Like any invented holiday, Cocktail Week must, sadly, come to an end. For this bittersweet occasion, Robin Room opens its doors to all, for one final tip of the hat to cocktails and the women and men who create them. Featuring bourbon, rye, vodka, and gin from the 45th Parallel distillery, as well as Alessandro Monachello’s “is good for you” pizza.
Expect a 1-hour Yoga Practice at The Studio, for all levels. Absolute beginners encouraged, as well as long-time yoga practitioners. The session will begin with a short discussion on lifestyle balance both at work and play.
Head over to Natt Spil for what promises to be a certifiable blast into our disco past as we sip on Sauza Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila and Cruzan Single Barrel and Black Strap Rum cocktails while sampling some of Natt Spil’s finest dim sum. Food, booze, and disco balls spun by DJs VPS and Zukas. It’s been a long week: treat yourself.
Bar Manager Amanda McGinley and her crack team have put together a wonderfully light and revitalizing menu. Pulling deep from the French aperitif tradition with options that wake up the appetite and refresh the senses, this will be midday treat not to be missed. It’s brunch...It’s not quite breakfast, it’s not quite lunch, but it comes with a slice of melon.
Perhaps it’s been awhile since you last took a jello shot; perhaps you consider yourself something of a connoisseur. Either way you’re going to want to get yourself downstairs, to the basement of the Argus, where local bartenders will be throwing down in this Patron Silver-steeped jello shot competition. The audience – and a pastry chef or two – will decide which master of viscosity will leave with $250. There will be madness; there will be hashtags; there will be so much jiggling.
Cocktail Week merges with Badger mania as Bucky takes on the Ohio State Buckeyes, and the parking lot of Rocky Rococo will reflect this convergence with a tailgate and viewing party unlike any other. The Robin Room’s Chad Vogel will ensure attendees have plenty of Captain Morgan’s Cold Coffee Cola, Bulleit Old Fashioned Sours, autumnal Crown Crown cocktails and Cold As Ice Smirnoff collins. DJ Nick Nice spins the jams that keep Bucky fierce.
Supermarket Sweep returns in a bold new way as participating bartenders are sent charging through Madison’s nationally renowned Saturday Farmer’s Market with a fistful of dollars to be used on cocktail ingredients (and spicy cheese bread). Once they gather what they need, bartenders hurry back to Field Table to execute new spins on the classic Bee’s Knees, using The Botanist Gin, itself conceived with 22 foraged Islay botanicals.
Death's Door master distiller Jason Veal's longstanding friendship with Oliver's Chef Patrick McCormick was forged working alongside each other in Madison kitchens. Both their thoughtful perspectives will help inform the refreshing Death's Door brunch cocktails bar manager Ricky Pajewski pairs with McCormick's elegantly hearty New American brunch staples.
This late night collaboration series formed the foundation of the first Madison Cocktail Week. Now it's tradition.
Dave Biefer and his Mezze bar staff step behind the bar at Merchant and bring their mediterranean flair to bear on cocktails featuring the Terlato Artisan Spirits portfolio.
Head to The Old Fashioned for a family style fish fry with all the fixin’s, or to Julep, where the usual Friday Southern Catfish Fry will be well under way. Both locations will be mixing a variety of new and classic cocktails using Great Northern Spirits.
Perhaps you knew that Wisconsin winemakers are actually allowed to distill brandy? After the success of its first few Coquard brandy releases, Wollersheim didn’t rest on its laurels. Here, the MCW bus will pick you up downtown at Merchant and whisk you to Wollersheim’s brand new distillery, where you’ll enjoy a delicious dinner crafted by chefs Evan Dannells and Dan Fox of Merchant and Heritage Tavern. Bar managers Thor Messer and Clint Sterwald will pair cocktails featuring the new distillery’s absinthe, gin, and just released 2016 bottling of Coquard, the brandy that started it all.
Vladimir Nabokov delighted in the peculiarities of all manner of Americana, but the Russian writer never held forth on the traditional Midwestern fish fry. To our knowledge, at least. Tip Top bar manager Justin Meyers and his crew seek to rectify that with this Tito’s happy hour: featuring the “Pale Fire,” “Vivian Darkbloom,” and “Speak, Memory.”
If a key party breaks out in a church basement, and Garrison Keillor isn’t around to narrate, did it happen at all? This late-night collaboration series forgoes the lutefisk and packs all the midwest charm, mischief and cutting-edge cocktail talent we could into the coziest subterranean venues. Guests from Chicago, Milwaukee, and Minneapolis take over the Tornado’s Corral Room, Lucille’s vault & Madison’s downstairs lounge.
No hiding in the dugout: come one, come all to the 2016 Midwest Wiffle Invitational! Cheer for your favorite Madison, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Minneapolis drink-slingers as they compete for the title of Wiffle Champion, and the honor of passing around a shiny replica trophy when they get back home.
Gib’s and Merchant turn their bars over to some of the state’s finest bartenders. Just off the Capitol, Jacki Walczak (Lucille), Meghan McCormick (Heritage Tavern), Amanda McGinley (Sardine), Marilyn Matt (Underground Food Collective), Mariah Renz (Julep), Megan Tuohy, Annie Leahy (Robin Room) & Jenny Griep (Osteria Papavero) join Devan Friedl at Merchant to sling Bol’s Genever cocktails. Lauren Franchi, the mind behind inclusive dance party Miss Connections, holds down the music. For a change of pace, let the MCW shuttle bus will whisk you from Merchant to Gib’s, where bartender Kym Reindl will transform the second floor bar with the help of Katie Rose (Milwaukee’s Goodkind) the Nonino sisters’ sublime grappa, some sporty-spicy 90s pop, a projector, and DJ Glynis Fisher.
Alex Kjell, a steadily rising star of Madison’s beverage culture, and her J. Henry Bourbon cocktail pairings for this four-course dinner will testify exactly why. J. Henry proprietor Liz Henry, another of the boldest women we know, will be on hand to drop whiskey knowledge and dispense life advice.
Enjoy palate-priming cocktails conceived by bar manager Jenny Griep with Francesco Mangano’s small-plate shareable Italian fare. Griep’s cocktails will draw upon importer Fasel Shenstone’s portfolio, unique in its laser-focus upon the kind of aromatized wines that practically beg to be enjoyed in convivial afternoon cocktails. Your $20 ticket covers your first cocktail and all you can eat with your hands.
Join local industry professionals for a panel discussion of the ways we encounter and overcome gender inequality in the bartending world and how this relates to a bar or restaurant’s ability to foster a truly welcoming, safe and inspiring environment for staff.
The Olympics might be over, but we’re all for keeping the spandex stretching, the bedazzlers dazzling – and the competitive juices flowing. You might be mildly curious how your favorite bartenders would fare on stage, battling to conceive the best Reyka, Monkey Shoulder, Flor de Caña, Hudson, Ancho Reyes, or Milagro Tequila cocktails, but what happens when they do so with a costume budget, the A/V support of an iconic music venue, and mixology takes a backseat to “chemistry” on the score cards?
Cocktail Week kicks off with an homage to that classic trio: tacos, Tuesdays, and tequila. Pasqual’s will be featuring Casa Noble’s organic Lowland agave spirits, and serving a street food-inspired taco menu to enjoy with flights of the blanco, reposado, and añejo expressions. Cap it all off with a cocktail special that leavens the añejo’s cocoa-praline notes with lime. Call it dessert, or the perfect prelude to the next event.