Clever Root Winter 2018

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Citizen Rail's Catch the Westbound cocktail features A.D. Laws Rye with Plantation Stiggins Fancy Pineapple Rum, grilled pineapple, housemade falernum, lemon, and cinnamon. 4 2 | t h e c l e v e r r o o t TRAINS AND FLAMES: Those two concepts more or less sum up the beverage program at the new contemporary restaurant Citizen Rail in Denver's vibrant, evolving Union Station neighborhood. Located in the Kimpton Hotel Born, which opened last August, Citizen Rail's focal point is its open grill, which acts as a constant source of influence for Chef Christian Graves' contemporary cuisine as well as Lead Bartender Chris Burmeister's inventive drinks. "Guests see charred, grilled, and blistered garnishes on their drinks—we even toast housemade marshmallows," Burmeister says of the grill, which uses both native hard and fruit woods. An open grill means a focus on proteins like bison filet, tomahawk steak, and bone-in grilled shortribs, and the meat is all butchered and dry-aged in house. To pay homage to nearby Union Station, one of the city's oldest landmarks, the bar menu's first page touts a passport-like stamp. Custom cocktails like the Plunder Road are named for either old train or heist films; inspired by a 1957 flick in which five men attempt to rob a gold shipment from a San Francis- co–bound U.S. Mint train, the liquid version mixes Del Maguey Vida Mezcal with cantaloupe, clarified milk, Yellow Chartreuse, citrus, and charred grape- fruit for a libation that's at once silky-smooth and smoky. (Burmeister cites it as his favorite drink on the menu by far.) Meanwhile, the Catch the West- bound—named for the 2013 documentary Catch the Westbound Train about transients who arrived in Vancouver by rail during The Great Depression— mingles A.D. Laws Rye with Plantation Stiggins Fancy Pineapple Rum, grilled pineapple, housemade falernum, lemon, and cinnamon. Other popular sips at the restaurant include the Buckshot, a variation on the Rye Buck that re- places ginger beer with a ginger cordial and a bold, pine-forward West Coast–style IPA, and the spirit- forward, Old Fashioned–esque Far from Yokohama. The latter uses sous vide–poached Suntory Toki Japanese Whisky—a category Burmeister says is trending in Denver—infused with coconut then mixed with demerara sugar, Bénédictine, and bitters. "It might sound complicated, but it's actually a very straightforward cocktail after all the prep is done," Burmeister adds. Citizen Rail's shot-and-a-beer happy hour promotion hails from some of Burmeister's personal favorite pairings: A Saison with amaro, IPA with rye, stout with Bourbon, and lager with bonded corn whiskey. The fifth combination—a glass of rosé served with a shot of mezcal that reminds Burmeis- ter of camping trips—is a bit unexpected, but somehow just works. "It's glorious and delicious," he says. "Smoky and bold next to refreshing and delicate is a no-brainer." Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is a wine, spirits, and lifestyle writer and wine educator in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website,, or on Twitter and Instagram @kmagyarics. MILE HIGH COCKTAILS Meet Me at the Station CITIZEN RAIL'S DRINKS PROGRAM IS JUST THE TICKET FOR QUIRKY COCKTAIL LOVERS by Kelly Magyarics, DWS Scotch eggs, artichokes, marrow, and smoked lamb all make appearances on the dinner menu at Citizen Rail in Denver. Citizen Rail's bar menu features both classic and creative cocktail options. ■cr PHOTOS COURTESY OF CITIZEN RAIL

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