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MV5BMTk5MjI4MzIxMl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTYwODU1MDQ5__V1_UY268_CR6,0,182,268_AL_Milwaukee, WI – March 28, 2016

It was an unusually warm spring day that found me in Milwaukee’s Eastside at dinner time not too long ago.  I have to admit that when I first moved to Milwaukee and heard people talk about the Eastside I really thought they were pulling my leg – I mean, c’mon, there is no east side to Milwaukee, it’s the lake for crying out loud!  I finally asked a coworker one day and received the explanation that it was the area east of the Milwaukee River.  Now that made sense!

Soooo, being in the neighborhood early evening for business led to staying there for dinner and then a cocktail (well, maybe two) at Fink’s.  I enjoy the combination of neighborhood, slighty dive atmosphere (including the pinball machines at the back), friendly bartenders and the great craft cocktails.  So while watching old black and white episodes of The Twilight Zone on the TV behind the bar I ordered a Big Trouble in Little Cynar from the seasonal drink menu.

What drew me in initially to the Big Trouble was the Old Overholt Rye (it’s been too long since I’ve had that) and the Cynar.  I’m on a bitter kick these days and Cynar, the bittersweet artichoke liqueur fits the bill nicely.  Rounding out the Manhattan style cocktail was Carpano Antica, a deep and luxurious sweet vermouth.

So, how was it?  Delicious!  So much so that I had two!  The whiskey is there on the front and complimented with a slightly bitter and deep, smokey flavor on the back end.

The next time you find yourself on Milwaukee’s Eastside, definitely check out Fink’s!

Cheers!

Milwaukee, WI – March 7, 2012

So I’m sitting at the bar and I hear, in this low, almost whispering voice, “Nice pants.”  I look around and there’s no one within ear shot, so I shrug it off and take another sip of my drink.  But then I hear the voice again, “Great looking haircut.”  Again, I look around and nothing.  I try to shrug it off, but when a few minutes later the voice asks “Have you lost weight?” I call the bartender over.

“Brett, I keep hearing this voice saying things like “nice pants” and “great haircut”.  What gives, are you screwing with me?”

Brett looks me right in the eye and tells me, “It’s the peanuts, they’re complimentary.”

One of the nice things about Bryant’s (South 9th and Lapham, Milwaukee) is that you don’t have to worry about either random hours or complimentary nuts distracting your taste buds from the cocktails.  Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had occasion to stop by and enjoy these two outstanding creations by Emily.

First is the Glamour Shot, pictured above.  When Emily asked what I was in the mood for I quickly answered gin, but that I didn’t want something run of the mill or a classic.  So, out came the Plymouth gin, Domaine de Canton liqueur, Cynar liqueur, bar syrup and lemon juice.  An interesting combination I thought, between the ginger Canton and the bitter Cynar, with is derived from, among other things, artichoke.  The result was a terrific cocktail that leads with the ginger of the Canton then quickly follows with a slightly bitter bite.  The bar syrup and lemon juice round out the drink and give it balance so that it’s boozy, but in a mellow way.  An excellent offering from Emily.

The second drink is her Milwaukee Manhattan.  This drink was designed for a contest that Emily had entered (and, incidently, won) for the best variation on the classic Manhattan.  Featuring Bulliet rye whiskey with the usual sweet and dry vermouths (making this on perfect) and both Agnostura and Peychauds bitters, the twist is the addition of Luxardo Maraschino liqueur (which I love!).  Again, a very well constructed cocktail that tasted incredible.  The cherry from the Luxardo was out in front on this one, with the sweet vermouth, bitters and rye filling in behind it.  This is a complex cocktail, with layers of flavors to be discovered.  Again, kudos to Emily for a job well done.

Cheers!

Day 285, Cocktails 283, 284 & 285

Nothing like a trip to Bryant’s to get caught up!  Brother Mark and I (along with another of Mark’s friends) stopped by there not too long ago for a Men’s League night.  We were delighted to find Emily, Michael and Katie Rose behind the bar.  That always means good things are in store for us!

My first was an effort from Emily, and it was fantastic!  Named the Robin’s Nest (see the picture), she used Hendrick’s gin, Domaine de Canton liqueur, lime juice, rich syrup and muddled cucumber, salt and pickled ginger to create a dazzling mix of ginger and cucumber flavors.  The rich syrup is fuller and, well, richer – and is made with demerara sugar instead of the regular white sugar I use in my bar syrup.  This was an outstanding drink from Emily and if you walk ito Bryant’s and find her behind the bar you really need to try one of these.

Next up was a no name cocktail from Michael that he put together to satisfy my craving for something in rye and orange flavors.  His cocktail included Sazerac rye whiskey, Aperol, orange bitters and Lillet Blanc.  A very tasty cocktail, this one had just the right mix of sweet orange and floral flavors that complimented the Sazerac extremetly well.  I enjoyed sipping this one as we bantered with each other and the other patrons at the bar.

My last drink of the night was a Katie Rose effort, and she put together a fantastic effort.  Following up on my rye and orange inclination, she used Sazerac rye, Aperol, Punt e Mes, Cynar, Reagan’s bitters, Angostura bitters and lemon juice.  You would think between the bitters, Cynar and Punt e Mes that this would be a very bitter, difficult drink.  It wasn’t, though.  The Aperol helps sweeten it back up, counteracting the bitter flavor of the Cynar (which is a liqueur made from artichoke among other things) and the Punt e Mes, which is a bitter Italian vermouth.  The flavors in this cocktail are bold and strong, yet also work well together, creating a taste explosion in my mouth.  Well done Katie, especially considering she overcame a sprained thumb which made shaking painful for her.

If you are in Milwaukee and have not been to Bryant’s you really do need to try it out – you won’t be disappointed.

Cheers!