Move over bottomless mimosas and Bloody Mary’s, there’s a new brunch cocktail in town: The Coconut Fizz. Only available at Linger (2030 W 30th Ave), this cocktail is beverage director Mike Henderson’s take on the New Orleans favorite Ramos Gin Fizz, mixing Monopolowa gin (potato based so it’s gluten-free), coconut milk, simple syrup, and soda water.
Henderson – who also calls Root Down home – has made hundreds of drinks using any ingredient imaginable, but the simple four-component Coconut Fizz (gin, coconut milk, lime, soda water) is the cocktail he says he is most proud of. We were lucky enough to be one of the first to sample this tasty concoction featured on Linger’s new brunch menu (Sundays 10 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Saturdays TBD) at a special media gathering this morning.
On first sip, the fizz is reminiscent of a thin piña colada, but then the tart, refreshing lime cuts through the sweetness of the coconut and the carbonation of the soda water seems to have a gentle scrubbing effect, cleansing the palate, and leaving your tingling taste buds craving more. Be warned, the Coconut Fizz is deceptively strong: The sometimes-harsh juniper characteristic of gin is masked except for a slight herbal tinge that is softened by the sugar in the splash of simple syrup.
Even better than the flavor? The $3 price tag. Sure, you can find bottomless mimosas for $10 elsewhere in Denver, but you’re stuck with cheap Andre and Tropicana for three hours. So, why not bring your wallet and your hangover to Linger, where you can hydrate with a Coconut Fizz, get your vitamins from a Bloody Mary (featuring about 20 different ingredients including dill, horseradish, and Frank’s red hot), and then dive into a gingery Linger mimosa made with Yuzu, a Japanese fruit? That’s three stellar and intoxicating cocktails for just $14.
Unlike at Root Down, however, Linger will not be offering bottomless pitchers, because, well, Linger’s patio is much higher up than Root Down’s, and opening up a floodgate of value drinking could prove dangerous. Henderson and Linger owner Justin Cucci decided it may be best to “control the party atmosphere on the roof.” There are kids at ground level getting ice cream at Little Man after all.
While Henderson’s cocktails, which also include higher-priced options like red sangria, Moscow Mule, and Corpse Reviver, are sure to make this patio in the Highlands one of the top brunch spots in Denver, culinary director Daniel Asher and executive chef Marty Steinke have crafted a diverse street food inspired menu focused on sustainability and the integrity of flavors.
After going on a food research trip with Justin Cucci to Japan, a trip Asher called the most profound travel experience he has ever had, he was blown away by the simple elegance of beautifully executed cuisine. He began to see food and the experience of eating differently; in Japan, there is a high level of reverence for singular ingredients and the focus is on the artistry involved in crafting a dish.
Asher carries on this tradition at Linger in every dish he creates, but perhaps the best example is the Tokyo “White Castle” Sliders: A thick blended Angus and Wagyu beef patty, topped with Tender Belly bacon, Welsh cheddar cheese, a spicy sambal siracha sauce, served on a squid ink bun sourced from Seattle Fish that has been steamed and fried.
Linger’s Hangover Ramen is an intricate dish packed with flavor. Three different kinds of proteins are present: duck confit, Duroc pork belly, and a soft-boiled egg that has been marinated for three days in Dashi Kombu broth (a technique Asher said took 14 days to learn), adding a richness that is all-too-often lacking in most restaurant versions of this Japanese noodle dish.
Then there is the Breakfast Dosa, an Indian-style burrito of sorts featuring massala potatoes, Cottonwood Creek eggs, Paneer cheese (a semi-hard Indian cheese with a texture similar to that of firm tofu), and sliced avocado all drizzled with a sauce of curry, cilantro oil, and maple syrup, then rolled in a massive fermented lentil and rice crepe (it’s delicious, trust us), prepared in the traditional style of the Mumbai region.
The Chorizo Tacos: Blue corn tortillas from Abondanza Farms, house-made Berkshire pork shoulder chorizo, Cottonwood Creek eggs, spicy avocado aioli (cilantro, jalapeno, and tomatillo peppers), topped with Cotija cheese (salty and crumbly like a Parmesan) and pickled onions were definitely a highlight.
With a sous chef hailing from Veracruz, Linger’s Chili Relleno is traditional, yet sexy. The manageable Anaheim chile is stuffed with five different kinds of cheeses (Broken Shovel goat cheese from Northglenn, CO, cream cheese, Laura Chennel cheese, Muenster and Monterey Jack), then deep-fried to order, topped with an over-easy egg, fresh watercress, a dollop of authentic Veracruz sauce and Asher’s take on refried beans, a combination of black beans and protein rich lentils.
The Espanola Benedict featuring a heavenly roasted garlic hollandaise and a topper of house-made potato chips that have been crumbled and mixed with parsley, Parmesan, and lemon juice is an experience in textures missing in your everyday Benedict.
Linger’s brunch menu features more savory than sweet, but for sugar lovers, other dishes of note were the airy sopapillas with cinnamon whipped cream and a thick Dulce de Leche sauce, or the melt-in-your mouth Challah French Toast with tempura-dipped banana that is “just the right amount of wrong,” according to Justin Cucci.
Mouth watering yet? Head to Linger Sundays between 10 AM and 2:30 PM to get a taste for yourselves. Hopefully within a month or so, brunch will also be served on Saturdays, hinted Cucci. And by then, fingers crossed, our state will have embraced us Denverites’ need for spring so we can eat and drink atop Linger’s rooftop patio and take the elevator back down after one too many Coconut Fizzes (thank Lewis, one of the fabulous servers at Linger, for the friendly tip).