Highland Tap and Burger Is More Than Just Beer

Classic cocktails with a twist

When the Highland Tap and Burger opened three years ago, the concept was simple: Delicious burgers served with the best craft beer the owners could find. But over the years, HTB has been evolving with a finely crafted cocktail menu that imbibers of craft spirits can enjoy alongside their beer lovin’ brethren. DrinkDenver stopped by to investigate.

Alex Glueck is HTB’s bar manager and he and his staff have been working hard to make the cocktail menu rival the beer menu in taste and uniqueness.
“We’ve worked hard to train on bartending and how to properly mix and balance drinks,” says Glueck “Learning the right mixes and when to stir vs. shake.” He says recently the bar has changed from primarily a place for crafts on draft, to a bar that offers a diverse mix of beer and cocktails. There is also a focus on Colorado spirits like Spring 44, Leopold Bros. and Stranahan’s. What's more, the staff makes the bar’s juices, mixes and syrups in house.
A lot of the restaurant’s current cocktail menu features twists on the classics, such as the Black Manhattan, Denver Donkey (Moscow Mule), and Bulleit Rye Sour. The Coin Style Margarita is HTB’s version of the classic drink and it is not what most people think when ordering a margarita. HTB’s marg is poured over ice, not blended, and uses house made simple syrup instead of a store-bought sour mix. Glueck says it is one of his most popular drinks.
The Tom Foolery is also a popular cocktail. The drink was actually part of the restaurant’s summer menu, but regulars liked it so much, it stayed on the fall menu. The cocktail is made from Spring 44’s Old Tom Gin, St. Germaine and lavender simple syrup. Served with a floating lemon wheel topped with lavender, this tasty treat can be enjoyed on the outdoor patio or at the bar. Glueck says the patio is always open when the weather cooperates.
The Mile High Tea Party uses Spring 44 Straight Whiskey, lavender simple syrup, black ice tea and Angostura bitters. Glueck figured since he already had the lavender simple syrup, he could find something else to use it in. In the Mile High Tea Party the sweetness of the lavender blends well with the slight bitterness of the tea. Since it is a tea drink, the garnish is a lemon and if you squeeze the lemon into the drink, it actually adds to the complexity. Glueck says he wants the cocktail menu to keep up with complexity of the food and beer menu.
Happy hour at Highland Tap and Burger is Monday through Friday from 3-6:30 PM and every night from 11 PM to close. During happy hour, $5 beers are only $3, bottles of house wine are half off and cocktails run $5 cocktails. As mentioned before, if the sun is out and the temp is above freezing, patrons are welcome to enjoy the afternoon on the front patio (2219 W. 32nd Ave.; 720-287-4493).

Tags: Beer, Cocktails, Food, Outdoor Seating, Spirits, Wine
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