Bars across the nation have begun forgoing the ice in their cocktails, replacing it instead with the refreshingly chilly (and complementarily flavored) popsicles. It’s a trend that started on the coasts, but which has gradually made its way onto cocktail menus here in Milwaukee.
One Brady Street restaurant is taking it to a whole new level.
The Diplomat, 815 E. Brady St., will debut five new poptails this weekend (along with expanded bar hours) just in time for the descent of countless motorcycle enthusiasts celebrating the 115th anniversary of Harley-Davidson.
And believe me when I say they’re not just plopping a frosty treat into a glass of prosecco. Instead, they’re bumping up the flavors of a full ABV cocktail with a sweet treat that can be eaten right alongside the summer sipper.
Jessica Barger, who manages the beverage program at The Diplomat, says she’s having a blast with the new offerings.
"We’re becoming known for our burgeoning cocktail scene here in Milwaukee," she says. "And even though I’m a sommelier, I love both beer and cocktails and it’s really fun to play with their flavor profiles. It’s even more fun since we’re really really combining what’s happening in the kitchen with what’s being served at the bar."
Five delicious options
The cocktails, which are created using a variety of flavored pops from local popsicle purveyor, Pete’s Pops, will include:
- Venetian Blinders: a bellini riff incorporating cava and a peach bellini pop
- Pete’s Dragon: a daquiri made with rum and a cantaloupe lemongrass pop
- Dust Your Shoulders Off: a margarita made with tequila and a salted watermelon pop
- Gintopia: a gin and seltzer featuring The Botanist gin and Topo Chico with a cucumber lime pop
- Vodka lemonade with a blueberry basil pop (not pictured)
Every cocktail is shaken with a portion of pop, so the flavor is well integrated into the drink from the first sip. The remaining pop is added to the cocktail before serving. Cocktails are $12 each.
"Dane and I have known one another since we both worked with Bartolottas," notes Pete's Pops' Pete Cooney, who recently established a new brick and mortar walk-up shop for his longtime popsicle business.
"I live a lonely life in the summer, working long days and eating late. So I eat at the bar at Diplomat a lot. We’ve talked about partnering for quite a while, but with Harley coming up, he finally pinned me down and we decided to do it."
The Diplomat chef and owner Dane Baldwin says he's excited to partner with Cooney to offer something new and different on The Diplomat bar menu.
"It’s been a lot of fun," he says. "Labor Day weekend is really summer’s last hurrah. So it’s a great time to offer people something a little bit different."
Extended bar hours & brunch!
To better serve guests during the Harley-Davidson anniversary festivities, The Diplomat will be opening the bar at 2 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 31 and at noon on Saturday, Sept. 1.
They will also host a very special brunch on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The menu will feature brunch staples like omelets, French toast and eggs benedict along with a number of vegetarian options. There will also be brunch drinks aplenty, including a special bloody mary complete with a Pete’s Pops michelada pop.
Lori is an avid cook whose accrual of condiments and spices is rivaled only by her cookbook collection. Her passion for the culinary industry was birthed while balancing A&W root beer mugs as a teenage carhop, fed by insatiable curiosity and fueled by the people whose stories entwine with each and every dish. She’s had the privilege of chronicling these tales via numerous media, including OnMilwaukee and in her book “Milwaukee Food.” Her work has garnered journalism awards from entities including the Milwaukee Press Club.
When she’s not eating, photographing food, writing or recording the FoodCrush podcast, you’ll find Lori seeking out adventures with her husband Paul, traveling, cooking, reading, learning, snuggling with her cats and looking for ways to make a difference.