House of Suntory Pop-Up Brings Japanese Oasis to Death and Co’s Upstairs Mezzanine

0
0

Since opening its East Village location on New Year’s Eve 2006, Death and Co has rightfully garnered a worldwide reputation for continually developing and serving some of the most showstopping cocktails to hit the everchanging world of mixed beverages. It gained early acclaim as much for its on-site air of sensual confidentiality as it did for the drinks, so when it was announced that it would open a Denver outpost at The Ramble Hotel, many wondered how the concept could be translated to a decidedly more spacious setting. Though in 2018, the RiNo iteration opened, managing to continue the tradition across a bright and open, though somehow no less intimate format.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Amidst the high ceilings and splendid seating arrangements, there’s always been the compact upstairs lounge, Suite 6A. It’s a proper sanctuary for anyone seeking that same illicit rendezvous allure of the original. On any given day, it’s cozy, with the space having been used to host pop-ups from some of the kind of world-class hooch peddlers one would expect at a place of Death and Co’s pedigree.

Beginning in March, Suite 6A was transformed into The House of Suntory — a discretely lavish ode to bona fide highballs, a compact range of cocktails featuring a wide breadth of Japanese spirits and a slight menu of associated snacks. Originally formulated by John Armstrong — the current West Coast Brand Ambassador for Beam Suntory who previously bartended at the principal Death and Co from 2013 to 2015 — at the brand’s Los Angeles location, the pop-up gracefully displays many of the nuanced fineries that have become synonymous with both labels. The aesthetics pay tribute to the Sakura Festival, with a dense cloud of cherry blossoms trickling across the entire ceiling. The music, which favors downtempo, funk and jazz is all hand-selected and hums gently, aligning the place with Tokyo’s famed record bars. The collection — a multiple-crates thick stack of rare Japanese vinyl that lines the wall — is apparently Armstrong’s personal reserve.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The highballs, of which there are four, range from the largely unembellished Toki Whiskey ($14) — with seltzer and a grapefruit twist — to the Shoganai ($24) — an extravagant though balanced affair with Hibiki Harmony, Aval Cider, champagne and apple eau de vie. The cocktails are all relatively bold, with the Open Sesame ($17) — with Legent Bourbon, mango brandy, sesame, pineapple, lemon and aquafaba — being the boldest.

Food-wise there’s togarashi popcorn ($9), edamame ($9) — perfectly accented with garlic, sesame and sambal — and a fried chicken bao ($17), which comes three to an order topped with apricot-chili aioli and house pickles. The buns are certainly the piece de resistance and should be consumed with vigor.

Whether simple or complex, each drink is a firm reminder of why Death and Co has been such a critical darling. This is all Tales of the Cocktail-caliber stuff, each sip emblematic of a team who has never for even one moment lost their touch.

Death and Co is located at 1280 25th St., Denver. It is open Sunday – Wednesday from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. and again from 3 p.m. – 12 a.m., and Thursday – Saturday from 7 a.m. – 2 p.m. and again from 3 p.m. – 12 a.m.

The House of Suntory Pop-Up will be open Thursday – Saturday from 4 p.m. – 1 a.m. through April 30.

All photography courtesy of Shawn Campbell.