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Culinary concoctions

Photos by Dan Bishop

July 2014

Area bartenders are blending food and booze into recipes that are as complex and delicious as some of the most delicately crafted dishes coming out of the restaurant kitchen.

Bloody Mary by Josh Pietrykowski
Black Sheep

Pietrykowski starts by sautťing down sweet yellow onions and celery in extra virgin olive oil. Then he adds garlic and fresh Roma tomatoes, and a touch of locally made honey. The process of sauteing and cooking down the vegetables takes about one hour. Then, itís cooled, pureed and strained, with a touch of tomato paste added for color. A Polish vodka is added, along with a celery stick, a pickle and a beef straw. "People can taste its freshness ó they know it doesnít come from a mix," Pietrykowski says.

Bourbon Cherryboiler by Jeffery Coyle

New Richmond Border bourbon gets fortified with Lone Spruce Farms maple syrup and Maurin cherry liqueur before being topped off with Lakefrontís Riverwest Stein for a new take on the classic boilermaker. "Since the hotel [Milwaukee Marriott Downtown] is newly constructed, and Millioke is housed in the old part of the building, I fashioned the cocktail menu the same way: taking classic cocktails and putting new twists on them," says food and beverage manager Coyle.



The Poor Ira by Mike McDonald
Blue Jacket

First, a thyme tincture is made by infusing vodka with fresh thyme, then bar manager McDonald makes a kykeon syrup ó a concoction of pearl barley, honey and Riesling wine. The syrup and tincture are shaken up with North Shore No. 11 gin, Clear Creek pear brandy and some freshly squeezed lemon juice, along with Peychaudís and Bittercube Jamaican No. 2 bitters.





Whiskey3 by Joe Elmergreen
Branded at The Iron Horse Hotel

Elmergreen marinates Bulleit Bourbon with pecans and Madagascar Bourbon vanilla beans. "I worked on this at home. I infused different batches for 12 hours, for 24 hours, for 48 hours and for 72 hours," Elmergreen explains. The 24-hour batches were the best. Bar manager Ellie Harbeck suggested adding some house-made saltedcaramel syrup, Bittercube Blackstrap bitters and an ice cube that has a tiny sliver of orange frozen in it. The result is a drink that "first tastes like Grandmaís pecan sandies, but as the ice melts, it tastes more like pecan pie," Elmergreen says.




Beet Daiquiri by Courtney Kelley
Odd Duck

This summer cocktail created by Odd Duckís head bartender starts with a beet shrub or a "drinkable vinegar." Itís mixed with rhum agricole, a bit of silver rum and lime juice. "Itís got this beautiful, gorgeous color," describes Melissa Buchholz, Odd Duck co-owner. "Itís for someone who is adventurous and likes savory desserts. Itís a very earthy, vegetal daiquiri."



This story ran in the July 2014 issue of: