Crafting Cocktails

Thinking about having a happy hour at home? We asked local restaurants, new distilleries, and bars to give us step-by-step directions on how to make some of the tastiest drinks in town.

Maple and Woodward

/// The Stand 

“This is our signature cocktail, along with our best-seller,” says manager Trisha Patterson. “It’s a great rendition of everyone’s old-time favorite, the Manhattan. The cocktail represents The Stand and what we ‘stand’ for (pun intended). Woodward whiskey and maple syrup fit just perfectly for The Stand because our establishment is on the corner of Maple and Woodward, also because the ingredients support local brands [Valentine Distilling in Ferndale and maple syrup from Michigan]. We always focus on using local brands and ingredients behind the bar as well as in our kitchen.”


2 ounces Valentine’s Woodward Whiskey
¼ ounce Michigan maple syrup
4 dashes of orange bitters


Combine all ingredients into a mixer glass. Add ice and stir (30 rotations). Strain into a rocks glass, garnish with an orange peel.


Lost in Textation

/// Detroit City Distillery

“I’m a lover of tiki-inspired drinks, and really wanted to have one on our new fall menu,” says Chuck Gellasch, bar manager. “We aren’t producing a rum, but our bourbon has some great cocoa and vanilla notes that work well in this style of drink.”

And the story behind the name?

“I pictured a young, beautiful blond woman sitting at the bar, alone, having a drink, while texting with no idea at all of what’s happening around her. She is just ‘Lost in Textation.’ ”


1½ ounces Two Faced Bourbon
¾ ounce pineapple/sage balsamic shrub
½ ounce coconut cream (Coco Lopez)
½ ounce cinnamon syrup
½ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce egg white
½ ounce heavy cream
2 dashes DCD House Aromatic Bitters (or Angostura bitters)
2 ounces soda
Grated cinnamon
1 Luxardo maraschino cherry

Directions: Add all ingredients except the soda and garnishes into a shaker tin and shake without ice for 10-12 seconds. Add ice and shake for an additional 10-12 seconds. Add soda to the bottom of a chilled glass, and strain contents into the glass. Grate cinnamon on top and add cherry garnish.


The Magic Jake

/// Our/Detroit

The acidity of the drinking vinegar balances well with the sharp richness of the ginger beer, which makes for the perfect cocktail for late spring and early fall,” says Our/Detroit partner Sara Aldridge. “The Chinese five-spice also brings a nice warmth to the cocktail.”

As for the name, “all of the drinks on our menu are named after our friends,” Aldridge says. “The Magic Jake is named for our friend Jake Culkowski who was also one of the contractors for our tasting room. He is in a band called Magic Jake and the Power Crystals.”


2 ounces Our/Detroit vodka
1 ounce McClary Brothers Rhubarb Drinking Vinegar
1 ounce Chinese five-spice simple syrup*
Splash of ginger beer (they use Mary Ann’s or try Reed’s)
Lime slice
Fresh herbs
Chinese five-spice powder

Directions:  Place vodka, vinegar, and syrup in a shaker with ice. Shake until chilled. Pour over ice in a rocks glass and top with ginger beer and garnish with a lime slice, fresh herbs, and a dusting of Chinese five-spice powder.

*To make, mix 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and 2 tablespoons Chinese five-spice powder in a saucepan and let simmer for 30 minutes.


Snap Pea Sour

/// Wright & Company

“We have a great snap pea salad that the kitchen makes, and they really only use about three-quarters of the snap pea,” says Dave Kwiatkowski, Wright & Company co-owner. “We had decided that our next drink menu was going to work very closely with the kitchen to try to use things that they’re already making, and so, one of my bartenders, [Will Lee], sort of invented this drink by infusing the snap peas into vodka. The snap pea and St. Germain go really well together.”


2 ounces Two James vodka infused with snap peas*
½ ounce lime
â…“ ounce St. Germain
½ ounce simple syrup
1 egg white
Pinch salt
Lime-herb essence** (optional)

Directions: Combine everything except the lime-herb essence in a tin, add ice, and shake vigorously for 15 seconds. Strain the drink through a fine mesh strainer into a coupe or cocktail glass. Add a few drops of the lime-herb essence to the surface for garnish.

*Fill a 1 liter mason jar with snap peas, sliced or chopped, and cover with vodka. Allow it to infuse for two days (less if on a windowsill). Strain off the vodka before it becomes brown.

**In a small mason jar, combine 6 ounces of vodka and a sprig each of tarragon and thyme, as well as the zested rind of a lime. Allow to infuse for two days, strain, and bottle.


Warsaw Gentleman

/// Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina

“This cocktail has an effervescent sort of cider quality that reminds me of autumn,” says Adrianne Maniaci, Bigalora’s corporate beverage director. “One of my favorite things I enjoy the most is Pimm’s and prosecco, so why not add a local vodka to kick it up?”


1½ ounces Zim’s Vodka
¾ ounce Pimm’s
½ ounce fresh lemon juice
½ ounce honey syrup
1 splash of dry sparkling wine, preferably prosecco
1 rosemary sprig


Mix first four ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice. Give it a quick, hard shake, then strain into a wine glass. Top with a dry sparkling wine. Garnish with a rosemary sprig.


Fall Old Fashioned

/// Bistro 82

*“We take 4 liters of Bulleit and pour them out into a clean container,” says beverage director and assistant general manager Matthew Hollander. “We then add 16 cinnamon sticks, three whole star anise, and five oranges that have been peeled and sliced. We let this sit for about a week until tasting to determine whether or not we are satisfied.”

“The color, flavor profile, and slight bit of spice make you think of fall,” Hollander says. “ Our goal was to create a drink that is well balanced, not too complex, and that tastes great. Plus, chef loves it and that’s always important!”


2 ounces infused Bulleit bourbon*
1 demerara sugar cube
1 Luxardo maraschino cherry
4 dashes Angostura bitters
1 burnt orange peel
1 ice sphere (Ice molds are easily found online and not expensive; Tovolo is a solid brand and should be great for home use.)


Place raw sugar in pint glass and submerge with Angostura bitters. Add cherry and muddle all ingredients. Add two ounces of infused bourbon and ice and stir (25-30 rotations). Strain into rocks glass over ice sphere. Garnish with burnt orange peel.



/// 220 Merrill

“This was the very first cocktail that I invented for 220 Merrill,” says David Barton, assistant general manager. “I thought about the city of Birmingham and the people that would be coming to 220 Merrill, and this cocktail immediately came together. It is both sweet and spicy and has just the right amount of ‘kick’ to give it that excitement.”


2 ounces Tito’s Handmade Vodka
½ ounce St. Germain
½ ounce fresh cucumber juice
½ ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
3 sprigs cilantro
1 English cucumber, diced
Green Tabasco sauce
Dry ice

Directions: Muddle the fresh cilantro and fresh cucumbers in a mixing tin. Add ice, and then add all ingredients except dry ice to mixing tin. Shake well. Add dry ice to martini glass. Double strain from mixing tin into the martini glass over the dry ice. Garnish with fresh cilantro and a cucumber wheel.