Montanya Monthly Bartender Series - October 2015


If you ever find yourself in the heart of Colorado wine country, you must pay Bin 707 Foodbar a visit. Started by Josh and Jodi Niernberg, Bin 707 is a chef-driven restaurant designed to feature local first, Colorado second and domestic third.  With the best products and freshest produce available from the Grand Valley, it is the place for Seasonal American fare in Grand Junction.

Bin 707 features an extensive craft cocktail menu and program of almost exclusively Colorado and domestic spirits, and the Niernberg’s have been serving Montanya Platino rum as their house rum since their restaurant opened its doors.

This month, in our Montanya Monthly Bartender Series, we’re highlighting four fabulous bartenders from Bin 707. They share their favorite cocktail recipes, what it takes to be a craft cocktail mixologist and what it’s like to be a part of the Bin 707 family.

**As we highlight bartenders we have come to love, we’d also like to hear from you. If you have a bartender or bar/restaurant you’d like to recommend for future consideration, please click here to learn more. To see more installments from the Montanya Mixology Series, visit T-Zero Lounge, The Kitchen Denver, Justice Snow’s, or Lounge 5280.**

Amy Kappler

Bar Manager at Bin 707 Foodbar

Years of Bartending Experience:

7 years

What is your favorite rum cocktail?

I typically go straight for the mojito, especially the one we serve at Bin 707 called “The Ernest Hemingway.” The Montanya Platino rum and cucumber is so refreshing. A good mojito is hard to beat. I did make a great drink with Montanya recently – it featured jasmine liqueur, fennel bitters, lemon juice, simple syrup and ginger beer. It was pretty tasty!

What do you wish more people knew about bartenders who develop craft cocktails?

I wish people had a better understanding of how much work and passion actually goes into it. Not only do the drinks take longer to build than a basic vodka soda, but all the ingredients are house-made – at least, they are at Bin 707! House-made bitters, tinctures, shrubs, infusions, syrups, gastriques… takes a lot of time, but it’s completely worth it.

What is your favorite thing about working with Colorado craft spirits?

I love that we have a huge amount of incredible product right in our own backyard. It’s so much better for the economy to support local businesses rather than large conglomerates that have no real ties to us. With all the wonderful produce and landscape Colorado has to offer, the products produced here are not just local, they’re high quality and delicious. We’re very lucky to live in such a place!

Gavin Bistodeau

Bartender at Bin 707 Foodbar

Years of Bartending Experience:

8 years

Who is your hero and greatest inspiration in your work?

I wouldn’t necessarily say I have a hero, though, I am and have been inspired by many of my coworkers over the years. Watching and learning, picking up various approaches – it’s all helped me become a well-rounded bartender. I feel it’s not always about mixing the perfect drink, but understanding what we do and why we do it. I’m the direct outcome of the people who took the time to show me the ropes. I’m very thankful for that and to them.

What is your favorite rum cocktail?

It’s hard to beat a classic mojito on a warm Colorado day. It’s the ultimate patio drink. When I’m feeling tropical, I tend to lean towards the Mai Thai – throw it in a pineapple. Actually, throw any rum concoction in a pineapple, and I’m set.

How do you use Montanya rum in your bar program?

We are fortunate enough to feature Montanya rum as our house rum. Here at Bin 707, we like to source locally first, so I’m constantly reminding guests that the rum they’re enjoying is from a super cool, local distillery. Montanya’s Blanco rum is also featured in our “Ernest Hemingway.” It’s a spin on a mojito with house-made lemon bitters and muddled cucumbers.

What do you wish more people knew about bartenders who develop craft cocktails?

I’m not really sure people truly understand the time that can be spent developing craft cocktails. For many of us, it has become our livelihood. We spend hours studying, dreaming and developing individual components. From bitters to shrubs, to the type of spirit that’ll work best in the drink. There’s a lot of trial and error and it can become very discouraging at times.

Turning that late night concept into a reality can be a lot harder than it seems. Pushing through can be a necessity in distinguishing yourself as a bartender. As they say, the juice is worth the squeeze.

Shaleen Walz

Bartender at Bin 707 Foodbar

Years of Bartending Experience:

7 years bartending, 15 years in the service industry

What is your favorite thing about working with Colorado craft spirits?

I really enjoy learning all that Colorado has to offer in craft spirits and educating people on what we do here in the mountains. Colorado offers many spirits that are made with local products that make it truly unique to the state. From your basic vodka to a full-flavored bitter liqueur, Colorado offers craft spirits that are high quality, locally sourced and a great substitute for your well-known, big box brand spirits.

What do you wish more people knew about bartenders who develop craft cocktails?

Craft cocktails are special in a sense that the cocktail requires a certain “finesse” to execute it properly and (most importantly), consistently. Bartenders constructing craft cocktails are building a cocktail that is made with specific ingredients and concise measurements in order to ensure balance and that perfect flavor that lasts the whole drink through. I’ve always said I make my cocktails with “love” and I believe that craft cocktails require a bartender that takes a lot of pride in what they do.

What’s the most memorable cocktail you have made with Montanya rum?

I recently made a cocktail with Montanya white rum that I called the “Rum-Springer.” It’s a variation of the classic Mint Julep. The “Rum-Springer” features muddled mint, Montanya white rum, ginger liqueur, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and vanilla bitters. I serve it in a mug with crushed ice and garnished with a mint leaf.

Tammy VanMaurer

Bartender at Bin 707 Foodbar

Years of Bartending Experience:

More than 10 years

What sets your bar program apart from others?

It’s a pleasure to be able to work with others who are passionate about creating a quality dining experience and being able to showcase purely Colorado products. I get to interact with guests who travel to Grand Junction from all over the United States. Colorado and the Western Slope has so much to offer and I’m thrilled to be able to share that through local produce and Colorado crafted beer, wine and spirits. It makes the Bin 707 truly unique.

What’s your favorite rum cocktail?

We’re featuring a brand new Montanya cocktail called “The Bin Fall Spritz” through November.

The Bin Fall Spritz

1.5 oz. Montanya Platino rum

1.5 oz. Rocky Mountain Soda Co.’s Elderberry Soda

0.75 oz. House-made Palisade plum syrup

0.5 oz. Fruitlab jasmine liqueur

2 – 3 Dashes of Fee’s Bros. plum bitters

4 Slices of watermelon radish

Lemon twist

Two “2x2” clear ice “stones”

In a pint glass, add both stones and then ingredients in order:

3 Slices watermelon radish

Lemon twist




Stir for about 45 – 60 seconds to both dilute and texturize. Top with soda and garnish and serve with a stir straw.