By Lori Fredrich Senior Writer Published Jun 02, 2016 at 5:01 PM Photography: Bobby Tanzilo

If you’ve been around Milwaukee for a while, you might remember a time when Bryant’s offered up a cocktail of the month. These very special libations were offered for a special price of just $6 each during the bar’s Old Fashioned Cocktail Hour.

Well, we’ve caught wind from Bryant's owner John Dye that the tradition is back, just in time to celebrate the arrival of summer.

Blue Tail Fly (PHOTO: Brian West)

During the month of June, Bryant’s will feature the Blue Tail Fly, one of about four-dozen ice cream drinks they make daily at the popular classic cocktail venue.

According to Dye, the Blue Tail Fly is a Wisconsin-famous ice cream drink that was invented at Bryant’s during the era when Pink Squirrels were flying off the bar tops at area supper clubs. Since that time – although its popularity undeservedly waned over the years – the drink has gained increased notoriety in the cocktail world.

And, as for the name, it’s derived both from the drink’s bright blue color and – quite possibly – from an old classic song you’ll probably recognize when you hear it. "Blue Tail Fly" originated in the mid-1800s and was a mainstay with an 1860s minstrel troupe aptly named "Bryant’s Minstrels." Over the years, the song was revised (and sanitized); in the 1940s it was picked up by the folk circuit, eventually becoming primarily a children’s song, known as "Jimmy Crack Corn."

(PHOTO: Brian West)

Here's the song, as performed by Bugs Bunny in 1953.

But, speaking of that cocktail, you’re probably wondering what it tastes like. And, well, it’s delicious. Its flavor profile combines the rich flavors of cacao and Valencia orange (thanks to the addition of blue curacao, which also gives it a delightfully blue hue) making it a perfectly cool and refreshing summer drink. And, in the words of Bryant’s Dye, at $6, "it’s a true blue bargain!"

Enjoy your very own Blue Tail Fly Sunday through Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. during Bryant’s Old Fashioned Cocktail Hour. Also available: classic Depression-era cocktails including the Old Fashioned, Cassis, Jack Frost, Hawaiian Eye, Whiskey River, Candle Light and more.

Lori Fredrich Senior Writer

Lori Fredrich (Lo) is an eater, writer, wonderer, bon vivante, traveler, cook, gardener and girlwonder. Born and raised in the Milwaukee area, she has tried to leave many times, but seems to be drawn to this quirky city that smells of beer and alewives.

Some might say that she is a little obsessed with food. Lo would say she is A LOT obsessed with food. After all, she has been cooking, eating and enjoying food for decades and has no plans to retire anytime soon. 

Lo's recipes and writing have been featured in a variety of publications including GO: Airtran Inflight Magazine, Cheese Connoisseur, Cooking Light, Edible Milwaukee, Milwaukee Magazine and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, as well as on the blog Go Bold with Butter, the web site Wisconsin Cheese Talk, and in the quarterly online magazine Grate. Pair. Share.