The Denver Gentleman, a simple pleasure

(Liza Weisstuch for The Boston Globe)

There’s a reason that we crave mac ’n cheese and chocolate chip cookies in tumultuous times. When things feel out of control, we need food and drink that remind us of the profound comfort of simplicity. The Denver Gentleman is the kind of drink that serves as a needed reminder that easier days will come. The drink was created by Jake Norris, a distillery consultant I first met years ago at a craft spirits conference. While working as distiller at Stranahan’s Colorado Whiskey in Denver in 2004, Norris was part of creating the first legal whiskey ever made in the state. The art of distillation is the art of paring down, of simplifying, and he applies that same mind-set to his cocktails, too. The Denver Gentleman — a refreshing mix of peppery rye whiskey, bitter, zingy Campari, and soda water — is essentially a scaled down Boulevardier (whiskey, Campari, vermouth) delivered highball-style. The effervescence gives it a dynamism and harmonizes the flavors, creating a sum greater than its parts. A bright citrus sweetness emerges and the orange peel ignites it. It’s a consummate example of the beauty and vitality of simplicity, all the better appreciated as chaos whirls around us.

Liza Weisstuch



Makes 1 drink

¾ ounce rye whiskey

¼ ounce Campari

Soda water, to top

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

1 orange peel, to garnish

1. Build in a Collins glass over ice, pouring rye whiskey, then Campari.

2. Fill with soda water.

3. Top with two dashes of Angostura, ideally from an atomizer.

Adapted from Jake Norris

Liza Weisstuch can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @livingtheproof.