If you haven’t checked out the massive, 10,000 square foot kid-friendly and dog-friendly patio attached to Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse Tasting Room, you should probably stop whatever you’re doing and head on over. It’s arguably the best patio in all of Denver, and the entire space indoors and out has the feel of a compact, delightful campus.
Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse has a strong fan base, and the space has long been a popular gathering place. Not surprisingly, in 2021 the crafthouse won Westword’s Best of Denver® Readers’ Choice award for Best Distillery Taproom. The small crafthouse has become known for its amazing cocktails.
After soaking up some of Denver’s legendary sunlight, pop into The Reserve, a private cocktail bar located within the tasting room itself. Newly open since January, The Reserve serves some of the best and most creative cocktails in all of Denver. The intimate room features Ironton’s own house-distilled, award-winning spirits in thoughtfully crafted cocktails reminiscent of those served in classic post-Prohibition lounges.
“The distillery has been open a little more than five years, and the tasting room has been open for about three and a half years,” says bar manager John Richards, who joined the Ironton team in April 2021. “The Reserve is our newest addition, and it gives us the opportunity to focus on designing a handful of appealing, elevated cocktails for aficionados. It’s a cozy retreat with plenty of room for creativity and collaboration.”
Ironton’s spirits include whiskey, rye, aquavit, rum, absinthe, and genièvre gin. The cocktail menu at The Reserve includes exclusive spirit-forward cocktails that don’t appear on the tasting room menu, including limited edition liqueurs and spirit infusions. As an added bonus, you can talk with your bartender and learn about how they came up with the drinks they’ve specially crafted.
Signature cocktails at The Reserve include the Barrel Aged Negroni, made from Ironton Olde Alchemist barrel-aged genièvre gin, Ironton amaro liqueur, and sweet vermouth. Nordic Myth is a perfect winter-into-spring cocktail made with Ironton rye whiskey, Ironton Nordic Gold barrel-aged aquavit, Ironton amaro liqueur, Ironton herbal bitters, and rosemary honey.
Other standouts include Red Mountain Vein, made from Ironton aquavit, Ironton limited edition tart cherry liqueur, elderflower liqueur, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and honey syrup, as well as the RiNo Royal Flip, made from Ironton Colorado bourbon, Ironton walnut bitters, Earl Grey tea, Meyer lemon juice, winter spice syrup, egg white, and brûléed sugar.
“Our bartenders are true craftspersons who appreciate the freedom and flexibility to experiment,” John says. “We listen to the feedback we receive from our guests and use it to help guide and evolve our curated cocktail offerings. At the end of the day, we’re most excited about giving people an exceptional experience.”
The Reserve also offers a couple charcuterie boards that include housemade meats, local artisanal cheeses, local herb-infused honey, and other accompaniments (the tasting room has a broader menu that includes a great selection of local beer and wine, along with starters, salads, and wood-fired pizza.)
Fun fact: The crafthouse is named after Ironton, a former mining town in southwest Colorado, situated on a stretch of the Million Dollar Highway between the high mountain towns of Silverton and Ouray. It’s also named after the 1881 “Ironton Addition” of Denver, which is part of RiNo today.
What’s clear is that Ironton was born out of the adventurous heritage and spirit of Colorado. Their elegant cocktails capture their love for Colorado, passion for exploration, and commitment to craftsmanship. Visit The Reserve, the crafthouse, and that stunner of an outdoor patio to get a taste of that spirit for yourself–and perhaps a little creative inspiration.
The Reserve is located in Ironton Distillery & Crafthouse at 3636 Chestnut Pl. and is open Thursday-Saturday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. With only a handful of seats, reservations are strongly encouraged. The secluded space can also be rented out for special occasions and small corporate gatherings. Call 720-532-0937, ext. 2, for reservations. For more information, visit irontondistillery.com/thereserve.
Swansea resident Carolyn Daughters runs CarolynDaughters.com, a woman-owned business that offers online marketing and writing courses and corporate brand strategy workshops. She also teaches persuasive writing for corporations, the Pentagon, and Air Force bases nationwide. She has a M.A. in Literature from the University of Virginia. You can contact her at email@example.com