Summer is the time for get-togethers in the backyard, pool parties and relaxing on the patio. But while you’re grilling or watching the kids jump on the trampoline, you’re going to want the perfect summer cocktail in your hand.
Enter Horse’s Neck, a bright yellow cocktail that combines refreshing ginger beer with the citrusy flavors of lemon juice and the rich notes of Cognac. This drink is on the menu at Isabel, a new bar that recently opened in Denver, but you can easily make it at home in your kitchen.
Here’s what you need to get started on Isabel’s version of this tasty drink:
- 1.5oz Hennessy Black
- 0.5oz Montenegro
- 0.5oz Lemon Juice
- Dash 50/50 bitters
- 2oz ginger beer
Once you have all the ingredients at your fingertips, grab a cocktail shaker and combine the first four ingredients. Add ice and shake.
Once you pour the concoction into your glass, top it with the ginger beer and add a long lemon peel to finish (your guests will be impressed with your fancy bartending skills!).
In fact, the long lemon peel gives this drink its name, since it reminds some people of a long horse’s neck. The drink was popular in the early 20th century, especially in bars in Atlantic City. During Prohibition, it became a “mocktail,” but eventually bartenders began adding alcohol again.
Aside from serving up refreshing cocktails, the bar — which is located inside The Source Hotel and Market Hall in Denver’s trendy Rino neighborhood — has a fascinating backstory.
It’s named after Isabel Nesmith Evans, who arrived in Denver in a covered wagon as a baby in 1860 before later serving as president of the Colorado Iron Works starting in 1907.
Obviously, at this point in history, it was a big deal to have a woman leading any company, let alone one that made heavy mining equipment. Newsmith Evans is believed to be the first-ever female industrialist in Denver, which is pretty cool.
Each day when she came to work at the foundry, she oversaw a group of 275 men. But Nesmith Evans didn’t stop there. She was also well-known in the community for hosting exciting theme parties at her home, which were regularly covered by the local newspapers.
Of course, a badass woman like Nesmith Evans also had a mantra: “Not by knaverie, but by braverie.” She often wrote these words, which served as the ancient Nesmith family creed, on the inside covers of the books she owned.
But why the tie to Nesmith Evans at the bar? During the 19th century, Colorado Iron Works was located inside the building that is now The Source. When you hang out at this food and market hall, it’s a bit like stepping back in time.
The bar is unique in another way: you can drink here all day long. But never fear, you won’t have to worry about overindulging. During the day, Isabel serves up fresh-pressed juices, wellness shots and smoothies, along with recovery and hydration kits (in case you had a little too much fun the night before).
In the afternoon and evening, it turns into a cocktail bar, with the bartenders incorporating the fresh-pressed juices into the drinks. You can also order juice paired with a shot of a spirit, like Mezcal, pisco or sotol.
“Latin and South American spirits play really well with fruit juices and produce,” said Justin Anderson, managing partner at Isabel. “You really get the minerality, sweetness and other flavor profiles in the alcohol when paired with other citrus and produce, making a really intriguing combination. Citrus plays a huge role in enhancing spirits and cocktails made in Mexico and South America.”