Lee Spirits Company has opened a second tasting room at 303 W. Hwy. 105 in Monument, attached to its new, expanded distillery space.
Not only can it fit around 20 more people than Brooklyn's on Boulder downtown, but it has a different menu focus as well. Just one new item to Lee product fans: lavender lemonade and strawberry lemonade on tap. As well, both lemonades have just been launched as a canned product available within days in area liquor stores; you can purchase four-packs on site here as well, along with Lee's dozen other bottles.
But the main difference guests will notice up north is a simple, one-page menu (versus Brooklyn's flip-book) with easy offerings like Champagne spritzes (infused with house creme de rose or creme de violette), flavored Lee Spirit vodkas, whiskey and colas, and shots such as a Mexican Chocolate, made with house Ginfuego and creme de cacao.
The menu does still lead off with a dozen classic cocktails for $10 each, but Ian Lee says the goal with this tasting room is more to highlight the raw materials here, in a way that can be easily replicated at home. Whereas Brooklyn's highlights bartender creativity with complex seasonal menus, here many of the items are left to shine in a more singular, spotlighted way.
Having become well acquainted with Lee's classic cocktails at Brooklyn's over the years, I focused on small samplings of the new products during the soft opening night. I sipped the 80-proof vodka, which earned a silver award at the 2018 Denver International Spirits Competition. Lee Spirit cola syrup makes for a pretty fantastic whiskey and cola to put any Jack-and-Coke pour to shame.
I try the creme de violette Champagne spritz with a lemon rind garnish that makes for a fabulous aroma all concocted and a fine bubbly sipper that wants only for warmer weather. The new lemonades — off tap, on ice — also scream for summer; they're on the sweet side, slightly viscous from the gin body, and very expressive with their respective lavender and strawberry-ginger flavorings. Ian Lee tells me it wasn't as simple as making lemonade and pouring the house spirits in — that the lemonades had to be reverse engineered to achieve the right balance to be kegged and placed into cans as batched cocktails.
The trio of available shots for $5 each are all more of quick liquid desserts, which is to say delicious. In addition to the aforementioned Mexican Chocolate, look for a Frostbite made with creme de violette and Lee Peppermint Schnapps, and the Peppermint Patty, made with the same schnapps and creme de cacao. (Yes it tastes like the cookie.)
The tasting room occupies 1,340 square feet of the larger 5,600 square-foot complex. There's the same number of seats at the bar as at Brooklyn's then an array of four-top tables leading back to a mural wall, as well as a rail for standing room opposite the bar near the entryway.
The distillery won't actually be operational until sometime around summer. To give the whole building more curb appeal, the team put a copper-colored metal roof accent around the whole building, plus a wall of wood boards to support the Lee Spirits logo near the customer entryway. The structure was formerly a collision shop, hence three bay doors on the distillery side.