18 Top Cocktails in Milwaukee

The very best drinks in town, as chosen by our discerning (hiccup) edit staff. Bottoms up!

Moscow Mule

Great Lakes Distillery Tasting Room
Made with MKE ingredients, GLD’s Rehorst vodka and Top Note ginger beer, freshened up with lime juice and garnished with a slice of lime. The copper mug keeps it cold. (TT)


Cloud Red
The tequila-based staple is enhanced by fresh-squeezed limes and the Spanish Licor 43 Cuarenta y Tres, for a smooth, sweet finish. (TT)

The Vesper Martini

Mason Street Grill
I like a good basic martini, and this is the closest Mason Street’s bar menu comes to one. The Vesper has both Bombay Sapphire gin and vodka, along with lillet blanc, a French cousin to vermouth. (TT)


Vermutería 600
This offbeat take substitutes tequila for gin, and Suze, a bitter French apertif, for Campari. Smooth and flavorful, it prompts me to throw caution to the wind and say, “I’ll have another.” (CN)

Tanqueray and Tonic

Tre Rivali
You know the old rock song, “Wild Thing”? Three-chord perfection. Similarly, this drink is three-ingredient perfection: Tanqueray plus Fever-Tree tonic served over big cubes of slowly melting ice. It makes my heart sing. (CN)

Gentleman Caller

They describe it as a deconstructed old fashioned, but I think of it as a reconstructed new fashioned. Bourbon-based, with dashes of orange curaçao, maraschino liqueur and Amaro di Angostura. Ask for it by name, as it is no longer on the menu. (CN)

Light as a Feather

A light, smooth little number in a wispy shade of lavender, Fruity Plymouth Sloe Gin, spruce/mint syrup and lillet blanc keep this elegant concoction on the sweet side; lime pernod and herby St. George Terroir gin create a subtly spicy effect. (AC)

New York Sour

Supper in the Shorecrest Hotel
What happens when a whiskey sour fools around with red wine. Tart lemon and spicy-sour Old Forester bourbon softened by simple syrup and fruity red wine, “floating” at the top. Mix it up with the straw to fully distribute the wine. (AC)

Vermouth Cocktail

Vermutería 600
Showcasing house-made vermouth, this whimsical, fizzy drink adds housemade orange bitters and San Pellegrino Limonata and serves it in a vintage kid’s thermos with a Red Vine licorice straw. (AC)


Boone & Crockett
Spicy rye whiskey, Peychaud’s bitters, turbinado sugar and lemon peel meet bittersweet absinthe. A N’Awlins favorite. (RS)

Jazz Estate Old Fashioned

Jazz Estate
The tasty tipple of Woodford Reserve bourbon, Averna amaro, Angostura bitters and orange zest finishes on a strong note of Hawthorne Coffee. Smooth, baby. (RS)

Kill Joy

Two “high-flavor, high-strength” rums balance with falernum, lime bitters and a dash of “danger” to create this smooth offering to the Tiki gods. (RS)

The Kismet

Bryant Sharpe created the Kismet, a flaming Southern Comfort cocktail cut with lemon juice and specialty syrups, one fateful day in the early 1940s – a landmark day, we say. (LA)


Not too sweet or tart, Elsa’s beloved Cosmo – made with citrus-infused vodka, Cointreau, cranberry juice and a house-made citrus sour mix – goes down easy. (LA)

The Kingsway

The Phoenix
Anyone with a penchant for smooth, slightly floral cocktails will be royally impressed by the Kingsway, a cognac concoction elevated by the addition of Campari, orange bitters, honey and lemon – served on the rocks with a slice of orange and cherry. (LA)

Jalapeño Paloma

Story Hill BKC
Squeezing all those grapefruits and blood oranges to blend with a flawless jalapeño tequila is worth the effort. A pretty and pink drink on tap, with a short-lived mild, warming spice. A rosemary sprig and lime wedge hover on the glass’ lip, just waiting to be dunked. (BK)

Ultima Lucha Dos

Tin Widow
Along with Ancho Reyes and Stolen Smoked Rum, a trace of Madagascar vanilla adds richness to the tart lemon, with a dash of peppery bitters at the end. Exit the bar cloaked (wink) in the smell of Grandpa’s smoking jacket. (BK)

Story Hill Bloody (Veggie Infused)

Story Hill BKC
A chorus of vinegar and spices slides through your straw past a crown of meat and cheese. Chase it down with the complimentary High Life shorty. (BK)

Meet the Judges

Photos by Tyler Yomantas

The Ultimate Milwaukee Drinking Guide

‘I’ll Drink to That’ appears in the December 2017 issue of Milwaukee Magazine.

Find it on newsstands beginning November 27, or buy a copy at milwaukeemag.com/shop.

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