Saturday, November 27, 2010

I Really Wish This Blog Could Play The Theme To Star Wars...

So the buzz is loud this blog feels like an echo of an echo about it. However, as we continue to update you on everything in the COBG world, we'll take a minute of your time here to announce that yes, BAR SMARTS is coming to the Mile High City.

Mr. Dale DeGroff, F. Paul Pacult, David Wondrich (my hero), Andy Seymour, Steve Olson, and Doug Frost have teamed up with Pernod Ricard to bring you a one day version of the esteemed BAR 5-Day Program that a only a handful of Denver-tenders have traveled to NYC to do. They'll all be here, and drinking at your bars.

Although the BAR SMARTS team will be here on April 12th, 2011, the registration begins on December 1st, 2010 and there are only 150 spots folks. That may seem like a lot of places for us bartender types, but remember, these events don't happen everywhere, or very often. So look for there to be quite a few peeps from other states looking to jump into our pool.

Registration is by invitation only. The cost is $85, and you will receive a 4 DVD set with a  workbook, a OGIO backpack, and a basic set of bar tools selected by Dale DeGroff himself. As well, everyone that passes will receive a membership to the COBG / USBG for 2011. This is a ridiculous opportunity for everyone in our little circle, so if you're interested please send Sean Kenyon an email at with your name and place of employment and he'll get you an invite. Then get yourself over to and register on December 1.

Good Luck, and may the Force Be With You.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Second Toy Drive Party Revealed!

Well, it's a well known fact, Sonny Jim, that Santa, yes, the Santa Claus is a fan of Tiki drinks and Tiki parties. And wouldn't you know it? Steuben's Food Service, your friendly Colorado chapter of the USBG and William Grant & Sons have banded together to postpone Santa's annual making of lists and checking of them twice (because you know we're all on his naughty list) and to get his bearded, cookie lovin' ass to Denver for a good ol' fashioned TIKI PARTY!

If you were at the shin-dig last year, there's little more I can say. You arrive after a lengthy stop at Target with unwrapped toys in your hand. You receive two drink tickets for every toy you bring. You drink the drinks, you tip your bartenders (all tips will be donated to the Salvation Army), and ...hopefully...this will sway Santa's decision to put your name back on the "nice" list and you really will get Glee Karaoke Revolution in your stocking.

We'll see you on Monday, December 13th from 9pm to 2am for the season's biggest (read: best) party.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Sixth Annual Holiday Toy Drive @ OAK at Fourteenth

It's that time of year. We're talking Santas, Elves, Chimneys and Ugly Sweaters. We're also talking Toys and those less fortunate than us. The COBG is pleased to announce that we're going to replicate last year's amazing COBG Toy Drive not once...but TWICE, so that everyone can get in on the spirit of giving.
Orange flavored spacemen love Christmas too!
Our First Toy Drive event will be Monday, December 6th, at Bryan Dayton's brand-spanking-sorta-like-Baby-Jesus-new restaurant OAK at Fourteenth in Boulder. If you attended last year, you already know the drill. It's drinkin' cocktails for charity in exchange for donated gifts. You'll get one cocktail for each gift you bring (unless you're Hollywood A-List Attractive). Gifts must be new, unwrapped, for ages 14 and under, and valued under $25. As well, there will be a raffle for sweet schwag. Food will be provided by Dayton and Steve R. from Oak at Fourteenth. 

AND...if that didn't get you there...the COBG is proud to host top national bartenders Steve Olson, Andy Seymour, Leo Degroff, Danny Valdez and Michael Martensen. Come say hi to everyone, or at least stroke Martensen's moustache.

Stay tuned for the Second Toy Drive time and location which will be in Denver and on a Monday (Dec. 13th).


Just a couple little items to add to your holiday to-do list, courtesy of Sean Kenyon and your COBG -

1) Remember, December 1st is the deadline for your Domaine de Canton Bartender of the Year drink submissions. According to Mr. Kenyon, this year the regionals are going to be live and in demand and the kids at Canton have upped the St. Maarten finalists from 12 to 20, giving us all a much greater chance to bask in the sun.

