"Bar Month" at OnMilwaukee.com – 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!
I have two standard go-to cocktails when I go out in Milwaukee: the brandy old fashioned, and a white Russian.
Usually, any bartender in any bar in this city can make a decent brandy old fashioned. Maybe it’s part of the training for most bartenders, but I have run across a few places that either use a mix (no!) or don’t have the fruit, or just kind of mess it up.
White Russians, I’ve found, are way more hit or miss – which is largely due to my taste, but it’s hard to find a good one. Or, worse yet, a bar doesn’t have any cream.
So, basically, I don’t like to experiment with those two drinks.
That said, I will pretty much try any vodka drink, just for some variety when we’re out. To this, I have no shame. I’ve had really good ones, I’ve had some bad ones and I’ve even tried the bottled s’mores-flavored kind – do not, DO NOT, do the same. It’s the most abhorrent alcohol I’ve ever tried.
Anyway, I feel I’ve been seeing a number of cucumber infused vodka cocktails of late, and after giving it another go at the AP Bar & Kitchen with its "Loving Cup," which is made out of house infused cucumber-berry vodka, pimms, lemon and soda.
Afterwards, I’ve decided to just say no to the cucumber.
This isn’t to knock AP’s mix. No, it actually was refreshing for what it was. But having given it an honest effort at several places I came to a judgment: Cucumber is just a taste that doesn’t belong in alcohol.
It’s a benign vegetable anyway that really only adds some crunch to a salad, and while I’m all for mixologists and alcohol-makers to experiment, this is an effort that has fallen flat.
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 OnMilwaukee.com.
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.