Holiday on the Block

Seasonal bites, libations, and holiday gift ideas from Denver's Dairy Block.

Photo by Paul Miller

Located in the heart of LoDo, Dairy Block is a vibrant new micro-district that boasts 15 shops, 19 restaurant concepts by top local chefs, seven bars, and the modern 172-room Maven Hotel. Denver’s first “activated alleyway,” the Dairy Block is also home to major public art installations and—during the holidays—decked out with festive lights.

From hand-crafted cocktails to eclectic boutiques, the Dairy Block offers a progressive journey through curated shopping, dining, and drinking destinations.

Blanchard Family Wines

Photo by Paul Miller

The award-winning Blanchard Family Wines pours a full lineup of wines as flights, by the glass, or by the bottle, including a Russian River Pinot Noir, a Dry Creek Valley Rosé and the locally bottled Blake Street Blend.

- Advertisement -

Q&A with James Blanchard, co-owner of Blanchard Family Wines

What’s a foolproof choice of wine to take to a holiday party?
Keep it versatile and dependable. A Pinot Grigio, unoaked Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or Merlot from a reputable, family-owned winery would be my choice.

What’s your go-to wine?
I tend to connect my wines to memories. It could be a visit to a winery, a bottle shared over a special dinner, or a bottle gifted by a close friend. My current favorite—in addition to my own, of course!—is Iron Horse sparkling wine. It’s the winery where I proposed to my wife and the wine I served at my wedding.

What is your favorite holiday tradition?
I think the most important thing is to create an environment where family and friends can enjoy spending time together. Over the past few years, I’ve started to see the benefits of going out to dinner or taking a trip as a family. Getting out of the house, taking away the stressors of life, and enjoying good food and good company is my new holiday tradition.

Any advice for buying wine as a gift?
This is tough, because it depends on the tastes of the recipient. Instead, give a wine tasting session that guides guests through multiple wines and offers bottles to buy. An experience is a much more memorable gift, anyway!

Blanchard Family Wines


Photo by Paul Miller

Foraged, the newest concept from chef Duy Pham, is focused on “intention-based” dishes that highlight local, seasonal ingredients. A Murray Carter Journeyman Bladesmith, Pham will forge his own Japanese carbon steel knives for use in the restaurant’s kitchen. Foraged offers omakase chef tastings at its mezzanine raw bar, two private dining rooms, and a large bar-lounge area.

✦ 2 oz. Knob Creek Bourbon
✦ 0.75 oz. Sweet Vermouth
✦ 0.75 oz. Campari

Build in a mixing glass. Stir all ingredients. Strain into a rocks glass and garnish with orange zest.



Photo by Paul Miller

Bruto, the sister restaurant of The Wolf’s Tailor, is Kelly Whitaker’s newest counter-service love note to Denver—a space focused on using house-milled, heritage grains to elevate its menu of fresh bread, oysters, seafood, and more.

Cured Salmon
✦ 2 ½ cups kosher salt
✦ ¼ cup sugar
✦¼ cup black peppercorn
✦ 1-2 garlic cloves
✦ 1 bunch of thyme
✦ ⅛ cup juniper berry
✦ 2 lbs. of salmon

Blend ½ cup of kosher salt, peppercorn, garlic, thyme, and juniper berry in a food processor. In a bowl, combine with remaining sugar and salt. Rub the mixture on salmon and cover for 2 days. Rinse off and let dry for one day. Plated here with crème fraîche, Colorado Quinoa, summer fruit preserves, and apples both fresh and dehydrated.

Haute Toddy
✦ 1 oz. brandy
✦ ½ oz. Amaro Averna
✦ ½ oz. Demerara simple syrup (or substitute honey or raw sugar)
✦ ¼ oz. lemon juice
✦ 1 dash Angostura bitters
✦ 3 dashes cardamom bitters

Combine all ingredients in a warmed mug. Add hot water and finish with a lemon twist.


