Day 22 of 2015: Craft Cocktails and Mason Jars

I’m not much of a drinker, as anyone who knows me well will tell you. However, this has not prevented me from sampling various wines or beers (especially local) and appreciating a well crafted cocktail. Or having a fully stocked bar for making drinks. Perhaps we should have more guests over. Something to consider once we finish our remodeling…

This week was restaurant week here in Madison,  WI; [ and on Tuesday we went to Merchant. Along with a wonderfully diverse selection of appetizers and entrées,  there is an outstanding line up of newly imagined and old school classic drinks that could suit any food choice or taste. The menu has a character all its own and includes the back story on many of it’s unique offerings. We had fun perusing the liquor wall they have in house prior to being seated; and continued to be amazed as we poured over the beverage menu. In the spirit of restaurant week (and perhaps because it was my dinner companion’s first visit) on top of the initial cocktails we both chose to start the meal, “Fig on the First Date” and “Blood and Sand” we were served a server selected item “The Sun Never Sets” to thank us for our patronage during the dessert course. If you are looking for a fun place to try something new, check out Merchant!

We’ve been on an exploratory kick with the art of beverage crafting, perhaps a few too many episodes of “Bar Rescue”? During the holidays, I came across this book at work while updating a Holiday display.  It reminded me of my time in the South, and I was assembling a cocktail themed gift to compliment our home bar, so it fit the bill in two regards.  Full disclosure, I bought a book without opening the cover or reading the synopsis…



Later on, I saw a Mason jar cocktail shaker JUST like the one pictured above, again without looking at the packaging or product summary.  (I am sucker for crafts and projects that are based on Mason jars, and once I saw this beauty I knew it was just the right thing to round out the gift.) Apparently destiny was on my side, as not only does the cocktail shaker packaging recommend buying “Shake”, but the guys who wrote the book designed the shaker. You now have permission to laugh at me…

So far we have made one cocktail from the book, the eggnog [, which is basically rum, bourbon, vanilla ice cream, cinnamon and nutmeg. While a fun experiment and definitely something we will continue to attempt,  I would suggest playing with the ingredients,  as this recipe was not the delicious concoction we were expecting. I would recommend softening the ice cream, and being light handed with the spices, as you can always add more.

On a side note, for those of you who are here in town, there is still one last day to partake in Madison’s Winter restaurant week…make your reservations now!  [] Too booked up to make it out? Mark your calendars for the third week of July, which is the Summer celebration of Madison dining.

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