2) Also, as you may have heard, Bar Smarts is coming to Denver for a one-day version of the 5-day New York program in April. Stay tuned to this COBG Blog (and your friendly email clients) for more news on getting your invitation and applying for the program - registration begins December 1st.

42 Below Cocktail World Cup

That's right kids. It's here.

See that guy on the left with the American flag draped around him like a superhero cape? Yup. His name's Mark. Last name, Stoddard. This time last year he was just like you and I, another bartender in the Denver Metro area who could put a few ingredients together and make the ladies across the bar swoon. But then Mark entered the 42Below Competition here in Denver. He did well. Really well, actually. He and his two friends in the picture went to New Zealand, rode in speed boats, bungie jumped and cocktailed their way to world domination. When Mark left Boulder's Bitter Bar to travel the globe he was just like you and I. But look at him now! He has a Flag Cape!

All kidding aside, you all know about the 42Below competition and what it can do for your career. All I'm here to do is to let you know, if your friendly 42Below rep hasn't yet, that you'd better start getting your recipes ready and entered. This year's comp is going to be fierce and at the Bluebird Theater, which is pretty freaking sweet. So belly up, read the rules here, and get yourself entered.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Battle Royale For Colorado Glory!

Here Ye, Here Ye...or something like that.

In case you've been at work all week, slinging drinks for this crazy convention that's in town, our COBG Secretary, and weekly Westword blogger extraordinaire Mr. Sean Kenyan has thrown down the gauntlet to all of us out there in the Colorado bartending world. We here at the COBG blog our pleased to announce the announcement of the contest to create THE Colorado Cocktail.

Here's them rules:

1. The base spirit (at least 1.5 oz.) must be produced in Colorado.
2. The drink has a maximum of 7 ingredients (includes garnish)
3. All ingredients must be readily available. No homemade ingredients.
4. Anyone submitting a nominee must be a bartender working in a Colorado restaurant.

Submit your cocktail recipe with preparation instructions and a few sentences on why it should be the official Colorado Cocktail to by January 1, 2011.

Then, judges will come by your restaurant and drink your cocktail, which Sean advises actually be on the menu for your patrons to enjoy as well. Then they'll narrow down the selections to a top ten and have a live contest in February, which will be one hell of a shindig, I'm sure. The winner will of course, get some prizes and the chance to rub it in all of our faces.

Check out the Westword blog for exact details here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Some Brand New Joints

This has been a busy, busy week for COBG members looking to make a name for themselves out there in this big ol world. Two very prominent establishments catering to the next level of the Denver cocktail scene opened over the past 7 days, and let me be the first to say that both are doing the state of Colorado proud.


The Main Bar of Green Russell (and yes, Kevin Burke has laser eyes)
Last Friday evening saw the grand opening of The Green Russell, Denver's first "Speakeasy-esque" establishment located in the depths of Larimer Square. Named after William Greenberry Russell — the history books credit Mr. Russell as part of a gold mining expedition that first tried mining at the confluence of Cherry Creek and the South Platte before heading further into the mountains where they found the first significant gold discovery in the Rocky Mountains in 1858 — the Green Russell bar is being tended by several of our COBG brethren and looks to be the new late night industry hotspot.

All those flavors, so little time.
They're carving ice by hand. They've got three bars. They've got a freaking grow room where they're growing fresh herbs. The pizzas are excellent and, as any Bonnano owned restaurant would, they have so much fried pig on the menu it might make you sad for swine everywhere. Plus, as you can see by their ever changing array of kick-ass cocktails, you just might be able to get yourself into some trouble exploring the drink menu.

However, whenever you make your first visit, be warned:

A) They are not screwing around with house rules (I did see one local gadabout get herself 86'ed). No cell phones. No standing at the bar. And most fart jokes. Ever.
B) When walking through the Larimer Square Pie Entrance, be wary. Once you push past the first door, head down the hall and enter the pie shop, there is an immediate step down. It is not marked. You will break your ankle.
C) Pork Belly "Pigs" In A Blanket will be your new weakness...

