Truly Stacked Cocktail Menu
a Menomonie eatery’s ambitious dive into specialty cocktails
"I had Pop Rocks all over in my hair for Cinco de Mayo. They exploded in the drink, then they were just all over the place."
Just to be clear, Stacked Eatery’s co-owner Stacy Gregerson is talking about a margarita ... with Pop Rocks. It’s the perfect example of the irreverent yet classy brand that has come to define Stacked Eatery’s unique food, and now its cocktails.
The bar side of Stacked has been open for about seven months, but to some degree it’s a well-kept gem of a secret. “People still come in and don’t even know that we have our liquor license,” Stacy said. To some degree, that suits Stacy and business partner Tosha Larson just fine.
“(The cocktails follow) the same concept as our food,” Tosha said. “Some of it is inspired by comfort food, but we can go from high-concept to fair-type food – but done well with whole ingredients. That's our idea for our drinks, too.”
The creation of these cocktails – though most from the main menu have roots in supper club and Prohibition era classic drinks and liquors – doesn’t follow a linear process. When they’re asked how a cocktail originated, Stacy and Tosha have a unique story for each.
“Using local ingredients – sometimes that will be the inspiration for a cocktail, then the cocktail will carry over into the food, or vice versa. It depends sometimes on mood, or something that I've made at home that I thought was really good,” Stacy said. “I have a sense when it comes to food, my olfactory sense, and tasting – I just have an idea of what's going to work. So when it comes to mixing or making new cocktails, it's like how I don't use recipes when I cook. You draw inspiration from a lot of different things, then you just kind of know how it’s going to go together.”
On occasion, Stacked’s cocktails even begin with the glassware. “We found these pineapple shaped shot glasses, and we were like ‘We have to get these glasses,’ so then we had to figure out what to put in those glasses,” said Tosha. Turns out, alcoholic shaved ice was a perfect fit.
Stacked’s main cocktail menu, however, anchors itself around revitalized classics. “Our gin and tonic, it's part tonic, part club soda, because we feel like a lot of time they're really sweet,” said Tosha. “Once we came up with a lot of the basic cocktails, we tried to round out the flavors of the menu with different kinds of fruits or herbs. We had the Bellini, which had peach and lavender, so we try to come up with flavors that aren’t really common.”
In addition to rare flavors, Stacked also aims to reintroduce ingredients that were once common in drinks, like egg whites. “I've had a lot of people who turn their nose up,” said Stacy. “They're like, ‘Ugh, egg in a cocktail?’ but it's like, you're not drinking egg white. Egg white causes the beautiful froth that you get on top, with sugar and lemon juice – you get a meringue on top of your cocktail, and it's so beautiful and it tastes amazing.”
The bestselling Sloe Gin Fizz features a frothy egg white cap, as does Stacked’s breakfast cocktail. “It ends up tasting kind of like orange juice,” said Stacy, “but it's made with a whole egg, and then a gin that's infused with Earl Grey – that one's really good. I'm really happy with how it turned out. It's beautiful, it's called a Golden Fizz.”
These cocktails, both old-school and specialty, are slowly gaining traction, and Stacked now sees loyal customers come in weekly to sample new menu items. The dynamic duo keeps their focus always on their customers and on upholding Stacked’s image of quality and class without pretension.
“We’re trying to do a really great job,” Stacy said. “We’re focusing on what we do and what we do best.”