What's up? My name is Isaiah ‘Captain Handsome’ Richardson and I've grown up in the middle of the capitol city of Denver, CO. I give a damn about fashion and I’m all about having a good time when it comes to Denver’s night life. Every weekend is different from the last and I go out of my way to try new things and meet new people. These days, Colorado is the place to be, and there’s no better time to enjoy the vibe and energy this city is becoming so rich with, both literally and figuratively.
Since my introduction to a clean, classy, and handsome drink named The Bijou (French for ‘jewel’), my curiosity for more cocktails in the same nuanced experience club bloomed. Before you knew it I was trying every Old Fashioned-esque drink any of my bartender friends could recommend and it all started at Ace Eat Serve off of 17th Ave in Uptown. For a couple years I was a weekly regular with my partner in crime, my dude, Huey (aka Hugh)!
We were young dapper lads (ha-ha) learning how to drink like proper gentleman. We came during the week a lot when there was room at the bar and our friends behind it had plenty of time to hang out with us. Stories were shared, laughs were plenty, and real problems were solved. With that being said I am here to share my experiences as a young man that knows how to ask for a drink worth ordering on the weekends, and what better place to start than at Ace?
Before I get into the cocktails, I’ll tell you that the best thing about Ace is that you have options. Of course you can sit at the bar and learn a thing or two from the folks shaking your booze or pouring your beer (the obvious choice), but you can order plenty of amazing dishes off their food menu as well. My current favorite is their Bacon Fried Rice, something relatively new compared to their classic Bao Buns which are a menu staple. In my opinion though, the Bacon Fried Rice is a much needed trendy twist on an Eastern classic. Bacon is something that I can always get behind, but throwing it in a bowl of fried rice with tomatoes, eggs, and edamame (for a little crunch) and, of course, having soy sauce and sriracha at the ready, it all comes together for a good meal.
A few moons ago when the days were long and the nights were warm I stopped in after work to see my good friend and cocktail guru Randy Layman for a drink at Ace and asked for one that came across my Facebook feed earlier that evening with a cool name.
“Randy!” I said, “I'm down to have that drink I texted you about earlier… with the floral name.”
He replied with a quick “Chrysanthemum. Got it. I think you'll really enjoy it!”
As always, I did. Chrysanthemum was as fun to drink as it was to say, definitely the type of drink a gentleman could order on a date to impress a young lady. When presented properly, everything about this drink glows with early 20th century vintage-ness. This drink was sweet, not only in flavor but in all out classiness; like the little, old church lady that would give me and my friends a few bucks after service to get some ice cream down the block. Don’t let it fool you though; it also lives on the boozier side of cocktail life with its three primary ingredients: Dry Vermouth, Benedictine, and a few dashes of Absinthe to make for a smooth yet distinct taste profile. When everything comes out, it has a white gummy bear color to it, accented with an orange peel garnish. If you’re looking for something sweet and happy with an edge, Chrysanthemum is for you.
The best thing about all these cocktails is that, in this day and age, they are more of an experience now than they ever were; every drink should be consumed with the social responsibility of wanting to appreciate the “cool” of a good cocktail.
- Isaiah 'Captain Handsome' Richardson
As our Denver lifestyle writer, Isaiah will be giving you the best recommendations on where to eat, grab a craft cocktail, and what to do around Denver for fun. He'll also be joining in on style advice from time-to-time, drawing on his experience with local fashion blog, Conceited Ego, where he works as a photographer and videographer, and local clothier Lawrence & Larimer.
Read his monthly segment, Cool & Classy, on the HC Blog.