Part science lab, part speakeasy, Dock18 will open to the public this weekend. The “cocktail lab,” as owners call it, focuses on experimentation and features local products Twisted Path spirits and Bittercube bitters. Dock 18 is located on the first floor of Bay View’s Lincoln Warehouse (2018 S. 1st St.) where both products are produced.
“When we moved facilities from Madison to the Lincoln Warehouse in Milwaukee, we were pleasantly surprised to find out Twisted Path Distillery was in the warehouse, too,” says Ira Koplowitz, co-founder of Bittercube. “We have collaborated at trade shows and cocktail classes, so this was a natural progression.”
I got a sneak peek of the intimate space before Christmas that only holds about 20 people. Brian Sammons, owner and distiller at Twisted Path, fielded my questions as I stared in amazement at his efficient operation. He’s a one-man show, distilling and bottling small-batch organic spirits (vodka, gin and rum for now) since 2014. He is also barreling rye whiskey that still needs to age for about another year. Sammons adds this about the partnership, “Both companies do things from scratch and love experimentation, so this should be a great collaboration.”
Bittercube has been garnering national attention since it began concocting its signature bitters, a staple ingredient for craft cocktails, in 2009. Founders Nicholas Kosevich and Ira Koplowitz got their start in Chicago and began formulating and tweaking the lineup that is now the six varieties of Bittercube bitters.
The plan is for the cocktail menu to change weekly, showcasing Twisted Path spirits, Bittercube bitters and a variety of homemade syrups and liqueurs. The Dock 18 Old Fashioned, Tropical Void #18, Cyclopia Sour and Punch in the Heart are just a few of the original concoctions available to sample right now.
“We’re excited to start making drinks come true at the Lincoln Warehouse and to be experimenting and tinkering along the way,” says Koplowitz. He will also spin records as he mixes drinks.
Dock 18 will be open Thursday and Friday 5 p.m. – 12 a.m., Saturday 1 p.m. – 12 a.m., and Sunday 1 – 5 p.m. Prices range from $7 – $9 for cocktails and tours of the distillery will be available by appointment. Dock18 will also offer cocktail classes taught by Bittercube staff.