OAK @ Fourteenth
Boulder's Newest Digs — 1400 Pearl Street
Last night I made my way back to my old stomping grounds of Boulder to pay a visit to our illustrious COBG President's new baby — and by baby, I mean a sparkling new restaurant on the corner of 14th and Pearl Street — and was, for lack of a better simile, proud as a papa for his entire team. Drawing upon a cast of very familiar characters in the Boulder dining scene, OAK at Fourteenth was everything one would expect from both Bryan Dayton and the city of Boulder. The interior is sleek and polished,
the waiters and waitresses were young, intelligent and attractive, the drink menu is Dayton's finest work to date, and the clientele,'ve all been to Boulder.

Rock Your Face Off, Tuna.
Everything from the food menu, the cocktail presentation, staff knowledge and the over all professionalism of the management team was more than impressive for a soft opening. We've all been there: the doors are about to open, there isn't enough time to get the paintings on the wall, much less tend to the 1,200 other last minute details that come up when opening a new venture. "Did we remember toilet paper?" "Where the hell is the dishwasher?" "Why isn't that light switch working? It was working yesterday when I left!" "You locked the keys in what? How is that even possible?" But the kids at OAK never missed a beat, kissing babies and tending to tables like the polished professionals that they are.

Cheers to Dayton and Company. You have one hell of a success on your hands.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bulleit Bourbon Tasting

Last Thursday (yes, I know, I've been slacking), several COBG members rushed to Root Down for an informal, yet educational, bourbon lunch hosted by none other than Tom Bulleit himself. A welcome cocktail (featuring, of course, Bulleit Bourbon, grapefruit juice and celery bitters) was prepared by our very own Anika Zappe, as Mr. Bulleit wandered the crowd of industry professionals, shaking hands and kissing babies.

The rest of the afternoon was your typical tasting with an extraordinary lunch compiled by Justin Cucci and the rest of the excellent Root Down staffers. Following lunch was a short, yet affable presentation by Mr. Bulleit, who just might be the nicest (and genuinely humble) person in the booze industry. We tasted (the usual suspects - Maker's, Jack, Turkey...), we asked some questions, talked Tales of the Cocktail, hyped the already hyped Green Russell, and wondered aloud why Mike Henderson is no longer eating meat.

All in all, a welcome Thursday of Bourbon and Bartenders...well needed since most of us had to rush off to work the weekend prior to the end of the Q&A.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Colorado Brewmasters Guild Open House

Tuesday night saw some of Colorado's best breweries gather together throughout the Wynkoop Brewery's upstairs pool room for a four hour tour that brought out the who's-who of Colorado beer drinking...we mean..."making." Some excellent seasonal brews were showcased from from Great Divide Brewing and Left Hand as well as some other surprises from such killer Colorado breweries such as Durango Brewing Company, Steamworks, Breckenridge, Boulder Beer Company and the upstart UpSlope Brewing out of Boulder.

A highlight of the night was Breckenridge Brewery's latest canned invention, Lucky U IPA, which you might be able to see nestled into this glorious tub of beer to your right. Although distracted by the brewery's Christmas Ale, we were glad to see Lucky has been packaged and will be on its way to store shelves in the very near (end of month) future.

Some sweet-azz prizes were awarded throughout the evening and although we left before we won a coveted cycling jersey, we're sure it went to someone who isn't in the bartending business...someone who actually gets out of bed before noon for a biking trek through the foothills.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Canton's Bartender of the Year Competition Deadline Extended

This pretty much sums it up. Kids, you now have another month to go crazy over Canton.  

So get yourself to work...let's represent Colorado like the amazing bartenders we are. Submit your original recipes to Canton by December 1st, and remember, read the rules ya slacker.

Colorado Brewer's Guild Tasting Event

Join the Colorado Brewers Guild as they host an industry-only tasting event held upstairs at the Wynkoop Brewery. The Guild holds this Open House tasting party each year to make sure that we in the industry have a chance to sample the amazing beers brewed right here in Colorado. If you've got that rare Tuesday free to come play with your peers, please join us tomorrow from 4-8pm for food, brews and some interesting conversations with the state's best brewmasters.