I visited Highland Tap & Burger (@HighlandTapDen) in the Highlands neighborhood that is situated just southeast of downtown Denver and met some of the owners and to a person they were warm, gracious and generous. They’ve worked hard to put together a place that while still a casual atmosphere where people can catch a game, will also hold promise of something other than fried foods and processed meats. They also offer a wide selection of craft brews for their clients and I’m sure if I really liked beer that would mean a lot to me! As long as they keep this cocktail on the menu, I’m good. :) Thanks Juan, Katie, Kevin, Kris and Brad…your generosity and welcoming presence did not go unnoticed!
I knew from the original invitation that Highland Tap & Burger would be serving what they call the ‘Denver Donkey’ that evening. It’s a fabulous take on the Moscow Mule but with a bit more sass. The Moscow Mule became popular during the 1950’s when our country was on a vodka craze. Invented in 1941 by John G. Martin of G.F. Heublein Brothers, Inc., an East Coast spirits and food distributor, and Jack Morgan, President of Cock ‘n’ Bull Products (which produced ginger beer), the men decided one night to join two of their products with a splash of lime and the rest is history.
That Moscow attribution is simply a reflection of the notion that vodka is a Russian product. No more. The vodka used for this cocktail is Spring 44 Honey Vodka from Spring 44 Distilling, Inc (@Spring44spirits) in Loveland, CO. I had a lovely conversation with one of their owners who agreed to have a bottle of this fabulous vodka on site at the Highland Tap & Brew for me to pickup and that luck was doubled when the folks at Highland Tap & Brew gave me two of the gorgeous copper mugs they had engraved especially for this cocktail. I tried one onsite and was completely hooked. Line and sinker. I made two for this post and in something out of character, I did not share. Nope…all mine. Hic.
This cocktail was so good I would certainly advocate that you try and find a source for the Spring 44 Honey Vodka; the scent of honey when opening the bottle let me know this wasn’t just in name only. One sip and I was sold. This is honey like you’ve never tasted before aside from literally stealing a spoonful of that wildflower honey you bought at the artisan shop. Take a peek at this video on Westword about the trek the owners make to get their spring water…again, not in name only! Barring that? I would add a couple of drops of honey to the mix if using a ‘regular’ vodka. It won’t be the same though; find this vodka!