Only a five-minute drive east of Interstate 25 and Colo. 392 is one of Northern Colorado’s best distilleries for cocktails and entertainment. The Heart Distillery opened in August 2018 and can already showcase awards and pack the parking lot.
The Heart Distillery is housed in the same building as its sister businesses – High Hops Brewery and The Windsor Gardner- and all three are owned and operated by the Weakland family. It is this trifecta of awesomeness that creates synergistic experiences for guests. For example, one Saturday last January The Heart Distillery offered a “make and take workshop” called Cactus & Cocktails Class. All participants selected a craft cocktail and sipped along while learning how to plant their own succulent and cacti garden.
Sensory experiences beyond taste and flavor thrive both inside and outside The Heart Distillery Wednesday through Sunday. Between daily food trucks, live music Fridays and Saturdays, Happy Hour Wednesday through Friday, and Whiskey Wednesdays, it also is an unsuspecting retail shopper’s paradise. According to Dustin Tanski, tasting room manager for The Heart Distillery, “It is a very enriched environment for retail shopping. There are signs everywhere, sayings everywhere, paintings, plants, edible things, seasonal items, and the garden center really was the anchor for the entire business.”
Engaging customers and creating memorable moments is part of what motivates Tanski. He and his team behind the bar concoct adventurous garden-to-glass cocktails from the distillery’s own gin, bourbon, rye whiskey, vodka and Trinity Absinthe. The cocktail menu contains something for everyone, just like the brewery’s motto — “All types of beer for all types of people.” Even for the regular patrons, there’s a new limited-release cocktail every week to keep things fresh.
The award winning gin, created by distiller Zach Weakland, won Double Gold and Best In Class in the 2018 Craft Distillers Spirits Competition. It is made with locally-sourced botanicals including angelica root, coriander, cassia bark, licorice root, lemon peel, orris root and juniper berries. On the current cocktail menu you can find their gin in the G&A Mule, Shelley’s Saucy Gin Mule, The Stiff Stickler and the classic Gin & Tonic. And get this, Gin & Tonics are on draft for $6, and only $5 during Happy Hour.
If gin isn’t your favorite, the whiskey scene at The Heart Distillery will get you excited. As mentioned above, Whiskey Wednesdays are the second and fourth Wednesday every month and include a flight of whiskey offerings. Unlike the daily flights, these special occasions have an infused whiskey to taste and one experimental wood-aged variant to try. You also don’t want to miss tasting the rye whiskey made with 100 percent local rye.
The Bourbon Barrel Program offers 5 gallon barrels for customers to purchase and come in every six months to taste. Customers who partake in this smart program will have two years to decide on when they want to bottle their own barrel of bourbon. No two barrels are completely identical, which means customers truly own a unique bourbon whiskey. If you are a bourbon enthusiast, want to own your own barrel and be a part of the The Heart Distillery, this is designed for you at a price of $1,200/barrel, equivalent to 20 bottles of bourbon.
Heads up — the patio at The Heart Distillery opens in March. The patio will have stunning views of the mountains, fireplace features and even some covered area for shade or protection from weather. There, you will find local Windsor and Northern Colorado folks chillaxin’ as well as spirit lovers from Cheyenne, Wyo., enjoying the adult sanctuary. People from all over the Front Range and beyond are learning of this remarkable slice of Colorado.
The Heart Distillery tasting room hours are 2-8 p.m., Wednesdays, 2-9 p.m., Thursdays, noon to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and noon to 8 p.m. Sundays. Connect with The Heart Distillery online at theheartdistillery.com and on Instagram and FaceBook @theheartdistillery. Kids and dogs are not welcome inside The Heart Distillery tasting room, but the High Hops taproom would love to have the little ones (two- and four-legged) join in the fun. Go to the High Hops website highhopsbrewery.com for their kid-friendly and dog-friendly policies and expectations.