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Roundhouse Punch


Alex Nelson’s “hobby” of making micro-distilled gin and Corretto coffee liqueur in a 2,200-square-foot Longmont warehouse has taken off to the point where he’s had to hire a full-time sales manager.

“People really latched onto the gin last fall,” said Nelson, 31, who has yet to quit his day job as an attorney. “I added a sales guy Feb. 1 (Chris Munzer); I was doing everything myself and it was getting to be too much.”

Available in more than 100 fine restaurants and liquor stores along the Front Range, from Jackson Hole to Lone Tree, Nelson’s gin is attracting attention for its high quality and distinctive flavor. The Kitchen in Boulder uses it in its “Corpse Reviver” cocktail (Roundhouse gin, Lillet Blanc, Cointreau and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice) and Colterra in Niwot has fashioned a cocktail called the Gin Blossom with it.

Roundhouse gin is nothing like Beefeaters or Tanqueray; it’s like comparing Coors to an India Pale Ale. The aroma alone is like sticking your head in a juniper bush, with small hints of lavender and anise. The deliciously pungent aroma lends itself beautifully to being shaken with ice and served as a Vermouth-less martini.

Unlike its comparatively flavorless cousins, Roundhouse gin does not play well with tonic water and lime. The result is a horrid clash of flavors that was nearly undrinkable.

The other spirit Nelson has created is what he calls his “Kahlua killer” because the Roundhouse Corretto coffee liquor remains undefeated in head-to-head blind taste tests with its commercial counterpart.

The Corretto is much lighter in color (no artificial syrups and colors added), but has a huge coffee aroma and flavor thanks to the use of beans roasted by the Unseen Bean in Boulder. A vanilla bean is added, too, for even more flavor.

The result is a rich, smooth, delicious coffee liqueur that puts all others to shame. Add some to a cup of Unseen Bean House Blend for a pairing made in heaven or pour it over chocolate ice cream. Or come up with your own application; it won’t disappoint.

Demand has grown so quickly that Nelson said he is upgrading his equipment with a bigger still, more tanks and bigger filters. And he is presently fine-tuning the recipes for an amaretto liqueur and Agave spirit similar to tequila that will hit the shelves this fall.


Lacy is an award-winning food writer and blogger. She lives in Westminster with her family. Google

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