The weatherman’s still calling for snowy days ahead in Northern Michigan, so get the snow-play party started. Round up some pals, embark on your snow-mode of choice—snowshoes, skis, board, snowmobile, sled—and afterward, share a beverage and tales. We’ve asked thirteen of our favorite Northern Michigan restaurant mixologists to help, a recipe from each to keep the glow going. Raise a toast to winter!
Cava, Bay Harbor, 231.439.2282
1 ounce Kraken Rum 1 ounce RumChata
1/2 ounce vanilla vodka
1/2 ounce Godiva Chocolate Liqueur Sprinkle nutmeg on top when in the glass
Put it all in the shaker with ice, strain and serve in chilled martini glass. (Ice in glass to quick chill the glass or put in fridge.)
“We just put it together for the holiday.”–Jette Weichmann and Ashley Wawszkiewicz
Cava: A sporty but chic vibe right on Little Traverse Bay.
The Gingerbread Martini
Sleder’s, 717 Randolph St., Traverse City, 231.947.9213
1 ounce Stoli Vanil vodka
1 ounce Baileys Irish Cream 1 ounce Kahlua Dash of Hot Damn (or to taste)
Shake and serve up in a martini glass; for the chocolate gurus, rim glass in chocolate. “Stop in, sit by the warm fire place and sip this easy going cocktail before kissing the Moose!”–Chris Phillips
Sleders: Dark wood-trimmed interior delivers the classic comfort of a full-on Northern tavern.
Cappuccino Espresso Martini
Cafe Santé, One Water Street, Boyne City, 231.582.8800
1/2 ounce Botticelli Cappuccino Liqueur 1/2 ounce Svedka Vanilla
1/2 ounce Tuaca Vanilla Citrus Liqueur
1/2 ounce Frangelico
1 ounce Fresh Brewed Espresso Chocolate Syrup drizzled martini glass
“Enjoy the frothy deliciousness après dinner or while taking a break from the ski hill!”–Mike Dunlop
Café Santé: A warmly sleek Euro accent, shoreside Boyne City.
Boathouse, 14039 Peninsula Drive Traverse City (Old Mission), 231.223.4030
In a cocktail coffee mug: caramelize rim with a cinnamon sugar 1 1/2 ounces 99 Bananas 1 1/2 ounces dark rum (preferably Meyers’s)
Fill mug with warm cream. Top with whipped cream. Drizzle with caramel. Garnish with sliced banana—brûlée the banana if you want to get fancy.
“This drink will warm you and remind you of being on a tropical island.”–Ryan McKenney
Boathouse: Classic elevated marina-side dining; fireplace ramps up the cozy factor.
Knot Just a Bar, 5019 NW Bayshore Dr., Omena, 231.386.7393
2 parts Baileys Irish Cream 1 part Stoli Vanilla Vodka 1/2 part Hiram Walker Gingerbread Liqueur
Add fresh brewed coffee. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
“It is the perfect way to warm up after a day of visiting Leelanau Peninsula wineries and snowshoeing around the Grand Traverse Lighthouse in Leelanau State Park.” –Todd Klepper
Knot Just a Bar: Omena Bay out the big windows, knotty pine and nautical inside.
“Runner Plank” Bluebird, Leland, 231.256.9081
1 cup soft butter 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups Breyers Vanilla Bean ice cream
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg 2 shots good rum (per drink)
Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in softened ice cream and spices. Cover, and re-freeze. For each serving, place a 1/2 cup of mixture in a mug, add 1/2 cup to a cup of boiling water to dissolve, stir in a shot of rum, top with dollop of whipped cream, and dust with nutmeg. Enjoy!
“Iceboating is a cold sport. A very, very cold sport. Take a 15-knot breeze on a frozen lake and turn it into a 45-knot, in-your-face gale, and you have a recipe for an epic wind-chill factor. We have a recipe to restore the rosy color to your frozen face.” –Skip Telgard
Bluebird: Leelanau is not Leelanau without a beverage and game of pool in the Bluebird bar.
The Mitchell Street Pub, 426 East Mitchell St., Petoskey, 231.439.9400
Using a snifter glass, rub the cut side of a lemon around the edge, then dip in sugar.
Add 1/8 ounce 151 Rum and light it with a match (careful not to burn yourself or light your hair or anyone else on fire!)
While the rum is burning, sprinkle the rim of the glass with cinnamon. Put the flame out and dump out the rum.
Add to snifter 1/2 ounce each of: Baileys Irish Cream, Grand Marnier, Kahlua, Amaretto, Frangelico.
Add freshly brewed coffee, top with plenty of whipped cream, and sprinkle with cinnamon.
“Once the customers see the sparkling flame, they all want one!”–John Hebert
Mitchell Street Pub: Peanuts on the floor, juicy burgers, localpalooza.
