Cluttered with empty bottles on the wall and faux-old tin signs, Alchemy is a bar that might turn people away at first for its rather ordinary atmosphere. Though it claims that it’s not “just a pub, it’s an Irish influenced gastropub” on their website, Alchemy fails to mention how much of a pub it still is. With the wood decor, haphazard decorations, and dim lighting, it is the visual epitome of an Americanized pub. However, once you get past the decor, Alchemy manages to stir up the concept of an Irish pub.
What makes Alchemy more than “just a pub” is their elaborate food menu and cocktails. For such a small and quiet bar, their food selection is impressive, with everything from the classic Irish onion soup, to a mixed seafood gnocchi with spiced whiskey mushroom cream. While it might be missing pub fries, it has plenty to offer, all of which come with an upscale twist.
Alchemy, the practice, is all about transformation, combination, and creation, so their name is apt. Their cocktail menu contains variations on common cocktails all with an Irish spin. They have 12 beers on tap, one of which is a rarity in American bars: Guinness. The rich, dark beer is best when it comes from the tap; however it is not served in most bars, so I was ecstatic to find it here.
If you’re looking to experience the subtle magic of this little pub in Old Colorado City at a more affordable time, happy hour is from Monday to Saturday, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday and Monday are Service Industry Nights, with discounts on Jameson, and on Thursday, there is live music on the back patio. They also have Wednesday Trivia nights with half-off bottles of wine, which is a win for any night out with friends. This Saturday, Oct. 27, Alchemy will have a Halloween party starting at 9 p.m.
This take on the Aviation cocktail, for me, was miscalculated. Aviations are gin cocktails that focus on the combination of lemon, creme de violette, and maraschino cherries, but the Violaceous switches out cherries for pears. The pear, although refreshing, overpowers the lemon and creme de violette. On the first sip, all you get is pear — with some agave to make it sweet — and the aftertaste is the gin. It’s also a very viscous drink, which I found unappealing. Aesthetically, it’s a cloudy purple and blue mix. While the pear flavor was enjoyable, it simply did not mix well with the other ingredients and made for an unbalanced cocktail.
This drink is a variation on a Jacques the Elder cocktail, and this one was very successful. Jacques the Elder contains bourbon, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, and ginger beer, creating a floral, citrusy, and smoky cocktail. The Irish Elder was made with Irish whiskey — they used Jameson — bitters, elderflower liqueur, and ginger ale. This was served in a tall mason jar with ice and a lemon rind, and it tasted as refreshing as it looked. The ginger ale’s sweetness was cut back by the bitters and Jameson, creating a nice balance that carried a full flavor. The whiskey was not lost, nor was the elderflower liqueur, so it still had a strong punch despite being a very large drink. It was really satisfying to have what is normally a more sour cocktail turned into something smooth. Overall, it reminded me of a Long Island iced tea.