In Breckenridge, a distillery that offers so much more (sponsored) | SummitDaily.com

In Breckenridge, a distillery that offers so much more (sponsored)

Kimberly Nicoletti / Brought to you by Breckenridge Distillery

One man's passion to create the highest distillery on earth has attracted other aficionados, who, in turn, opened the Breckenridge Distillery restaurant just over two years ago, which drew David Burke — the only American to earn the Meilleur Ouvriers de France honor — who, in turn, brought in executive chef Richard Calton. That's a long way of saying: The Breckenridge Distillery just continues to get better and better.

Calton and his team have elevated the Breckenridge Distillery to a restaurant open year-round, seven-days-a-week, which now offers lunch. And, wow, what a lunch it is. Fueled by a $30,000 barbecue "machine," Breckenridge Distillery's daily barbecue outside, on picnic tables, provide a more casual alternative to lunch inside.

"Our patio concept, like our spirits, can be approached any way you, the diner, are interested in," says general manager Chris Metts.

Every day, Calton will cook up a new main meat, as guests play corn hole or Bocce ball, or simply enjoy some of Liquid Chef Billie Keithley's "porch pounders." Porch pounders, along with the rest of Keithley's summer cocktail list, feature seasonal products — or garden-to-glass, if you will. This year, Keithley keeps guest favorites, like the Chili Vodka Marg; Negroni; Cucumber Bow Thai, as well as best-selling mules. But, Keithley can't stop herself from concocting, so her menu presents at least 10 new drinks, like Cuckoo Coconut (think coconut, whiskey, turmeric and pear); Farmers Market Bourbon Smash (made with fresh berries); and Barrel-Aged Smore (after all, what's better than bourbon, graham cracker, chocolate and marshmallow?).

Not only does the Breckenridge Distillery offer outdoor lunch barbecues, but also, for the first time, it will be open for lunch every day. For those wanting the more distinct feel of hip, indoor dining, Calton and his crew cook up smaller versions of their dinner dishes, as well as such specials as a raw bar and summer salads. The signature burger —natural, Colorado beef with roasted garlic, tomato, pickles, lettuce and white cheddar — is part of the lunch selection.

As if new lunch options and summer sips that complement the distillery's spirits (like the Pink Lady Cocktail – a take on the Pink Lady, which cuts back the citrus to bring out the gin) isn't enough, Calton has also taken on the task of hosting banquets of up to 120 people, during regular business hours, inside or out.

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Breckenridge Distillery's menu features signature Burke items, like the salmon cured with pastrami and the Maple Pepper Bacon — extra-thick slices of candied bacon served hanging from a unique clothes line. Modern American plates include Bison Short Rib; Korean Pork made a tad spicy with sweet drop peppers; Crispy Skin Chicken Breast with pine nuts, brown butter, sage and lemon; Orechhiette with sausage and brocolini; Mezzi Rigatonie with prosciutto, smoked cherry tomatoes and asiago; and more. All pastas are made in house with barrel char, resulting in an oaky barrel taste.

As always, the menu revolves around local produce, comfort foods with a twist and sharable dishes meant to encourage interaction and conviviality. Standouts include the rib eye, Porterhouse and Kansas City cuts, dry-aged in Burke's patented room made of Himalayan salts, for 40 days. The formula allows the meats' true flavor to come out, Calton says. As if all of these expansions aren't enough, Breckenridge Distillery also hosts Camp 90 Proof, a summer series featuring live music, outdoor-focused workshops, Tiki Tuesdays, whole animal roasts, yoga and more. Loyal campers are eligible for great swag. So here's a toast to summer in the Rockies.

Free shuttle

There is no need to drink and drive when you can drink and ride, courtesy of the Distillery Shuttle. The Breckenridge Distillery offers a free shuttle to and from the Distillery within Breckenridge town limits. Call 970-445-8613.