Just a few hundred feet from thousands of cars and trucks speeding on their way along the Interstate is the quiet ghost town of Silver Plume, Colorado. This historic mining town once was the home to the earliest and most successful silver mines in Colorado, a bustling and lively town full of saloons and shops and rowdy colorful characters. Today the town is sleepy and quiet, but that bustling saloon feeling is kept alive in a quaint old bakery building that is now home to DRAM Apothecary.
Sitting on its own corner down the street from a bunch of Victorian homes and 1880’s era shops, DRAM looks every bit the part of a saloon located in a mountain ghost town, a small weathered wooden building that has served as a mining supply store and a bakery in its past life. The whitewashed building looks like it was taken right out of the 1880s with its hand painted lettering, plate glass windows and wooden stoop set against a beautiful background of tall pine trees and mountain slopes that provide many of the ingredients used at DRAM. Inside, original fixtures, vintage wood floors and a beautiful wooden bar provide seating for fourteen or so patrons.
We discovered DRAM on Instagram (follow us on Instagram here) and the more we saw of their bitters and the tasting room, the more we wanted to visit DRAM the next time we were in Colorado. Being a small bit of a pair of cocktail nerds, seeing that DRAM makes all their bitters and syrups in house and with ingredients that are foraged from the surrounding mountains was beyond cool and something that we wanted to experience. Imagine our excitement when Mrs. Nom’s parents rented a house in Silver Plume, Colorado for our annual family reunion and we would be staying just down a block down the street! Our only wrinkle was that we had to make sure we were there during the limited hours that the tasting room is open (select Friday, Saturday and Sundays, 4-9 pm).
We arrived into Silver Plume on a Sunday morning and once we got settled in we left the kids with the grandparents and made our way down the gravel street to DRAM. Despite having opened 10 minutes before, we found the bar area full. Lucky for us, DRAM has a nice patio out back that folks wanted to sit at so it wasn’t long until we were seated at one of the tables checking out their menus, a paper menu full of their house specialties and a chalkboard version with their specials of the day. After seeing what some of the other patrons had ordered, we made our decisions.
Mr. Nom ordered off the house specialties, choosing the Alpine Manhattan which was a combo of Bulleit Bourbon, DRAM’s own pine syrup and Hair of the Dog Bitters. The Apline Manhattan had that classic balance of booze and sweet that you look for in a Manhattan, but with a nice sweet piney finish that definitely brings a sense of the fresh piney woods of the mountains. The house made Hair of the Dog bitters gives a nice complex warmth and hints of more wild foraged mountain botanicals.
Mrs. Nom ordered off the special menu, the Switchel-Rita, a delightful summer version of a margarita made with house made ginger switchel, tequila and lime juice. Switchel is a a classic summer drink made form water, honey, ginger and vinegar that is a both sweet and sour. Combined with the tequila and lime the Switchel-Rita was like a sweet and sour margarita, tart and refreshing with a clean ginger finish.
While we were enjoying our drinks we had a chance to look around the tasting room and chat with some of the other patrons who were visiting. DRAM attracts quite the mixed crowd, with cocktail nerds like us, some locals, a few campers and some folks that drove up from Denver. Despite the mixed crowd, DRAM had an authentic charm and atmosphere that put everyone into a great mood. Neighboring tables were chatting with each other, people were checking out the different drinks each other had ordered, and very quickly DRAM felt like a friendly neighborly place!
We were really enjoying ourselves so decided that we had some time before we had to rescue the grandparents from the kids, so we ordered a second round of drinks. Mrs. Nom decided on the Frontier Rootbeer – Bulleit Rye, ROOT Rootbeer Spirit, DRAM’s own pine syrup and Hair of the Dog bitters. Tasting like a complex adult root beer, the pine syrup and bitters gave a nice clean woodsy flavor to the drink.
Mr. Nom put his drinking fate in the the bartender Andy’s hands and played bartender’s choice, ending up with another house specialty, the Citrine. The Citrine was a bright red drink whose color matched the spicy bite of the drink. Tequila, citrus clove liqueur, DRAM’s Cirtus Medica Bitters and wild chokeberry juice give this drink a spicy bite that is further enhanced by a float of cayenne pepper.
DRAM is owned by Colorado native, Shae Whitney, who embraced the art of foraging for organic and wild herbs and plants, and using these botanical products in everyday life for health and digestion. In the tasting room they offer a retail spot where you can purchase all of the house made syrups, bitters, teas, and brandied cherries to take home with you to enjoy. As a bonus, almost all of their packaging is recyclable or biodegradable and in some cases totally natural. We are always on the lookout for new ingredients to use in our drinks, so we of course we came home with a tasting pack of bitters, some tea and some syrups, which we plan to use in some of our upcoming drinks! If you want to experience DRAM at your house, hit up their DRAM where you can order some of the products! If you happen to be lucky enough to be in the Silver Plume area, make sure to stop in and see the folks at DRAM!
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