Bottles of maple syrup and stout

How Ray’s Is Turning Barrel-aged Stout Into Frozen Slushie Goodness

The folks at Ray’s Wine and Spirits like to put their two slushie machines to good use. On Sunday, those machines will be doling out barrel-aged stout inspired treats.

There’s a lot of pressure when you’re tasked with creating a barrel-aged stout inspired boozy slushie to honor a brewery with a world-class barrel-aging program.

Ray’s Wine & Spirits (8930 W. North Ave.) handed that project over to general manager Rob Zellermayer, asking him to concoct an icy adult treat for the Central Waters Pre-Great Taste Parking Lot Party, which takes place on Sunday, Aug. 5, from noon to 5 p.m. The event also features nearly 20 Central Waters taps, including a handful of extremely rare brews.

“Obviously this comes from celebrating Central Waters and a desire to kind of raise the stakes,” said Zellermayer. “We figured we had to do a slushie. As far as a maple barrel stout as inspiration, I guess I can only say that it lends itself to that flavor. It had to be a barrel-aged beer slushie, right?”

Rob Zellermayer pouring bottles
Mixologist Rob Zellermayer making something great. (Photo courtesy of Rob Zellermayer.)

Right indeed. Zellermayer set up shop in the large kitchen of Iron Grate BBQ (4125 S. Howell Ave.) and went to work on a recipe that sounds pretty delicious. It begins with a reduction of Central Waters Barrel-Aged Stout. B&E’s Tress Bourbon Barrel-Aged Maple Syrup is added, as is a simple syrup infused with fenugreek seeds to enhance the maple flavor. It’s topped off by Maker’s Mark bourbon, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, and Bittercube Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters. All of that goes into a magic slushie machine, and the masses are appeased.

“It’s been fun as a fan of Central Waters and really exciting to make it as a bartender,” said Zellermayer.

The drink was cleverly dubbed the “I Know RAY-nello,” a slightly cheeky nod to Central Waters brewer and co-founder Anello Mollica.

“We still haven’t had a response from Anello on how he feels about [the name],” added Zellermayer.

Those who attend the parking lot party can ask Mollica in person. He’s being put to work by the Ray’s staff manning the grill and overseeing a few hundred sausages from Kettle Range Meat Company that were made with Central Waters beer.

“We wouldn’t let (Mollica) do anything else other than work,” explained Zellermayer. “He doesn’t just come as the face of the brewery. He genuinely enjoys these kinds of events.”

Ray’s Central Waters Pre-Great Taste Parking Lot Party

Where: Parking lot of Ray’s Wine & Spirits (8930 W. North Ave.)
When: Sunday, Aug. 5; noon to 5 p.m.

Specialty Beer Tapping Schedule

– Noon: Cassian Sunset Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout, Rum Barrel-Aged Coconut Porter, New England IIPA, Unsettled New England IPA, Vanilla Bean Stout, Rose Riviere Wine-Barrel Aged Belgian Blonde, Brewhouse Coffee Stout, Peruvian Morning Barrel-Aged Imperial Coffee Stout
– 1:30 p.m.: XX Anniversary Barrel-Aged Stout
– 3 p.m.: Black Gold Barrel-Aged Stout



Dan Murphy has been reviewing bars for Milwaukee Magazine for roughly 15 years. He’s been doing his own independent research in them for close to 25.