Raise Your Glass

Restaurant Week Summer Cocktail: Creation. Competition. Community

Cocktail creation is a fine balance of art, science, and inspiration… and an assignment our bartenders enjoy. When they were tasked with creating 2 cocktails for Downtown Kalamazoo Restaurant Week at the end of last month they were excited to get their mixing and muddling wheels turning.

The mission: create 2 cocktails featuring New Holland Artisan Spirits, serve them throughout RW, and inspire your guests and the community to vote your cocktail(s) to the finals. The element of competition, created by the cocktail competition organized by the Downtown Kalamazoo Restaurant & Retailers Assoc., simply added to their creative fervor.

Our cocktail, the Smoked Julep, proved an elusive creation. The bartenders were working a rum cocktail, but nothing they mixed up met their exacting standards. Just as the development session was running the risk of losing focus, inspiration struck! Bourbon…

New Holland’s Beer Barrel Bourbon and peaches muddled into brandy. A light herbal layer added with a few dashes of bay leaf bitters. Yet, still, something was missing… Smoke. The bartenders were conscious to honor the spirit without alteration, so they got creative, deciding to smoke the glass to achieve their goal. The result: a fresh seasonal cocktail that is as bold as it is smooth. That is playful, requires a little assembly, and is visually striking.

We love it. Our bartenders are extremely proud of it, as they should be. And we’re humbled that our guests and community loved it so much that they took the time to vote our Smoked Julep as the RW Summer Cocktail Competition Winner. Find it at the bar through the end of August.

Special thanks all of our community that voted. Thanks to our fellow cocktail competition participants for helping build the “cocktail scene” in Kalamazoo—especially our fellow bartender finalists from Principle and Central City Tap House. And of course, we literally couldn’t do it without the talent and creativity you see behind the bar every time you walk through our restaurant. So the loudest and proudest of THANK YOUs to our team of talented bartenders.