Shake Up Your Cocktails With Local Ingredients
it’s time to up your cocktail game before the holidays are in full swing, and what better way to do it than with Wisco-made ingredients?
author & photos by McKenna Scherer
In theory, you can visit just about any grocery store (or Kwik Trip) and snag at least a few ingredients to make a cocktail with. In practice, though, we love to shop and support local – that’s where all the cool stuff is anyway. Here are a few local faves to supply your holiday cocktail concoctions.
Maple Syrup for… Cocktails?
Yes, cocktail maple syrup may be how one chooses to summarize the state of Wisconsin in one item. If you haven’t heard of it before, you have now: Tapped, founded by the Solin family who first settled in Wisconsin back in 1917, tapped into the maple syrup-making game decades ago and hasn’t looked back. One of their products includes cocktail syrups, available in varieties like whiskey barrel-aged maple syrup, cherry bark + vanilla bitters infused syrup, old-fashioned cocktail syrup, and more.
Bittercube Bitters + Cocktail Sticks
Handmade in Milwaukee, Bittercube was founded in 2009 by two bartenders who made it their mission to create the most distinctive, delicious lineup of bitters in the world. They’ve been featured in the New York Times, Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food, NPR, Bon Appétit, Playboy, and more. Their bitters lineup is plentiful, and a variety pack of ’em is available at The Local Store featuring Bolivar, Orange, Blackstrap, Jamaican No. 1, and more. Plus, they offer Cocktail Cedar Sticks, an alternative to flamed citrus peels and other need-to-flame garnishes, ridding you of that butane smell or risk of fire. "Beyond flamed citrus oil, use a cocktail cedar to smoke a glass, or as a unique garnish. You can even use the charred cedar nubs to infuse spirits," Bittercube’s website shares.
Appropriately named, Siren Shrub’s Sophisticated Mixer products are exactly what they sound like – and more. Siren Shrubs is women-owned and Wisconsin-based, growing in popularity among both drinkers and non-drinkers, their Sophisticated Mixer flavors a smash hit.
One of them, the Tart Cherry Sipping Vinegar, is made with Door County cherries and described as having a “tangy yet slightly sweet palate” on their website, and made with just three ingredients (tart cherries, organic apple cider vinegar, and organic cane sugar). Other flavors include their Maple Ginger Sophisticated Mixer, Lemon Grass Mixer, and Honeycrisp Mixer.
The Best Bloody Duo
If you read that in a British accent, you’re funny, but we’re not talkin’ that type of bloody. The Bloody Mary is a drinkable art form, and in Wisconsin, it’s a serious art form too. Nan’s Naughty and Nice Bloody Mary Mix is created in Hudson, Wisconsin, and both its original and spicy varieties are award-winning favorites across the nation. With less than 10 ingredients and gluten-free, either variety is sure to conquer your thirst for a Bloody.
Top off your Bloody glass with Forest Floor Foods’ Bloody Mary Spiced Rimmer Salt, the Wisconsin-based company a producer of a ton of different snacks and sippers like stuffed olives, dirty martini mix, and more. The spiced rim salt is described as having “A little tomato flare accented with the perfect blend of seasonings.” Ooh-la-la.
We’ve all got our favorites, but here are a handful of Wisconsin-made liquors you can buy in the Chippewa Valley:
Made in Chippewa Falls and the Chippewa River Distillery’s exclusive alcohol, Trumie’s vodka is handcrafted and offers a huge variety of flavors, and not your average ones, either. Trumie’s offers dill vodka, garlic, horseradish, blueberry, strawberry, espresso vodka, and more. If there isn’t a vodka for you in the Trumie lineup, there might not be anywhere.
Made on the banks of the Baraboo River on the edge of the Driftless Area, Driftless Glen also makes a variety of liqueurs like their WisconGin, five-year reserve brandy, cucumber vodka, and more. Their bottles are as classy as their liquor is tasty.
Door County Cherry Vodka
Made using the finest Wisco ingredients, Central Standard’s award-winning Door County Cherry Vodka is handcrafted and infused with Door County cherries, curbed with fresh Wisconsin honey.
All of the above Wisco-made cocktail ingredients are available at The Local Store for purchase, if not from other suppliers in the Chippewa Valley area.