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  • Writer's pictureEric Elkins

Ode: The Sloe Gin Fizz at Brass Tacks


“It’s like a grownup pink lemonade!” exclaimed my newly minted 21-year-old daughter last March, rapturous in her discovery. She was home from college for spring break, and though I’d done well by making sure her first real cocktail had been a Hemingway Daiquiri from Mr. Darcy’s in Seattle, I had a whole new important responsibility to help her find a fave contender in our hometown.


Her first Denver drink turned out to be the clear winner.


More than an adult lemonade, Brass Tacks’ sloe gin fizz — which was a signature draft cocktail at the now-shuttered bar we all loved so dearly — was an exercise in pure pleasure: beautifully balanced and eminently guzzleable.


I always ordered a double, served in a tall, fat, etched glass with just the right number of big cubes, a Luxardo cherry and thick lemon wedge skewered and floating on top like a prize yacht. My sweet daughter would order a single, not yet ready for the punch of the big version. They’d arrive at the bar like a reflection of us — a parent and his mini-me.


The sloe gin fizz was perfect for a sweltering summer night when you’d been wandering downtown and the back of your shirt was stuck to your spine. But it also was also an apt reward for sub-zero walks into LoDo — an oasis of hope and joy in the depths of winter’s darkest nights.


It was everything.


My daughter loved that cocktail so much — not to mention the deep kindness with which she was always treated when sitting at the bar — that when she returned for summer break, she’d amble over to Brass Tacks on her own, a solo trek ending with the prize of the perfect drink and their delectable cheeseburger (double sigh).


She loved that fucking cocktail.


So this week, while we rejoice and revel in Simone’s 22nd birthday, we put a hand to our hearts, say a silent “thank you,” and pour one out for one of Denver’s all-time best.


Brass Tacks, we hardly knew ye.

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