By Jim Owczarski Sports Editor Published Feb 24, 2015 at 1:02 PM Photography: David Bernacchi

"Bar Month" at – brought to you by Stoli Vodka, Altos Tequila, Fireball, OR-G, Jim Beam, Plymouth Gin and 2 Gingers – is back for another round! The whole month of February, we're serving up intoxicatingly fun articles on bars and clubs – including guides, the latest trends, bar reviews, the results of our Best of Bars poll and more. Grab a designated driver and dive in!

Every now and then, you may run across your favorite athlete at restaurant or bar, with family or friends. It's not that unusual – they're regular people, too.

And, like regular people, they have their favorite cocktails.

Bar Month here at, so we reached out to the athletes past and present to see what cocktails they most enjoy when they relax away from the game.

Zaza Pachulia, Milwaukee Bucks center

"I tell you what, I’m not a big alcohol fan. Of course I’ve tasted, tried it from time to time. If I have something I want to have wine, obviously, if it happens. But I tell you what, I know the rule. When you’re having meat, a good steak, you’re going to have red wine."

He laughed.

"And when you have seafood you gotta go with white wine. That’s the rule I know. I’ve heard it before. That’s how I’m acting, (when I) order in a steakhouse. If I’m drinking it’s just a glass of wine. But generally, especially during the season, I’m not. But you know, there are some rules, so you have to execute it. Just roll with (what they recommend)."

John Axford, former Milwaukee Brewers closer

"Whenever I've (gone out in Milwaukee) I always make a "lunchbox." But I also loved the Bloodys that would be stacked with meat and cheese and get a beer back on the side. I was known for it … especially at a couple bars, ha! And as far as beer goes … always loved the seasonal Imperial Pumpkin and Riverwest Stein from Lakefront Brewery."

Gary Ellerson, former Green Bay Packers running back

"Back in the day it was Cognac Hennessy, Courvoisier or Remy Martin. Now I love Pappy Van Winkle, when I can find it! Jefferson Bourbon. And a good cigar!"

Ian Bennett, Milwaukee Wave midfielder/forward

"Blue moon if I'm hanging out, Bacardi and Coke if the streets are hot!"

Jim McIlvaine, former Marquette University and NBA basketball player

"I don’t drink but if I did it would be Rumchata, because it tastes like Golden Grahams cereal milk. I sound like the most interesting man – ‘I don't drink, but when I do, it's Rumchata, because it tastes like cereal milk.’"

But, the big man said that he did have some Courvoisier once because Buddy Guy offered it to him.

Why? "Because it's Buddy Guy."

Giuliano Oliviero, Milwaukee Wave head coach and former player

The Wave’s new head man keeps it simple, and local: "Lakefront IPA."

Davey Nelson, former Major League Baseball player and Milwaukee Brewers coach

"It’s funny. I love to go out on the town and eat and go to a lot of restaurants, but I’m a guy that some bartenders now know as far as … before, when they didn’t know me, I’d order something different. I’d order Captain Morgan and tonic, with a lime. They’re used to making Captain Morgan and Coke, but I’m a Captain and tonic with a lime. So, now the bartenders know. They’d say ‘I never had anybody order it with tonic.’ I love to have that before dinner."

"Nobody orders Captain and tonic. Tonic I like because it cuts the sweetness a little bit. It’s refreshing for me. Where I like to go to (for that) are two places, where the bartenders really mix (it up well) is Bacchus and the other one is Blue Jacket. Every once in awhile I like to just go in and sit at the bar and have the bartender mix me up something."

Nelson then broke it down further.

"I’m a big-time wine drinker. My favorite is Tom Seaver’s cabernet. For a guy that was a Hall of Fame pitcher, he makes a Hall of Fame wine. I’ll definitely take a good bottle of wine, especially if it’s a Tom Seaver of a French Bordeaux, which would be outstanding."

And finally …

"Then, when I’m serious, I’ll top it off with a little swig of 200-year-old Grand Marnier."

Jim Owczarski is an award-winning sports journalist and comes to Milwaukee by way of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Network.

A three-year Wisconsin resident who has considered Milwaukee a second home for the better part of seven years, he brings to the market experience covering nearly all major and college sports.

To this point in his career, he has been awarded six national Associated Press Sports Editors awards for investigative reporting, feature writing, breaking news and projects. He is also a four-time nominee for the prestigious Peter J. Lisagor Awards for Exemplary Journalism, presented by the Chicago Headline Club, and is a two-time winner for Best Sports Story. He has also won numerous other Illinois Press Association, Illinois Associated Press and Northern Illinois Newspaper Association awards.

Jim's career started in earnest as a North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) senior in 2002 when he received a Richter Fellowship to cover the Chicago White Sox in spring training. He was hired by the Naperville Sun in 2003 and moved on to the Aurora Beacon News in 2007 before joining

In that time, he has covered the events, news and personalities that make up the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League, NCAA football, baseball and men's and women's basketball as well as boxing, mixed martial arts and various U.S. Olympic teams.

Golf aficionados who venture into Illinois have also read Jim in GOLF Chicago Magazine as well as the Chicago District Golfer and Illinois Golfer magazines.