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Catch Stephen’s Saturday Night Speakeasy at The Warehouse 

click to enlarge We fall for India- and Thai-inspired cocktails. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • We fall for India- and Thai-inspired cocktails.

The Warehouse Restaurant & Gallery, 25 W. Cimarron St., 475-8880, thewarehouserestaurant.com

Colorado Springs can always use more cool pop-ups on the food and drink scene — Stephen’s Saturday Night Speakeasy at The Warehouse illustrates why. On the first Saturday monthly, from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., bartender Stephen Winchell returns to his former haunt (he now calls Burrowing Owl home) to collaborate with house and guest chefs on a late-night special cocktail and small-plate menu, with bites from $3 to $5 and themed cocktails, each $10. When we catch the June 1 pop-up, Winchell tells us “Easternization” is the concept, and he and executive chef/proprietor James Africano have concocted a five-drink, eight-plate list.

We fall for India- and Thai-inspired cocktails. The Saucy Lassi (a clear play on the nonalcoholic yogurt drink) featured Lee Spirits Dry Gin (Winchell also did prior product development for the distillery and bartended at Brooklyn’s on Boulder) with a mango purée, turmeric yogurt and black tea. Picture botanics blending with fruit and a hint of spice with a faint tannic touch. The Boomerang to Bangkok took Tanqueray gin and mixed it with a Thai-defining, coconut-lime leaf cordial plus ginger and green cardamom for obvious aromatic and spice qualities. Both drinks were excellent, with rich mouthfeels.

On the perfectly paired food front, the kitchen cranked out a nice, velvety Thai green curry coconut broth and a plate of crunchy coated calamari offset by some shishito peppers. Pork and kimchi dumplings procured from another local pop-up person, Steven Chi, were a delight, treated with courtesy by a black vinegar and soy sauce plus scallion garnish.

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