Denver Milk Market

Photo by Paul Miller

Q&A with Frank Bonanno, creator of Denver Milk Market

What is your favorite family holiday tradition?
We have lots of great traditions—playing Uno or Bowl of Nouns at the dining room table, watching classic movies like It’s A Wonderful Life and Die Hard. I like to keep the windows open while it’s snowing outside so I have every excuse to hug my sons extra close.

What appetizers do you like to serve at holiday parties?
I like trays of fresh cheese and salami with nice crusty baguettes, so people can nibble from the moment they walk in. I think it’s nice to have small bites like pork belly pigs in a blanket and warm mozzarella balls.

Any tips for avoiding holiday stress in the kitchen?
Everything doesn’t have to come out at once, and it doesn’t have to be piping hot. Side dishes taste best barely warm, so relax and enjoy some wine, friends, and all the amazing smells you’re creating.

What cocktails will you be pouring at home this season?
I like eggnog from scratch with a good dusting of nutmeg (and bourbon, if you’re imbibing), but that’s a once-a-season drink for me—super flavorful, but too rich to have all the time. Warming drinks always tempt me in the winter—a hot toddy or a steamy cold buster with whiskey, ginger, and lemon.

Albina’s Crab Cakes
✦ 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
✦ ½ cup mayonnaise
✦ 2 Tbsp. Old Bay
✦ 1 Tbsp. salt
✦ 1 Tbsp. pepper
✦ ½ cup celery, diced
✦ ½ cup red onion, diced
✦ ½ cup red bell pepper, diced
✦ 2 cups bread crumbs
✦ 6 oz. lump crab
✦ 2 Tbsp. olive oil

In a large bowl, combine lemon juice, mayonnaise, Old Bay, salt, and pepper. Mix in celery, red onion, bell pepper, and bread crumbs. Fold in crab and form into 10 patties. Coat a large skillet over medium-high heat with oil. Sear patties on each side until golden brown (about 3-5 minutes). Serve with lemon.

MOO Bar Winter Cocktail
✦ 2 oz. Skyy Vanilla Vodka
✦ ¾ oz. peppermint simple syrup
✦ ¾ oz. half and half
✦ ¼ cup sugar, sifted with 2 drops of red food coloring

Garnish martini glass rim with red sugar. In a cocktail shaker, add all ingredients and shake for 10 seconds. Pour into glass and serve.

Denver Milk Market

Run For The Roses

Photo by Paul Miller

Q&A Holiday Cocktails with Run for the Roses owner Steven Waters

What is a unique cocktail you’ll serve this December?
I like serving variations of well-known classics, creating unexpected cocktails from familiar ingredients. I might serve a Greenpoint cocktail to a Manhattan drinker, or a prohibition- era Last Word to gin lovers.

What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Growing up, I always loved my grandmother’s monkey bread. No holiday gathering was complete without it.

What liquors should everyone keep stocked in their cabinet?
Always have a few popular liquors, a few liquors you like, and a few items that you can make a variety of cocktails with. Whiskey, rye, gin, tequila or mezcal, and a vodka are at the core of these. Always keep a couple of nicer spirit bottles around in reserve for when you really want to splurge. My go-to is a great aged rum or mezcal.

What is the most popular cocktail served at Run for the Roses?
It changes based on the season, but our Old Fashioned is always at the top of the list. Right now we are using Angostura bitters, Demerara syrup and Sazerac Rye whiskey.

Tips on how to host a festive holiday cocktail party?
The key is to make people feel welcome and like they are at home. It helps to have some small easy games to play in groups, or something that can collectively tie people together.

Foie Gras Hot Dog
✦ 850 g. foie gras
✦ 23 g. salt
✦ 3 g. pink curing salt
✦ 3 g. sugar
✦ 3 g. finely ground white pepper
✦ 12 g. fino sherry
✦ 8 g. brandy

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients with a spatula until fully incorporated. On mini hot dog buns, add foie gras mixure and top with citrus marmalade or maraschino cherry juice. Finish with a sprinkle of salt.

