Quarantine Cocktails: 5 Colorado whiskey drinks to master while you’re working/stuck at home

Quarantine Cocktails: 5 Colorado whiskey drinks to master while you’re working/stuck at home

Mix it up with some delicious mixed drinks

VicesMarch 25, 2020 By Will Brendza

The bars are closed, concerts and festivals have been cancelled, the government is encouraging people to work from home, and the world just seems to get crazier by the day.

Of course, the upside to this whole COVID-19 pandemic is, now, happy hour starts whenever you goddamn feel like it. There’s no reason to wait until 5 if you feel like having a drink at 3. The limitations of the work place have been lifted and our [boozy] spirits liberated!

But why limit yourself to the same mixed drink you always make? Why not take advantage of this strange free time and experiment with your cocktail capabilities?

What else have you got to do anyway?

Not much, if you’re like us. That’s why, we’re initiating this series: Quarantine Cocktails. Every week, we’ll post a short list of new and unique mixed drinks and tell you how to make them.

Some of these, you’ve probably seen or tasted of before. Other’s might be totally new to you. You might not get the ratios exactly right on your first time, but hey, practice makes perfect — so keep trying until you get it exactly how your taste buds want it. Hone your bar tending skills, and when we all come out of this on the other side, you’ll be able to wow your friends when you go to parties (Remember parties? Weren’t those fun?).

This week, we’re taking a look at whiskey cocktails. Five of ‘em. And, for each, we recommend different local whiskies. Local distilleries need our help, and if we’re at home making mixed drinks, we might as well be supporting local businesses while we do it.

#1 – The Sazarac

No this isn’t the most exotic or outrageous mixed whiskey drink out there, but it’s my favorite, so we’re starting here.

Often called “America’s first cocktail” the sazarac has it’s origins in New Orleans. Invented back in 1838 in a creole apothecary, by a man named Antoine Peychaud, this drink has endured as a classy American cocktail (or coqeutier, as they used to be called back in the day).


The Process:

  1. Muddle the sugar cube in a glass with a drop or two of water.
  2. In one cocktail glass, add a few small ice cubes, the rye, a dash of Peychaud’s and Angostura bitters, and stir well.
  3. In a separate, chilled cocktail glass, put a few drops of absinthe in and swirl until the entire inside of the glass is coated. Pour off any excess of “the green fairy.”
  4. Strain the contents of glass #1 into glass #2, garnish with a twist of lemon peel, serve with a single large ice cube.

#2 – Colorado Man O’War

Named after one of the most famous race horses of all time, this Kentucky Derby favorite is a whiskey classic. But you don’t have to wait until race-day to enjoy one. Get at it in your kitchen and throw back a Man O’War from the comfort of your own quarantine!


The Process:

  1. Fill shaker with small amount of crushed ice.
  2. Add bourbon, Cointreau, sweet vermouth and lemon juice to shaker. The ratios are as follows: 1/2 bourbon, 1/4 Cointreau, 1/8 sweet vermouth, 1/8 lemon juice. Shake well.
  3. Strain into ice-filled glass. Garnish with a brandied cherry.

#3 – The Whiskey Smash

Hankering for something right between a mint julep and a whiskey sour, but can’t put your finger on the name of the cocktail? Well, the whiskey smash has you covered. Conceived by a famous bartender named Jerry Thomas in 1862, this light and flavorful cocktail is perfect for sipping on, in the springtime sunshine.


  • Tincup bourbon
  • Mint Leaves
  • Lemon
  • Simple syrup (or just plain sugar)
  • Angostrua bitters

The Process:

  1. Muddle the mint leaves (like 10-12 of them) the lemon juice and simple syrup (or sugar) in a cocktail shaker.
  2. Add Tincup bourbon, angostura bitters and shake well.
  3. Strain into a cocktail g lass, with large cube of ice. Garnish with fresh mint sprigs.

#4 – Rosemary lemon whiskey sour

The whiskey sour is a classic; a crowd pleaser that’s full of flavor and gets people feeling fiery. But, sometimes a whiskey sour is too sweet, or not sour enough (typically because bartenders will use store bought simple syrup). So, we present to you, a slightly modified and more authentic version of what you’ll usually get handed at the bar.


The Process

  1. Place fresh sprigs of rosemary on cutting board and gently tap them with back edge of knife, to release their flavor and smell.
  2. Stir the sugar and water together in a small saucer pot, ass the rosemary sprigs and cook over a low heat until sugar is dissolved (around 4-5 minutes). This will create a homemade rosemary simple syrup.
  3. Remove saucer pot form heat and allow to sit for several minutes until cool.
  4. Transfer into a jar, and place in the fridge. Allow it to completely chill (leaving it alone for anywhere from 30-minutes to 12 hours).
  5. Combine rosemary simple syrup, lemon juice and Sranahan’s into a mixer with some small ice cubes. Shake well.
  6. Pour into cocktail glass, over ice, and garnish with a fresh sprig of rosemary.

#5 – Manhattan, Colorado

No list of whiskey quarantine cocktails would be complete without a Manhattan. It’s one of the staple whiskey drinks anywhere you go. And for a good reason: they’re tasty, they’re strong and they’re classy as fuck.

You want to look like a baller when your friends are finally allowed to come over and visit your house after COVID dies off? Offer them a Colorado Manhattan.


  • Woody Creek rye
  • Orange bitters
  • Sweet vermouth
  • Angostura bitters
  • Brandied cherries

The Process:

  1. Add 2oz (or 4oz) of rye, 1oz of sweet vermouth, dash of Angostura bitters and a dash of orange bitters into a mixing glass with ice. Mix the shit out that.
  2. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  3. Garnish with one of the brandied cherries.

Cheers everyone. Enjoy your quarantine these some dank cocktails!