By Kristina LeVan
What was once old is new again, and the cocktail scene is quickly coming to the forefront of Wisconsin’s craft movement. Today’s mixologists reimagine tried-and-true recipes while perfecting the classics.
Whether you pull up an upholstered stool at 75-year-old bar, or relax in a new lounge, sipping on a handcrafted drink at one of these Wisconsin craft cocktail bars can’t be beat.
Titletown USA takes pride in its success – whether it’s celebrating a Super Bowl win or a well-crafted cocktail. The Libertine in downtown Green Bay serves up a trend-forward, flavorful drink list in a Prohibition-style setting.
Dedicated to using the only finest ingredients, the staff at The Libertine mix up new twists on classics – for that try the Wisco Old Fashioned – or new creations like the Whiskbroom.
As an added bonus, visitors in the Green Bay area can make a quick, 10-minute drive to check out Proof, The Libertine’s sister restaurant and bar in De Pere. The menu includes appetizers, full plates desserts, and of course, the same quality craft cocktail offered just up the road.
For a mix of past and present, head to Bryant’s in Milwaukee. From the outside, the city’s oldest cocktail lounge may not conjure up images of a classic barroom, but inside the décor is anything but average. Visitors are greeted with plush velvet walls, dim lighting and cozy leather booths.
One thing guests won’t find is a menu. Despite having more than 450 recipes, Bryant’s has never offered up a drink menu. A quick conversation with the bar staff about your favorite drinks and flavors will lead you to a new libatious experience.
Just off Madison’s capitol square is the city’s craft cocktail hot-spot. At Merchant, craft isn’t just a trend, it’s a passion. The restaurant and bar works directly with local farmers, distillers, and wine and beer producers to offer the freshest and newest ingredients.
Merchant’s mixologists are classically trained and create delicious seasonal concoctions that grace the rotating portion of their menu, which also boasts classic cocktails and bar favorites. Guests can indulge in snacks, small plates and full dinner meals while sipping a quintessentially craft cocktail.
Believe it or not, this 100-year-old restored home in Ellison Bay is one of Door County’s newest dining establishments. While the Wickman House focuses on food – the seafood is a must-try – it also offers a diverse and surprisingly lengthy cocktail menu.
Diners who love the classics can sip on a sazerac or negroni, but those looking to spice up their selection can choose a drink with more modern flare, like the “el tigre.” With view of the surrounding prairie land, the sights, service and, most importantly, flavors, Wickman House doesn't disappoint.