Left to right: Jacob Pfund and Alejandro Sanchez of the Axe & the Oak whiskey house, Montana Horsfall from Distillery 291

An energetic crowd came out on Monday night to celebrate the Prohibition Party at The Principal’s Office inside Ivywild School with a cocktail mix-off.  Prohibition ended on Dec. 5, 1933. Eighty years later, we clearly still think it’s a great idea to let the juice flow freely.

Lee Spirits Co., Axe & the Oak, Distillery 291 and The Principal’s Office all competed at the mix-off with tip proceeds donated to the bartender’s charity of choice.

Top left: The Principals Office, smoked pecan Fernet hot chocolate; top right: Distillery 291, Ward 8; bottom left: The Axe & the Oak whiskey house; Fennel infused bourbon, bottom right: Lee Spirits Co. Tom & Jerry Punch (Image courtesy of Darcie Nolan)

We caught up with each competitor for their choice cocktail to celebrate the anniversary of an end to the alcoholic dark ages.

The Principal’s Officem ade a smoked pecan Fernet hot chocolate.  “I made a smoked pecan syrup, made my own ganache and then threw it together with Fernet-Branca,” says home team bartender Jared Boyer.  “Fernet is an Italian amaro, a bitter Italian liqueur.  So I mixed that with the smoked pecan, ganache, heavy cream and some milk.  And then I made a whipped cream out of homemade chai vanilla syrup and Fernet as well. ”

We caught up with Ian Lee, co-owner of Lee Spirits Co., and Brooklyn’s on Boulder bartender Erika Mullett dishing out some specialty punch.

“The Lee Spirits cocktail that we’re serving is called Tom and Jerry Punch,” says Lee.  “It’s a punch that originated in the late 1800s. It’s like a sugar cookie mixed with booze.  In the late 1800s they had all this access to gin and what they were doing was mixing it with all different kinds of batters. Tom, who was this incredible bartender in New York, the upper echelons of New York, would only serve this wonderful sugar cookie punch, essentially, when it snowed.  So in his bar, you could only come in and get this drink when it would be below 32 degrees.  So tonight we’re sharing it just to let everyone experience it.  At Brooklyn’s on Boulder Street for Lee Spirits, we only serve it when there’s snow is on the ground. ”

Creamy like eggnog, but with some of Lee Spirits’ spicy gin, it offered an unexpected, very subtle layer of caliente on the finish.

The Axe & the Oak crew, Alejandro Sanchez and Jacob Pfund, just had to walk upstairs from the resident whiskey house to show off their “fennel infused bourbon,” says Pfund. “We did a house made benedictine and it has a tamarind and honey syrup with it.”

After party downstairs at the Axe & the Oak whiskey house

But it was Montana Horsfall of Distillery 291 who took home the win. She did a riff on an old favorite and is donating her victory loot to TESSA of Colorado Springs.

Montana’s winning cocktail

“This is called the Twist on the Ward 8,” says Horsfall.  “The Ward 8 is a very popular prohibition cocktail that I put a twist on because we have really phenomenal whiskey.  It’s got a little bit of O.J., little bit of pomegranate juice, a tiny touch of my secret, which is a little bit of maple syrup;a  little bit of the other secret which is The Decc, our citrus clove liquor. And of course, we have the Colorado whiskey, that won in London March 18th. ”


Punch bowl says communal

[Images: Dionne Roberts]