Spring 44 Launches Product in Denver at Euclid Hall

On Tuesday, June 19th, Spring 44 (one of Sean Kenyon’s consulting projects) launched in the Denver market at Euclid Hall.

And I’ll admit, I was apprehensive.  Last time Euclid Hall launched a product, it was American Harvest.  And at the Harvest launch, it felt like the old Martini Ranch has resurrected itself–complete with the skinny tube-top product girls, the jacket-and-tie polished combo on the gentlemen, and a Bronco was in the house (Denver Broncos’ Brandon Lloyd).  The product wasn’t represented as well in the drinks and food pairings.  Sure, Chef Jorel did a great job with the shrimp, oysters, foie gras and strawberries, and other amazing foods that paraded out of the kitchen, but the cocktails couldn’t keep up.  It seemed the spirit didn’t work well into the cocktails, whether it was a matter of dilution, ice, or just overall output volume, but every last third of the drink was purely saturated with booze.

This time around, Euclid Hall nailed it.  And Spring44 nailed it.  What began as a discreet, slick product positioning (Google didn’t share much) resulted in a great presentation of the cocktails.

Maybe it was seeing talented startenders rocking the room.  
Along with Sean Kenyon (now Euclid Hall), he’d brought in Bryan Dayton (Oak at Fourteenth), Mark Stoddard (Happy/The Bitter Bar), Alex Parks (The Green Russell), and Ryan Conklin (Euclid Hall, certified cicerone).   If these moguls in the industry had confidence in the product (or their willingness to be associated with), then maybe we’ve got a quality product coming to market.

Maybe it was the spirit.  
Spring44 touts itself as the “only American-made ultra premium handcrafted spirits” with an artesian water source in the Rocky Mountains at 9,044 feet.  Because of this pure source, combined with their American-grown multi-grain blend of wheat, corn and rye and a virgin coconut husk carbon filtration system, Spring44 is proud of their product.  Is it a worthy subject to join the ranks of Leopold Bros Gin/Silver Tree Vodka, Peak Spirits‘ CapRock Gin/Vodka, Peach Street’s Jackelope Gin/Goat Vodka, et al? Possibly. It appeared to be a good base spirit with no off-flavors.  The branding is slick, sexy, and yet approachable.  And I respect Jeff and Russ, founders of Spring44, for their efforts to bring the product to the market, but they will never rival my crush for Todd Leopold.  It’s a well-placed, branded product in the hands of some very talented bartenders.  And it’s a decent spirit.

Maybe it was the cocktail and food presentation.  
The food pairings really made the cocktails (recipes below) as they were done in a succession of rounds: first the cocktail and then the pairing food items.  It beat the frantic feelings of 1) feeling pressured to move onto the next cocktail; 2) having awkward pairings with a cocktail and; 3) being “one-upped.”  It felt more intimate to share the same drink, the same food without the “one up-manship.”  Kudos, Spring44.  The first round kicked off with Summer in the City, paired with PEI cove oysters on the half shell.  To my surprise, I enjoyed this vodka cocktail.  It was refreshing, light in consistency and lofty in texture, and it went down a bit too easily.

Next, the Buckhorn Mule was served with seared diver scallops topped with nectarine coulis and lemon.  The third round was the Divide 44, a combination of honey vodka and Grand Marnier.  This honey cocktail was a bit sweet, but with the pairing of Chips and Dip (a combination of lemon goat cheese dip, oolong tea smoked duck on Kennebec chips) the cocktail just worked perfectly.  Similarly, we weren’t overly impressed with the Blackberry Sage Gin Smash cocktail as itself, until we sampled it with the Muscovy foie torchon.  The Smoky Mountain was a hit; the habanero leveraged the smoky mezcal in the cocktail and was just plain, ol’ delicious.  It didn’t hurt to have Euclid Hall’s signature sausage-and-mustard pairings to circle the room.  My favorite cocktail of the night was the South Park Cocktail and I’m planning to order it next time I’m in Euclid.  It had my favorites: gin, (yellow) chartreuse, bitters, and mint.  Combined with lemon, agave nectar, and a smart name and you have yourself a cocktail.

But really, Spring44’s successful launch was an all-the-above factor (missing only yours and the rest of Denver’s reception).  It was a well-executive event with a great product, great bartending talent, great food, and best of all: great company.  After all, it’s about context.

Cheers.

Here’s a list of the cocktail recipes featured at the Product Launch:

Spring44 Vodka Cocktails

Summer in the City
A perfect marriage of fruit and spice, this cocktail evokes the feeling of the perfect beach day.

  • 2oz Spring44 Vodka
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 2 1 inch squares of fresh pineapple
  • ½ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ oz agave nectar
  • 2 dashes angostura bitters
  • 2oz soda

Crush cardamom pods in a mixing glass. Add pineapple and muddle. Add Spring44 vodka, lemon juice and angostura bitters. Double strain over fresh ice into a collins glass. Top with soda. Garnish with pineapple slice.

The Buckhorn Mule
A delicious summer twist on the classic Moscow mule. The strawberries and ginger beer are a perfect match, while the cucumber provides a welcome cooling effect on a hot summer day.

