Mix it up with local holiday spirit

Mitchell Byars | Boulder Weekly




Do crowded shopping malls and piles of unwritten greeting cards have you feeling out of season? Well, maybe holiday spirits will help get you into the holiday spirit.


The folks at Altitude Spirits, a Boulder-based and family-owned company that makes organic Vodka 14, have come out with a line of seasonal cocktails for any occasion you feel like getting festive.

“We try to release recipes from time to time, especially seasonal stuff for the holidays,” says Matthew Baris, who opened Altitude Spirits along with his dad, Mitch, in 2005. “We are always looking for the best ways to use our vodka.”

To come up with their holiday cocktails, Baris went to Stan Usinowicz, a longtime mixologist and bartender who works at Hapa Sushi on Pearl Street.

“I’ve known Stan personally for quite a few years,” Baris says. “He stands out as a very exceptional mixologist. I asked him if he wouldn’t mind making us a cocktail list, and he was pleased to do so. He is just amazingly creative and amazingly innovative, and it’s been a tremendous amount of fun working with him, just sitting at the bar and trying his concoctions.

“Stan does a really nice job, despite using a number of flavors that add a lot to the drink, of not masking the vodka and allowing a flavor like vodka, which can be pretty subtle, to still shine through.”

Baris says he wanted the ingredients in the cocktails to be organic ingredients as much as possible, to go with his certified organic vodka.

“We wanted them to be seasonally appropriate and kind of make them holiday themed, but beyond that we wanted to use natural and organic ingredients whenever possible,” Baris says. “We make an organic vodka, and it’s our belief that the best cocktails use natural and fresh ingredients, so we try to use stuff that’s in season and appropriate for the season and basically use real juices, real herbs and spices, and that type of stuff, so we have the best possible flavor that’s appropriate for all-natural organic vodka.

“Those were the guidelines that Stan had to work with. Beyond that he was limited only by his creativity.”

Apres Exhale

In a shaker, mix 3 ounces of Vodka 14, 1 ounce Fu-Ki Cherry Wine, 1/2 teaspoon pomegranate molasses, and six drops Mexican vanilla extract. Shake over ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with 3 small marshmallows rolled in smoked salt (Alderwood smoked salt is suggested) and placed on the rim of the glass.

Fourteen Pomelo Fizz

Mix 2 ounces of Vodka 14, 2-3 ounces of fresh squeezed pomelo (a type of Asian citrus fruit similar to a grapefruit), 4 leaves of fresh spearmint and one pasteurized egg white and shake vigorously over ice. Strain into a highball glass (without ice) and add three drops of Peychaud’s bitters into the foam. Add sparkling water to taste and serve garnished with a skewer of pomelo peel and spearmint.

Cranberry Jubilation

Start with an ounce of fresh cranberries in a saucepan. Add 4 ounces of unfiltered apple cider and a dash of cinnamon (this recipe can be scaled up as needed and can be prepared in large batches and refrigerated). Simmer over medium heat, stirring throughout, until the cranberries split and soften.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. When ready to serve, mix 1.5 ounces of the cranberry reduction, a splash of lemon juice, a splash of orgeat syrup, and 2.5 ounces of Vodka 14 in a shaker. Shake over ice, strain into a martini glass and add 1 ounce of coconut water, stirring gently. Garnish with a skewered cranberry.

Stan’s White Monkey

Start by grating fresh ginger as finely as possible.

In a shaker, combine a pinch of the fresh ginger, 2 ounces of Vodka 14, a dash of Ceylon bark cinnamon, 2 ounces of fresh-squeezed blood orange juice, 1 tablespoon of half-and-half, and 1/2 ounce of Root Organic Liquor. Shake vigorously over ice and strain into a highball glass with very little ice or no ice at all, depending on your preference. Garnish with a wheel of blood orange, dressed in cinnamon.

For information on where to find some of these ingredients or for more cocktail recipes, visit www. vodka14.com/mixology-and-cocktail-recipes.html.

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