From Farm to Glass

the freshest ingredients make the freshest cocktails

Thom Fountain, photos by Andrea Paulseth

eau claire’s ecdc has started its own small cocktail menu infusing coffee with booze. the cocktails push the bounds of your normal caffeine-laden experience,
Eau Claire’s ECDC has started its own small cocktail menu infusing coffee with booze. The cocktails push the bounds of your normal caffeine-laden experience.

"A bar shouldn’t be considered any different from a kitchen," Megan Arts – the manager at Dive and The Informalist – told me. “You have a series of ingredients and it’s how you use them to create the drinks.”

And with that means that the best drinks come from the highest quality, freshest ingredients. That’s something that Dive, The Informalist, and other local establishments have taken to heart. Behind Arts’ lead, her bar staff has made it a priority to hunt and gather local ingredients to bring their drinks to the next level.

These fresh, local ingredients show up all over the menu, but were most prominently on display this summer when Dive did a weekly “shrub” drink based on what they could forage or find at the Farmers Market. A “shrub” is a drink made with vinegar and a fruit or vegetable syrup – such as elderberry, or beets – mixed with a base liquor and often soda. They’re a nice, refreshing drink perfect for summer when there are plenty of local flavors to choose from.

The popular Agave Maria Cocktail at Dive.
The popular Agave Maria Cocktail at Dive.

“A lot of times with the shrubs, (bartender) Peter Diedrick would just go to the Farmers Market and see what was there, bring it back to the kitchen, and then we’d all sit around and shoot of ideas,” Arts said. The immediacy of foraging for in-season flavors keeps the menu fresh and gives a variety to new customers coming in to try something.

“It’s about keeping it really fun and fresh and new,” Arts said.

The bars at The Lismore aren’t the only ones focusing on local, fresh ingredients. The Local Lounge and The Lakely both use gardens and fruit from on site and from local farmers for drink recipes and garnishes. “The possibility of making so many different types of drinks is there,” Arts said. “It’s all about making the customer happy. They might not have known it’s what they wanted until they get here.”

Craft of Cocktails is sponsored by:

Johnny's Italian Steakhouse
Holiday Inn
South I-94

Craft of Cocktails is sponsored by:

Johnny's Italian Steakhouse
Holiday Inn
South I-94