✦ ½ oz. Amer Picon (London import)
✦ ¼ oz. 1950s vintage Luxardo Maraschino
✦ 1 oz. Cocchi Barolo Chinato vermouth
✦ 1 ½ oz. Willett 4 Year Rye Whiskey

Stir all with ice and strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with an orange twist or maraschino cherries, if desired. *For an easy at-home version of this cocktail, substitute the above with ½ oz. Golden Moon Amer Picon, ¼ oz. Luxardo Maraschino, 1 oz. Cocchi di Torino sweet vermouth, and 1 ½ oz. rye whiskey (Knob Creek, Wild Turkey, and Old Overholt work well).

Run For The Roses

Kachina Cantina

Photo by Paul Miller

Inspired by the cuisine of the Four Corners region and Baja California, Kachina Cantina serves creative interpretations of Southwestern and Mexican dishes like shrimp ceviche, green chile stew, and Navajo fry bread.

Apple Spiced Margarita
✦ 1 ½ oz. Sauza tequila
✦ ¾ oz. lime juice
✦ ¼ oz. agave nectar
✦ 1 ½ oz. Journeyman
✦ Old Country Goodness Apple Cider Liqueur

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake for 10 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass with a rim coated in cinnamon sugar. Garnish with an apple slice.

“In Mexico, we have a large range of tamales—all of them different and unique, savory and sweet, made with meat and without.” —Chef Cesar Tamariz

Kachina Cantina

Seven Grand

Photo by Paul Miller

A dedicated whiskey bar with more than 700 different bottles to choose from, Seven Grand is one of the city’s best options for fans of the beloved spirit.

✦ 1 ¾ oz. rye whiskey
✦ 1 sugar cube
✦ Peychaud’s bitters
✦ Absinthe (for rinse)

Add sugar cube and 4 dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters to a mixing glass. Muddle, add ice and rye whiskey, and stir. Add 4 spritzes of absinthe to a chilled Sazerac glass. Strain cocktail into glass and express one lemon twist for garnish.

Seven Grand

Poka Lola Social Club

Photo by Paul Miller

With its nostalgic soda fountain vibe, this “everyman’s cocktail bar” is the perfect spot for a casual, friendly drink before a night out.

Dairy Block Punch No. 4
✦ ¾ oz. Maison Rouge Cognac VSOP
✦ ¼ oz. Wray & Nephew rum
✦ ¼ oz. Beefeater gin
✦ ⅗ oz. Noval Black Port
✦ ¼ oz. St. Germain
✦ 0.3 oz. lemon juice
✦ 1 oz. Earl Grey tea
✦ ⅗ oz. milk

Combine first seven ingredients in large heatresistant container. Heat milk in a pan until it begins to boil, then pour in with other ingredients. Wait until milk solids have separated completely, about 30 minutes. Strain 3 times through a fine mesh strainer. Serve 3 ½ oz. over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a dehydrated lemon slice.

Strawberries en Regalia
✦ 1 ½ oz. Lola Mix (2:1:1 coconut milk, pineapple juice, sugar)
✦ ½ oz. strawberry cold syrup
✦ ½ oz. lime juice

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and and shake for 10 seconds. Pour over ice in fountain glass and top with soda. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Poka Lola Social Club

Huckleberry Roasters

Photo by Paul Miller

This cozy java joint works with small farms and co-ops to create its products, offering obsessively crafted beverages and a coffee subscription for more serious sippers.

Glam up your hot cocoa with these tips from Huckleberry Roasters
✦ Top with festive marshmallows or sprinkles to give it a pop of color!
✦ Add a few drops of vanilla, peppermint, or orange extract to give it a festive flavor.
✦ Pick up a tasty holiday treat from a local bakery like Rebel Bread to go with it.

Huckleberry Roasters