OFFERING TRULY ARTISANAL COCKTAILS FROM SPIRITS CRAFTED ON-SITE, THE FAMILY JONES IS THE PERFECT PLACE TO TIPPLE IN DENVER’S LOWER HIGHLANDS NEIGHBORHOOD.
Denver’s OG spirit house serves up libations to take the chill off. PHOTO BY STEPHAN WERK
COLORADO IS KNOWN for its many craft distillers, but few also boast a truly swanky cocktail lounge where you can sample their offerings in an intimate and upbeat setting. The Family Jones Spirit House (thefamilyjones.com) is just that: With a soaring ceiling, a mezzanine showcasing the custom-made copper still, a sunken bar with low seats, vintage brass chandeliers and plush royal blue velvet upholstery on the banquettes, the ambiance is both elegant and homey.
But the real draw here is the high-end cocktails featuring award-winning spirits, including Ella Jones, a bourbon released once a year in spring; Atticus Jones single-barrel rye; and Juniper Jones gin. “Because of our license, we can only sell what we make, which turns out to be a good thing,” says head distiller Rob Masters, who works on-site amid shelves lined with jars of aromatics and spices, his dog, Juniper, at his heels.
The “Boozy & Bold” section of the cocktail menu includes the Black Manhattan (rye whiskey, housemade amaro liqueur, housemade red vermouth) and the distillery’s version of a sidecar called Tales from the Crypt (Juniper Jones gin, housemade triple sec and blanc aperitif, lemon). The “Bright & Lifted” side of the menu includes a craft-made Negroni. Can’t decide? Build your own flight from the house, call and special lines—every single product in each has won at least one award.
Before the pandemic, the Spirit House was also a restaurant. Food is now limited to what Masters calls “parlor-style cocktail snacks,” including focaccia, burrata and a seasonal charcuterie board featuring local meats and cheeses. Once you’ve sampled and savored, you can purchase a bottle of any spirit to take home. On Saturdays and Sundays, The Family Jones offers behind-the-scenes tours, which include a tasting flight and small bites.