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Beat the heat


August 31, 2012

Lulu sangria at Cafe Lulu

Perspiration should be reserved for beading along the outside of a iced mug or glass. When beating summer’s heat, area mixologists have many tricks up their sleeves. Whether wanting chilled, twirled, mingled, shaken or stirred, ask and you shall receive.

The Wherehouse.
818 S. Water St.
(414) 383-7593

The Wherehouse not only offers one of the hottest dance floors in Milwaukee (regardless of the season), with its tango/salsa/rock nights, but it also has a spacious river frontage backyard for sipping a Summer Paradise. Prepared by mixologist Betty Vasquez, this soothing delight features a standard rum (or flavored Malibu if ratcheting up the fruitiness), with peach schnapps, triple sec and splashes of colorful orange, pineapple and cranberry juices for sweetness. Swirled over ice in a pint glass, Vasquez’s romantic beverage is garnished with an orange wedge and topped with a cherry. "Perfect," sighs every Adam to his Eve, as yachts cruise along the fringes of Walker’s Point.

Eric’s Porter-Haus
229 Wisconsin Ave., Waukesha
(262) 542-1300

For casual supper clubbing, Waukesha residents flock to Eric’s for porterhouse, ribeye, filet mignon and strip steak. No carnivore forgets to add bleu cheese or cracked peppercorns as deluxe complements to all that juicy tenderness. Neither does owner Eric Holm hold back on his summer drink specialties. His Moscow Mule has a punch delivered by a liberal serving of Svedka vodka (or any other label requested from the backbar), 7-Up, and fresh lime. The Mule is served in a chilly copper cup, excellent for cooling down on a steamy night. As for nonalcoholic beverages, Holm can amazingly reverse a traditional Cuban style daiquiri into a strawberry virgin merely by sans the rum. Blended with cracked ice and whipped cream, this smoothie becomes a drink of choice to turn wild into mild.

Cafe Benelux
346 N. Broadway
(414) 501-2500

Lolling atop the Benelux upper deck on a soft summer morn is what the word "kickback" truly symbolizes. Hearty coffee, a hefty weekend newspaper to peruse, friendly chat, invigorating juice and a monster Dutch-style crepe called a pannenkocken are well suited to a marvelous Sunday brunch. Rounding out the perfection is a Mo-Mosa concocted by bar manager Stacy Bemowski. She mingles Trocadero Brut Blanc de Blancs, that renowned fizzy champagne from the Savoie region of the French Alps, with Cuvee des Jacobins. The latter is a sour Belgian beer with a tart cherry kick. This sparkly wake-up resolves any lingering morning-after regrets. Served in a champagne glass, the bubbly comes garnished with a crimson, sweet maraschino.

Le R ve Patisserie & Café
7610 Harwood Ave.
(414) 778-3333

Assistant bar manager Julie Gostisha has just the thing for a hot afternoon in Tosa. Her Amour Rouge martini is sure to make life bearable when the heat melts asphalt. Included in this frosty wonder are muddled raspberries, passion fruit, lime juice, cranberry juice and Absolut Mandarin vodka. But let’s say it’s a rainy, cool p.m., when thoughts turn more cozy despite the midyear month. Le R ve’s own hot chocolate saves the day, concocted with award-winning, supremely smooth Valrhona chocolate from France’s Rhone Valley, plus milk and luxurious fresh cream. All dolled atop with additional whipped cream for even more silky decadence.

Cafe Lulu
2265 S. Howell Ave.
(414) 294-5858

A funky Lulu sangria by bar manager Chuy Contreras takes the intense flavor of a quality lambrusco, swirls it with triple sec, brandy and secret fruit juices. He then adds an avalanche of ice rocks in a flourish guaranteed to make summer bearable. His trad hand-muddled mojito fixin’s are also worth walking through the seasonal fire to quaff. Have two. After all, you’re so hot and they’re so cool.


This story ran in the June 2012 issue of: