Colorado - Morrison: The Fort - Trade Whiskey
Trade Whiskey, one of The Fort's Fur Trade Potables, is a historic old western fur trade recipe. The concoction consists of a fine bourbon flavored with red pepper, tobacco and black gun powder, served neat.
Although it was a common practice to substantially dilute alcohol or whiskey at the destination, tales of a so-called trade whiskey at fur trading posts is a myth. The story usually goes that trade whiskey was created to make up for "losses" which occured while pack skinners hauled the whiskey up the mountains from either Taos or St. Louis. What is now referred to as trade whiskey did exist, but not until the post Civil War period. Recipes varied by region and including ingredients like red pepper, chewing topacco, molasses, river water, gun powder and rattlesnake heads. The tobacco was usually used to give trade whiskey an amber color--a concept that didn't exist until the 1840's when all distilled alcohol was colorless.
The Fort, located at 19192 Highway 8 in Morrison, was opened in 1963 by Samuel and Elizabeth Arnold. The Arnolds hired William Lumpkins, the top architect in adobe construction from Santa Fe, to turn the red rock property they bought in 1961 into an adobe castle inspired by Bent's Fort. The restaurant has remained in the family, serving Early West specialties ever since.
Bent's Old Fort, located in Otero County, Colorado, was built in 1833 by William and Charles Bent to trade with Southern Cheyenne and Arapaho Plains Indians and trappers for buffalo robes. For much of its 16-year history, the fort was the only major permanent settlement on the Santa Fe Trail between Missouri and the Mexican settlements. It was destroyed under mysterious circumstances in 1849.
National Register #06000585 (2006)