There are things in life that just go together: peanut butter and jelly, peas and carrots, Sonny and Cher and Bert and Ernie. Recently, I was introduced to another pairing that just somehow fits; I attended the 7th Annual Whiskey + Doughnut Fest in Denver, Colorado. The maniacal evil genius that took two sinful and delightful vices and combined them into one event deserves the world domination that they are seeking.
The gutted warehouse held booths from Seagram’s to Bulleit and several dozen Colorado distillers in between. Spread between the samplings of various pours of alcohol were beautiful concoctions of sugar and alcohol infused carbs.
First, let me mention the doughnuts. I’d heard of Habit Doughnut Dispensary before this event, but on this day I would learn what the fuss was about. This Denver bakery produces some of the most beautiful products I’ve laid eyes on. You feel your clothes getting tighter just looking at them; forget about the taste, they melt in your mouth. What makes these special? Habit Doughnuts can be ordered with mini shooters of whiskey, so when you are ready you just squeeze the dropper, and your sugary high comes with a kick. I opted for the Old Fashioned shot infused sweet, and it was incredible. When you visit their bakery, the possibilities are truly endless. This takes having the hair of the dog for breakfast to a whole new meaning. Another great booth was Sugar Rush Donuts. To my diet’s dismay, they have a location very close to my work. “Bye-Bye waistline!”
The day was split into two 3-hour sessions, and with roughly 1200 attendees, it was a sold out. Armed with tickets and glasses, we set out to collect goodies, treats, swag, and drinks. I, of course, have my favorites and had to spend time visiting and sipping.
On this day, I spent some time with Laura Mellberg, the owner and Head Distiller of “Spruce Creek Spirits” out of Golden Colorado. Spruce Creek Spirits have a series of premade libations that take the guessing out of making your own cocktails. She has an Old Fashioned, High Country Rye, the ever spicy Midnight Manhattan and her New Orleans (which is a slight spin on the infamous Sazerac cocktail). Laura’s recipes are incredible and allow you just to pour and enjoy. Laura was excited to share that she’s breached the Colorado boarders and soon hitting other markets including St Louis. So keep an eye out for these spirits near you.
Another great distiller that I’ve come to know and respect “Art of the Spirits” owner and Head Distiller, Richard Paul. After five minutes with Richard, you feel like you are talking to an old friend. Richard is a mover and shaker, attending events all over the state. His Instagram page highlights his travels almost on the daily. If he’s not working with the artist that paints his beautiful labels, (mini paintings rather) he’s working on finalizing his dream of running a speakeasy in a historic part of Colorado. Someday, if I can catch him in one place long enough, I’d love to sit down in a more formal capacity and discuss the various projects he’s working on. He’s genuinely a craftsman.
In the end, the votes were cast for best whiskey and doughnut booths.
The winners are as follows:
1st Place Mystic Mountain Distillery and Dapper Donut
2nd Place Distillery 291 and Donut House
3rd Place 3 Hundred Days of Shine and Habit Doughnut Dispensary
Proceeds supported local non-profit Minds Matter of Denver to help bright students pursue higher education but lack financial or emotional support to achieve their goals.