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Bottles Rock It

Innovative bars carbonate and cap their own cocktails

Author Laura Kiniry

Randy Layman, bar manager of the Denver, Colo., watering hole Ace

EASE OF DRINKING is an underrated cocktail quality. Bar-goers who avoid slosh-prone champagne coupes for the benefit of their pants (and dignity) might be persuaded to try ethereal gin and whiskey drinks if they came in, say, beer bottles. That’s part of the appeal of a new trend: bars buying carbonation and bottling machines, adding fizz and sealing up cocktails in-house.

Ace in Denver, Colo., takes that easy-drinking concept a step further by stashing a mix of whiskey, Mekhong (a spicy-sweet Thai spirit) and oolong tea in a liter bottle that serves up to six. “Instead of just doing a one-and-done, carbonated drinks can be the type of beverage you share with friends,” says bar manager Randy Layman. Buy one for the table and it’s as if you’re at the house party of a cocktail aficionado with a degree in engineering.

Adding effervescence on-site also makes for more bracing, more fragrant cocktails that are less diluted than those mixed with soda. “It helps add freshness,” says Kevin Diedrich, bartender at Jasper’s Corner Tap & Kitchen in San Francisco, who created a carbonated and bottled blend of house-distilled bourbon, Applejack brandy, Spanish liqueur and a touch of maple syrup. “And really, who doesn’t like bubbles?”

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