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The craft cocktail movement

Bars, wine, beer, cocktails, drunken escapades

The craft cocktail movement

Postby narcoleptish » Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:35 pm

I give credit to the recent Isthmus article for pulling me out of my stubborn ways and venturing to Merchant for a taste of something new. ... icle=35916

I admit to initially rolling my eyes at the craft thing and feeling like it was going to be just another bartending phase, like after the movie "Cocktail", except with fewer broken bottles. Then I thought of how fucking boring it was in my 17 years of pouring drinks, when the most adventuresome thing anyone ordered was a Long Island. I served mostly beer, Captain/coke, and Jack/coke. I would jump at the chance to grab the muddler and make an old fashioned. During slow times I would always try to come up with something new but the interesting ingredients available were slim to none and bringing in your own would probably have been discouraged. So I realized that I might have been one of these guys if timing were different.

With that in mind I took a friend to Merchant and ordered up a Valkyrie...
Milagro Reposado Tequila, Angostura Bitters, Fresh Lemon Juice, Fresh Lime Juice, Housemade Epazote Tincture

It was excellent and even though I've balked at high priced drinks in the past (it's $9) I'm okay with occasionally trading this for the unnecessary ability to have six drinks at a sitting.

Other thoughts?.....
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Re: The craft cocktail movement

Postby rrnate » Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:45 pm

Some friends dragged me to Merchant despite my fairly long hissy fit about how I DID NOT WANT FANCY COCKTAILS AND DIDN'T WANT TO MINGLE WITH YUPPIES about a year ago.

However, once there, I had to pretty quickly admit that the cocktails are tremendous - pricing is definitely higher than what I'm used to in Madison, but pretty on par with what you'd pay in a larger city and they're pretty dang great.
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Re: The craft cocktail movement

Postby jjoyce » Thu Feb 23, 2012 12:49 pm

I have a hard time hearing the word "tincture" without snorting, but how can you not admire a commitment to quality and care? When it comes to some of these "craft" cocktails, the from-scratch ingredients and micro-distilled booze result in something that's really different and interesting.

I'll admit to enjoying the drinks I've had at Merchant (I typically don't have more than one before switching to beer) and Underground, but the cocktails they make at the Old Sugar distillery are also amazing and served with a little less ceremony, if that's what bothers some people.

I was really lucky to have dinner at 43 North last night where they mixed me a Corpse Reviver, something I'd usually never order. Delicious!
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Re: The craft cocktail movement

Postby kimm » Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:08 pm

Even at craft cocktail establishments, I still feel like a jacka@@ for ordering such a labor intensive drink, particularly when it's busy. I need therapy, I guess.
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Re: The craft cocktail movement

Postby narcoleptish » Thu Feb 23, 2012 2:11 pm

Oh, you are not alone. I am almost incapable of ordering a bloody mary and will usually try to send someone else for it. As a bartender bloodys didn't bother me but I could not hide my annoyance when someone, on a packed night, would order a tray of ridiculous multi-ingredient goofball shots. One person, when explaining what was needed, got as far as each shot requiring its own plate and circle of whipped cream before I shook my head and walked away.

jjoyce wrote:I have a hard time hearing the word "tincture" without snorting

Yeah, I got a little hung up on that one too. Even if I had ended up as a craft cocktail conjurer, I'm pretty sure I never would have found myself discussing the provenance of my tincture, earnestly at least..
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