
Griffin Swartzell
Dylan Currier of Cowboy Star pours the winners'-choice Colorado Columbine.
Griffin Swartzell
Dylan Currier's Colorado Columbine incorporates blueberry-white tea infused gin, a thyme-blueberry simple syrup, lemon juice, and angostura bitters
Griffin Swartzell
Cowboy Star barman Dylan Currier, assisted by Brooklyn's bar-back and known mensch, Carlos Garcia
Griffin Swartzell
Principal's Office barman Jason Sweeney (center) told an entertaining story about his repeated failures at making the banana-infused cocoa gin that defines the cocktail he and bar-back Courtney Caldwell (right) would soon pour.
Griffin Swartzell
After flirting with a chem-lab technique involving an enzyme-producing fungus and a centrifuge, Sweeney went full college student and dissolved banana candy in his cocoa gin, which retained plenty of subtlety. This shit isn't just bananas — it's gros michel bananas.
Griffin Swartzell
Sweeney's "Mr. Banana Grabber" cocktail used banana candy-infused cocoa gin, sweet vermouth, vanilla liqueur and Benedictine.
Griffin Swartzell
Bar-back Ashlee Choi and Emillio Ortiz of 503w were the only bartenders to use Lee Spirits' spicy Ginfuego in their cocktail. Their take on a classic Italian drink gave them the win.
Griffin Swartzell
Choi and Ortiz pour a Novara en fuego from a giant shaker. The drink is made with Ginfuego, Campari, Framboise reduction, fresh yuzu, and orange bitters.
Griffin Swartzell
Courtny Hilte of the Burrowing Owl was nervous for her first competition, but she performed well, assisted by Brooklyn's bar-back Carlos Garcia.
Griffin Swartzell
Hilte's drink, Dice Game, is a shrub — a colonial American cocktail defined by vinegared syrup. She built hers on apple cider vinegar, white grape and sweet black cherry, adding Forbidden Fruit liqueur, house fernet, and a splash of Rainier beer to top it off.
Griffin Swartzell
Denver's Union Lodge No. 1 sent Alex Daniluk and bar-back Joey Gardner to compete.
Griffin Swartzell
Daniluk's "Tea totaller" used dry gin, lavender gin, forbidden fruit, alpine liqueur, and earl grey tea syrup, with dry lemon, dehydrated rose and basil blossoms as garnish.
Griffin Swartzell
Alejandro Sanchez, assisted by bar-back Dylan Currier (not pictured) prepares an ultra-clean, ultra-floral Rosa de Carmen, with grapefruit oleosaccharum, dry vermouth, citroen aperitivo, rose-infused gin, rose water and a dried pink rose as garnish.
Griffin Swartzell
Brooklyn's bartender Erika Mullet (far right) organized the evening's events, bringing together impressive bartending talent.
Griffin Swartzell
Stephen Winchell said before the competition that while he might be beaten, he wouldn't lose — he brought a fascinating drink and took third.
Griffin Swartzell
Sweeney managed to do what judge Simon Ford had never seen — make a classic, craft cocktail using banana (no disrespect to the sugary banana daiquiri intended). His ambitious drink took second.
Griffin Swartzell
Lee Spirits co-owner Ian Lee (left) and Erika Mullet present 503w's Emillio Ortiz with his first-place plaque.
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Griffin Swartzell
Bar-back Noel Carlson from The Warehouse pours vermouth for the "Nate needs a pony" cocktail.
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