  • 1 ½ oz Spring44 Vodka
  • 1 med strawberry
  • 1 slice cucumber
  • 3oz ginger beer
  • ½ oz fresh lime juice

In a collins glass, muddle cucumber and strawberry. Add Spring44 Vodka, lemon juice and top with ginger beer. Gently stir to mix. Garnish with a cucumber slice.

Spring 44 Honey Vodka Cocktails

Divine 44
The natural honey flavor of Spring44 Honey Vodka is complemented perfectly with a touch of orange liqueur and the added spice of Angostura bitters. This cocktail provides the richness of a Manhattan while maintaining the lighter mouth feel of a martini.

  • 2 ½ oz Spring 44 Honey Vodka
  • ½ oz Grand Marnier
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Express Orange zest over the cocktail. Garnish.

Rocky Mountain Spritz
A classic spritz made dazzling with the pairing of honey and lavender. This is a perfect patio drink.

  • 1 ½ oz Spring44 Honey Vodka
  • ½ oz Creme Yvette
  • 2oz sparkling wine
  • 1oz soda

Build in a large balloon glass.

Spring44 Gin Cocktails

Blackberry Sage Gin Smash
Spring44 Gin provides amazing depth to this fruit forward cocktail. The fresh sage delivers a nice dry finish.

  • 2oz Spring44 Gin
  • 3 blackberries
  • 4 sage leaves
  • ½ oz fresh lemon juice
  • ½ oz raw sugar simple syrup

Muddle blackberries in the bottom of a mixing glass with lemon juice and simple syrup. Add torn sage and Spring44 Gin. Shake and strain over fresh ice into an old fashioned glass. Garnish with a blackberry and sage leaf.

The South Park Cocktail
Inspired by the classic Southside cocktail, Spring44 Gin is the star of this citrus cocktail, while the herbacious Chartrueuse and cooling mint are an excellent supporting cast.

  • 1 ½ oz Spring44 Gin
  • ½ oz Yellow Chartreuse
  • ¾ oz fresh Lemon Juice
  • ¼ oz agave nectar
  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 8 mint leaves

Shake all ingredients with ice, double strain into a chilled coupe, garnish with a mint sprig.

 

Here is the official press release of Spring 44:

Denver, CO – Spring44 has announced the official launch of its highly anticipated ultra premium Spring44 Vodka, Spring44 Honey Vodka and Spring44 Gin. The introduction marks a new benchmark for American spirits, offering an upscale, sophisticated and socially responsible brand to a marketplace that has traditionally been dominated by imports.

Spring44 Vodka, Honey Vodka and Gin are produced with Colorado Rocky Mountain artesian water from a source at 9,044 feet. Empirically tested as some of the finest water on earth, the spring that provides the company and its products with its name, allows Spring44 to maintain the highest level of quality.

Spring44 Spirits are 5x distilled exclusively with Spring44 water from a unique American grown multi-grain blend of wheat, corn and rye. Spring44 uses a virgin coconut husk carbon filtration system. This natural filter helps ensure the smoothest and purest product possible. Spring44 Gin is produced with a propriety blend of 12 all natural botanicals, creating a magical, harmonious blend of spirit and experience.

“We wanted to bring a superior and distinctive American-made product to the consumer that delivers a great taste, an ultra smooth finish, and that is socially responsible,” said Spring44 Chief Marketing Officer, Russ Wall.
Spring 44 Vodka delivers amazing clarity with a slightly sweet aroma. This nicely dry vodka has a velvety texture, long finish and rye spiciness. The golden color Spring44 Honey Vodka delivers a light honey sweetness with hints of lavender, vanilla, toasted nuts and honey straight from the honeycomb. Impeccably clear, Spring44 Gin is delightfully citrus on the front palate.  The mid palate showcases juniper with hints of cinnamon and green tea, finishing nicely dry with distinct notes of jasmine and lavender.  The iconic packaging features a tall, stylish bottle with a unique bold print logo front and center. The Spring44 Vodka is denoted by a snowflake, the Spring44 Honey Vodka by a bee, and the Spring44 Gin by a juniper berry. Each bottle is fitted with a black cap and cork top. Spring44 Spirits will initially be available for purchase in New York and Colorado.

About Spring44 Spirits Spring44 Vodka, Honey Vodka and Gin are the only American-made ultra premium handcrafted spirits made with Colorado Rocky Mountain artesian water from a source at 9,044 feet. Using some of the finest water on earth as its base ingredient, Spring44 Spirits maintain the highest level of quality by 5x distilling from a unique American grown multi-grain blend of wheat, corn and rye and a virgin coconut husk carbon filtration system. This coupled with a unique formulation from 12 natural botanicals (many indigenous to Colorado), allows for a magical, harmonious blend of spirit and experience. Elevate Your Experience, Join Us At The Source. The Superior Premium Spirits Brand Made in U.S.A.

 

About Jess Hunter


Jess is a lady and a scholar. If she's not mulling over the various names of famous mustaches and their respective bitter cocktails, she's nibbling on American Craft Singles and Cantillon. Connect with her by email at jesshunter@denveroffthewagon.com.