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Coffee vodka is part of a well-balanced breakfast.
Coffee vodka is part of a well-balanced breakfast.

What happens when a distillery and a roastery partner?

Until yesterday, I had always kept my booze and my coffee separate – I never cared for coffee beers or liqueurs – however, after trying the new coffee vodka at Central Standard Distillery, 613 S. 2nd St., I am in full support of the combo.

The coffee vodka, made with Anodyne Coffee's Brazil Magiano beans, has a caramel color and a lasting – but not overpowering – coffee taste. It's made by simply steeping coffee beans in the spirit for a few days.

According to Central Standard co-founder, Pat McQuillan, the unique libation contains just a trace of caffeine and works well as an ingredient in numerous cocktails. 

"It is very good when mixed with anything cream based – Rumchata goes particularly well with it," says McQuillan. "Also, anything chocolate, like a chocolate martini is really good, too."

The coffee vodka, which was released at the end of 2015, is currently used in two cocktails at Central Standard: The Classy Dude, which is a take on the White Russian, and the Eye Opener, made with oatmeal stout, coffee vodka, cream and a touch of caramel.

We found both of the drinks to be tasty, particularly the Classy Dude, which doubles as a cocktail and a dessert. The Eye Opener was a bit lighter and had a complex flavor that started out with the zing of the beer's carbonation and finished sweet from the caramel.

Mixologist Dan Moore created both of the drinks, which cost $8 each, and bottles are available onsite and in liquor stores for $26-$29.

"It’s easy to create something good when you’re working with great products," says Moore.

Speaking of easy, how easy would it be to dribble a few drops of this in your morning coffee? Waaaaay too easy indeed.

The Furniture Collection at Boston Store is now open. Have a cookie.
The Furniture Collection at Boston Store is now open. Have a cookie.

First look: Boston Store's new furniture department

We stopped in at the new Boston Store furniture department in The Shops of Grand Avenue that opened yesterday on the second floor of the location, 331 W. Wisconsin Ave.

The focus of the revived department is to offer furnishings for people living in Downtown condos and apartments, and therefore some of the pieces will appeal most to those living in smaller spaces. The department also sells bedding and mattresses (we took a rest on all of them. Those Stearns and Fosters – wooooeeeee!). 

The Downtown Milwaukee Boston Store is one of 24 stores owned by Bon-Ton Stores, Inc. Yesterday and today featured cookies and bottled water as part of the soft opening, but a grand opening is set for Thursday, May 26 which will give free gift cards to the first 100 people at 10 a.m., free sub sandwiches to the first 100 customers at 11 a.m., food trucks and free ice cream from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and a free beer tasting for happy hour.

Here are five pics of the new department:

1. Gather 'round

2. Choices, choices 

3. Nap time!

4. Couch surfers welcome

5. Ready for biz-niz

Cats can't wear condoms, so it's up to you to spay or neuter your animal pals.
Cats can't wear condoms, so it's up to you to spay or neuter your animal pals.

Colorful dancing condoms prevent cat overpopulation

In case you were wondering, cats can’t wear condoms – but if only they could.

According to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) senior vice president, Daphna Nachminovitch, just one female cat and her offspring can produce a staggering 370,000 kittens in seven years.

"Dogs and cats can't wear condoms, so PETA is calling on their guardians to take responsibility and spay or neuter their animal companions," says Nachminovitch.

To further the point that Mittens isn’t able to cloak his joker, representatives of PETA will be in Downtown Milwaukee on Wednesday, May 4, dressed up in large pink and blue condom costumes and holding signs that read "Condoms Won't Work: Fix Your Cat."

The condom-clad PETA people will be at the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and Old World Third Street at noon. The plan is to "dance around and hand out leaflets on animal sterilization."

The Phoenix will open in the former Duplex in June.
The Phoenix will open in the former Duplex in June. (Photo: Andy Tarnoff)

Phoenix Lounge takes over Duplex space

Robert King and Ryan Bonen will soon open The Phoenix Lounge in the former Duplex, 785 N. Jefferson St. King and Bonen also own the Bad Genie Rock Lounge, which is next door to the future Phoenix, and the kitchen inside Yield Bar, called Comiskey’s, 1932 E. Kenilworth Pl.

According to King, The Phoenix will be a "laid back craft cocktail lounge with small plates that are world-street food inspired."

The building has been gutted and is in the process of being completely remodeled. King says they are planning for a June opening.

"We think Jefferson Street has an amazing bar culture and we just want to give people another reason to head to our block," he says.

King and Bonen, both from Chicago, met at Marquette University. "We’ve been looking to expand for some time now, so we’ve always had a plan to open more establishments," says King.