1. Bacon Jam on Brie Bruschetta

Courtesy of Juli y Juan’s Kitchen, Fort Collins

2/3 cup lb. bacon (good quality)
1/2 medium white onion
2 garlic cloves
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
4 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. honey
1/2 cup espresso (medium roast)

Bruschetta ingredients:
2 pcs baguette (around 12 inch)
2 pears
1/2 lb. Brie
2 tbsp. butter
3 thyme twigs

Chop bacon in small cubes (size of a corn kernel) and finely dice onion. Chop garlic. Make espresso.

Cook bacon in nonstick pan at medium-high heat, stirring occasionally until crispy. Set bacon aside and drain, leaving about a spoon of bacon fat in pan. Cook onion and garlic on medium heat until onion is soft and translucent; stir occasionally to avoid garlic burning.

Add remaining ingredients except bacon, heat to boil until it thickens lightly. Stir constantly to avoid sticking to pan. Taste occasionally, looking for even taste of honey, coffee and vinegar. Add bacon and let it set until it resembles jam consistency. Let jam cool, store in refrigerator in airtight container.

Slice bread (1/2 inch), smear butter, add brie (½ inch slice), top with 1 tbsp. of bacon jam. Bake at 350 degrees for 4-5 min. Set on platter, drizzle thyme leafs, and enjoy.

2. Spiced Orchard

Courtesy of Jay’s Bistro, Fort Collins

1 orange section muddled with a splash of lemon juice
2 oz. Leopold Brother’s New York Apple Whiskey
Stir with ice
Top with 1 oz. ginger beer
2 shakes Angostura Bitters
Garnish with cinnamon stick

3. Honey Blackberry Caipirinha

Courtesy of Rodizio Grill, Fort Collins

5 lime wedges (one for garnish)
4 blackberries (one for garnish)
1.25 oz. honey
1.5 oz. cachaça

In mixing glass, muddle 4 lime wedges with 3 blackberries and honey. Add cachaça and ice, and shake vigorously for 20 seconds. Strain over fresh ice. Garnish with lime wedge and blackberry.

4. Midnight in Stockholm

Courtesy of Union Bar and Soda Fountain, Fort Collins

1 ½ oz. Spring44 Vodka
3/4 oz. St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram
2 dashes Fee Brother’s Old Fashion Bitters
2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters
Splash of Turbinado Syrup
½ oz. Fonseca Bin No. 27 Port

Add all ingredients into mixing glass
and stir with ice. Strain into Coupe glass. Add ½ oz. Fonseca Bin No. 27 Port float
on top. Garnish with orange peel and
amarena cherry.

5. The Chimney Sweep

Courtesy of Chimney Park, Windsor

1/4 tsp chocolate sugar
1 cube Demerara brown cane sugar
4 dashes Bittermans Xocolatl
Mole Bitters
2 oz. Whistle Pig Ten Year Straight Rye Whiskey
3/4 oz. Matthiasson Napa Valley Sweet Vermouth NV
Fresh orange peel

To prepare glass: Rinse large brandy snifter with Talisker Storm Scotch Whisky, pour out. Place glass upside-down over large ice cube or ice ball. Infuse glass with  light smoke from alder wood and locally blended chai tea. Keep smoke captured in glass while cocktail is prepared, allowing adequate time for smoke to cool.

To prepare drink: Place chocolate and Demerara sugars in mixing glass. Add Xocolatl Mole Bitters. Muddle sugar and bitter mix until sugar is finely ground down. Add rye and sweet vermouth to mixing glass. Add one scoop of ice and vigorously stir, alternating between stirring clockwise and counter-clockwise until ice dissolves. Uncover snifter and pour immediately, allowing majority of smoke to remain in glass. This cocktail may be served neat or poured over the single cube used in the smoking process.