From Our Cellar: What to Drink this Month in Northern Michigan

Every month, Traverse Magazine’s Culinary Columnist Stacey Brugeman asks Northern Michigan beverage experts what they’re drinking. In “From Our Cellar” she shares the Michigan wines, beers and ciders that area sommeliers, beer buyers, beverage directors, cider geeks and other pros are especially excited about. In addition, each month Stacey writes “Last Call,” featuring a cocktail’s Northern story and the recipe, included below.

Explore our growing cellar and don’t miss last call.

April’s Cellar

Wine: 2019 Chateau Grand Traverse Late Harvest Reisling | $14 a Bottle

Serving something sweet for Easter brunch or Passover Seder Pair it with the 2019 Chateau Grand Traverse Late Harvest Riesling, which Tom Renkes of Symons Wine Cellar in Petoskey recommends. “With layers of apricot, orange peel, vanilla and a hint of honey, this wine is a perfect example of late harvest grapes picked at peak ripeness,” Renkes says of the Old Mission bottling.

Cider: Two K Farms Old World Cider | $15 for 6 cans

More of a bone-dry drinker? Try the Two K Farms Old World Cider. Made with 20 different French and English heritage apple varieties, the complex brut cider from Suttons Bay has “less sugar than a hard seltzer,” Karl Tessin of The Beverage Company in Traverse City tells his customers.

Cocktail: Ramp Gibson

East of the Mississippi, ramps are the quintessential harbinger of spring. When this member of the onion family emerges from the forest floor, foragers know that Northern Michigan’s growing season is just around the corner. Playfully replacing onion, this twist on a Gibson brings together vodka, vermouth and pickled ramps for a seasonal favorite you’re sure to love. Grab your ingredients and learn how to make a delicious Ramp Gibson from the comfort of your own home.

Photo of a ramp gibson on a table with a cocktail shaker, vodka and pickled ramps.

March’s Cellar

Beer: Barrel + Beam’s Pivot Point // $6 per 375ml bottle

Rick Jaissle, beer enthusiast at Blue Goat Wine & Provisions in Traverse City, is a fan of Barrel + Beam’s Pivot Point, a bière de garde that is lagered in Marquette. Jaissle suggests pairing the amber farmhouse ale with shellfish and salads. Give it a whirl with this month’s recipe for Spring Greens with Whitefish Toast in Traverse Magazine.

Wine: Shady Lane Cellars 2017 Blaufränkisch // $28 per bottle

Amanda Danielson, sommelier of Traverse City’s Trattoria Stella, recommends the 2017 Shady Lane Cellars Blaufränkisch, a bottling with notes of blackberry, cedar and “an alluring crack of black pepper,” says Danielson. Suttons Bay winemaker Kasey Wierzba “took the generosity of the 2017 vintage, rewarded it with balanced oak and created a complex, cool-climate red wine.”

Cocktail: The Hemingway Daiquiri 

It is well known that Ernest Hemingway spent childhood summers at Windemere, on Walloon Lake. It’s also common knowledge that the famed 20th-century writer went on to become a heavy drinker in later years. But did you know there is a classic cocktail named for the notorious novelist? Here’s the story, plus a Hemingway Daiquiri recipe to enjoy at home.

Find this and more food and drink articles in the March 2021 annual food and drink issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine; or subscribe and get Traverse delivered to your door each month.