50 Shots of America–Colorado

Welcome to our continuing trek across the Unites States in search of fun facts and tasty cocktails. This week we’re in the Rocky Mountains, visiting Colorado!

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Imperceptible Kink

After many changes of hands and disputes over the years, the free Territory of Colorado was organized by outgoing-President Buchanan in February of 1861. Named for the Colorado River, it would more than 15 years before Colorado would officially become a state in August of 1876–100 years after we declaration our independence from British rule–with boundaries made up of latitude and longitude markings, not natural boundaries (and it’s only 1 of 3 states like this).

While gold and silver were big pulls to the Centennial State in the 1800s, more than half the Colorado population is settled in the greater-Denver area where industry and agriculture now hold sway. Denver, Aspen and Boulder are well-known foodie destinations but the natural splendor of the state’s many parks, forests, trails and refuges help keep the population fit and healthy. It’s also making a name for itself in wine–both the grape and fruit-based varieties–while maintaining the largest annual production of beer in the country.

Of course, what I first think of, when Colorado comes to mind, is John Denver. Now, granted, he’s not a native son but he was adopted as their official Poet Laureate in 1977 and his song, Rocky Mountain High, is one of the 2 state songs for Colorado. I went through a bit of a folk music phase about 10 years ago and Denver was one of my favorites. Even so, I’m still finding songs of his I didn’t know were his to begin with. If I had to narrow it down to a top 5, just off the top of my head, the list would include:

  • My Sweet Lady
  • Wild Montana Sky
  • Goodbye Again
  • A Song for All Lovers
  • Perhaps Love (with Placido Domingo)

And, oh, 5 is not nearly enough but, well, I’m digressing and there’s a cocktail to get to!

Ahem.

Earlier I mentioned that the borders of Colorado are based on lines of latitude and longitude. Apparently, though, the surveyors charged with marking the official border faced some challenges while tracing the longitudinal border with Utah resulting in “several nearly imperceptible kinks.”

Oh, that’s just too good a phrase to pass up. Hence…

The Imperceptible Kink

1 oz Sleepytime-infused Tequila*
1/2 oz Peach Nectar
1/2 oz Beer

Combine over ice and shake vigorously–not quite like crossing the Continental Divide, but close. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

*To Infuse Tequila: Heat 2 oz of Tequila until steamy and fragrant and remove from heat. Add 1 Sleepytime tea bag and steep for approximately 2 minutes. Remove the tea bag and let the mixture cool until ready to use. Tip: this smells great but don’t inhale too deeply or you’ll find yourself choking on the alcohol fumes. Not that we did that or anything…

Colorado boasts a significant Hispanic population, so we’ve got a Tequila base to represent that. I’ve had cocktails served to me with both tequila and beer, and with Coors being a Colorado company and all the microbreweries there, it seemed a natural addition. Peach is apparently one of the common fruit-based wines produced there but I was still looking for something else–something to give that hint of imperceptible kink!

Enter Celestial Seasonings, a Boulder company since 1969. I have several of their products in my tea cabinet and felt Sleepytime, with its definite floral taste and aroma, would pair perfectly with the botanical taste of tequila. The end result is a cocktail with a clean, crisp feel, a hint of peach and beer at the end and that little something else that you’re not quite sure about. That’s the infused tequila.

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Next week we’re heading a north to meet the Dakotas! Until then… Safe Sipping!

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