Chocolate-Covered Strawberry Martini
Blue Tractor, 423 Union St., Traverse City, 231.922.9515
1 shot Stoli Strasberi 1 shot crème de cocoa white
1/2 shot of Godiva Chocolate Liqueur Splash of cream
Put it all in the shaker with ice, strain and serve in a martini glass with chocolate syrup swirls inside of it.
“In the cold months, this martini is great—it’ll warm you up from the inside out!"–Kayla M.F. Greilick
Blue Tractor: Farm implements, yes, but hip somehow; friendly, relaxed personna.
Dreamy Clouds Martini (Serves 2)
Fusion, 300 Main St., Frankfort, 231.352.4114
2 ounces soju or Dreamy Clouds Sake 2 ounces Navan vanilla cognac
2 ounces star anise infused simple syrup
1 ounce sambuca
1 ounce Grand Marnier
1 ounce cream or Half n' Half
1 egg white Pinch of nutmeg
Put all ingredients in a martini shaker filled with cracked ice. Shake vigorously. Pour into two martini glasses that are rimmed with brown sugar. Garnish with 3 anise stars on top.
“This licorice delight is perfect for a nightcap by the fireplace and a bowl of hot almond rice pudding.”–Bobbiesee Ku
Fusion: Clean, bright space with gauzy accents; windows serve up big view of Betsie Bay.
The Iconoclast Martini
Siren Hall, 151 River St., Elk Rapids, 231.264.6062
Spritz a chilled martini glass with rosewater solution* Pour following ingredients into a martini shaker (preferably a Boston shaker):
3 1/2 ounces Hendrick’s Small Batch Gin
Juice from 1/2 lime 2 count lemon simple syrup** (1 teaspoon)
Shake vigorously (at least 20 times) and strain.
Garnish: Leaving the peel on, slice a seedless cucumber lengthwise into long, thin, sexy strips, and thread the ribbon onto a 5-inch skewer, then slide into the glass.
*Dilute rosewater 4 parts mineral water to 1 part rosewater.
**Simple syrup: gently peel three lemons and one lime avoiding the pith; place peels in a saucepan with 1 cup of warm water. Dissolve 1 cup of sugar, bring to low boil and reduce to simmer for 15 minutes.
“For February? Indeed.”–Kim Hoedeman
Siren Hall: A smart and lustrous place to share a bev with a friend.
Neige Poire (Snow Pear)
Phil’s on Front, 236 East Front St., Traverse City, 231.929.1710
2 ounce Valentine Vodka 1/2 ounce Black Star Sirius Pear (pear dessert wine)
1/2 ounce poached pear simple syrup
1/2 ounce pear purée L. Mawby Blanc de Blanc
Place Vodka, Sirius Pear, syrup and puree in a martini shaker with ice. Shake and serve up in a martini glass. Top with Blanc de Blanc. Garnish with slivered pear.
“This drink is fun and festive without being overly sweet or heavy. Also, I love the fact that it is comprised entirely of Michigan products.”–JoAnna Roe
Phil’s on Front: Sparkly, fun and cheerful bar scene; chocolate martinis bring in the ladies. Big windows on Front Street.
Snow Fun ReVeeVer
Poppycock’s, 128 E. Front Street, Traverse City, 231.941.7632
1 1/2 ounce Veev Acai spirits.
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
2 ounces cranberry juice Cinnamon sugar rim
Rim a martini glass with cinnamon sugar. Shake all ingredients well with ice and strain into the rimmed glass. Garnish with Drunken Cherries.
Drunken Acai Cherries: You will need
1 cup Veev Acai spirits
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup H2O
10 coffee beans
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice 1 bag frozen dark sweet cherries
In a saucepan, bring the water, sugar and spices to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and then add Veev liquor. Remove the spice remnants so you have just the liquid left. Fill Mason jar or other sealed containers with the cherries and then pour the liquid over top. Refrigerate immediately, and they are ready in about two to four days to garnish your cocktail.
“This is the perfect cocktail to enjoy after a snowy day on the slopes snowboarding or skiing … or after an exhilarating day of snowshoeing or cross-county skiing.”–John Lohner
Poppycock’s: Brought the martini back to TC in grand manner; comfortable and suave decor.
Crown Royal and Vernors
Chandler’s, 215 1/2 Howard St., Petoskey, 231-347-2981
In portions to your liking: Crown Royal Vernors Ginger Ale
“My favorite winter cocktail is Crown Royal and Vernors Ginger Ale. Once hunting season comes around it’s Crown and Vernors up until springtime. (Often more Crown than Vernors) I enjoy this drink at hunting camp and after a day of skiing at Nub’s or Boyne.”–Christian Colby Chandler’s: This low-lit, terrace-level space is intimate, warm and elevated. An expert staff makes you feel instantly welcome.