The Liquid Diet

This Week in The Liquid Diet: We celebrate an honored American holiday rich in heritage and history.  The final Thursday of every November we pay homage to our past and get together with family and friends.  This day has a different meaning to all of us and unique traditions that play out from one household to the next.  However, there is one unifying banner seems to be flown across our country: eating and drinking way, way too much like true Americans!

Like most Thanksgiving traditions, they usually start with getting the hell out of the house on Wednesday night.  This way, we don’t have to cook, while getting away from family to begin marinating your liver!   This night would be a healthy dose of just that. When it comes Denver Off The Wagon, my pre-game warm-ups to Turkey Day are much more fitting than the slobbish gorging and beer gulping. So we’ll stick to that. This post will differ from most because I ventured from home base to visit our neighbors to the North. (No, I didn’t make it quite to Canada, but I did make it to Boulder; to be honest sometimes I feel like I am in a different country whence in Boulder.)

Wednesday November 23, 2011 at 7:16 PM MST: 

I was, naturally, in the mood for some great food. At the recommendation of the one and only Matt Lanning I landed at The Pinyon.  I was immediately torn on what style of adult beverage I was going to consume (or at least which to consume first).  They have a great beer selection as well as a great whiskey selection, which is quite a theme in Boulder; I approve.  Bulleit Rye and Brooklyner Weisse by Brooklyn Brewery decided for me as they both needed simultaneous showings and I obliged them.

To add to this combo, I included a plate of Grilled Mortadella with braised radicchio to the mix. Man, was that a good call!  It was really a great pairing ménage e trios in my mouth.  The richness and bitterness of the Mortadella dish played tug-o-war between the bready sweetness of the Brooklyner and the sharpness and spice of the Bulleit.  Who knew that one dish could and would stand up to two very distinct alcoholic beverages?  I enjoyed the playful, yet structured way it unfolded.  The pistachios in the Mortadella picked up the oak in the Rye flawlessly, while accenting the yeast in the Weisse.  It was very interesting that the oak and yeast have totally different taste profiles and characteristics, yet one ingredient could compliment each of them.  Not bad for classy Bologna, huh?!

Wednesday November 23, 2011 at 10:36 PM MST:

Now that I had gotten the whole pesky eating part out of the way, it was on to more whiskey and cocktails. The top dog in cocktail art in Boulder, and arguably even in the state, is The Bitter Bar.  This Big Red F concept was put on the map by my friend James Lee and is being taken to new levels by another friend Mark Stoddard.  I had the pleasure of sitting in front of yet another friend– bartending heavyweight, Noah Heaney.  He made me drink rum, whiskey and tequila because he was (I quote), “Going to get me drunk!”  He made me a fun fusion of a Manhattan and a Sazerac, which basically made me wet myself.  Those are two of my favorite classic cocktails and they were in one glass!  I got to try High West Double Rye for the first time and I had no idea that something so delicious and strong was allowed in Utah.

Next up was a very spirituous cocktail of Smith & Cross Navy Strength Rum, Cynar, lemon and bitter.  Navy Strength rum is a term that described a style of Jamaican rum produced for the British Navy.  It was 57% ABV (50% by weight or at least 100 proof) so as to give it a strong shelf life to handle long journeys.  As an added benefit, if the spirit were spilled onto gunpowder, the gunpowder would not be lost as it could still ignite when soaked with rum.  How efficient is that?  This style of rum would only use Wedderburn and Plummer classifications of pure-pot still distillates.  Those British sailors sure are a classy bunch of lads!

So, this week we learned that I like whiskey like a lot.  I am also a student of the history of food and drink, so it is so great to go to a place where the history of what they serve is as important as the drinks that they create.  Don’t forget…Choose your booze wisely and you are a connoisseur, let your booze choose you and you are an alcoholic!

I hope you had a happy and safe Holiday.  What are your pre-game Thanksgiving traditions?



Quite a week in the life of THE LIQUID DIET…what will this week hold in store…stay tuned!

About Jensen Cummings

Jensen Cummings (@JensenDCummings) is the Executive Chef at Row 14 in downtown Denver. He calls his food "Pangean Cuisine" and his teaching style "Fortune Cookie Philosophy" so you know he's a little off his rocker! His side passion project is to collaborate with brewers on chef/food inspired beers meant to be paired with high end cuisine. Jensen is an avid beer collector, student of spirits, soon to be Certified Cicerone and a sommelier in training. Basically, he is just really into adult beverages and super geeky!

  • Jensen Cummings


    I am glad someone else is considering the health benefits of a liquid diet!