Craft Cocktails from Grain-to-Glass Spirits

When the name of your restaurant literally means “fresh,” you go out of your way to live up to it. Fresco is only two blocks away from one of the best farmers’ markets in the Midwest, and our own rooftop garden supplies most of the herbs we use in the summer months…in the bar as well as in the kitchen. “Many a mean basil martini has been cut to order,” says Assistant General Manager Danielle Leoni, who had a revelation when she and the bar staff were playing around with some new drink ideas.

One experiment was the New Reality Gimlet, made with aquavit. The Scandinavian version of gin, aquavit is flavored with a complex blend of botanicals, led by caraway. “We liked the idea of taking something so classic and simple that everyone knows and amping up the flavors with aquavit,” Leoni says. “We sampled quite possibly everything we could get our hands on in the Midwest, and fell in love with the clean finish and beautifully caraway-forward aquavit made by Tattersall.”

Spirits of Uncompromised Character

Tattersall Distilling, in Minneapolis, is just a 4-hour drive up I-94 from Madison. The small craft distillery creates a dazzling variety of spirits from organically grown Midwestern grains and botanicals. Sampling their aquavit led Leoni and her staff to look into the distillery’s other creations, and a tasting was arranged.

“That was the first day we sampled the chardonnay barrel-aged gin, which is absolutely outstanding,” Leoni says. “I knew we just had to have it; at one point there were only twelve bottles in the state of Wisconsin and we owned six of them.”

A subsequent visit to the distillery left no doubt in Leoni’s mind that Tattersall and Fresco were a perfect fit: “We were at this point in our bar where we were doing a ton of rapid-infused liquors and just studying together as a group to make our own bitters, shrubs, etc., and listening to a group of people who felt so passionately about doing badass things together just for the sake of doing them and doing them right was just so awesome.”

“Besides this fierce passion, part of the reason I believe we are such a great match with Tattersall is how they make the products they sell,” adds Leoni. “We literally walked past huge containers of fresh cherries infusing…heard stories of the farm not far away where they source their corn.”

And so a partnership was born…along with a fresh new cocktail menu. These are inspired creations you simply will not find anywhere else. Cheers!

Tattersall Cocktail Menu

New Reality Gimlet The drink that inspired this collaborative partnership. Made with Tattersall Aquavit, honeydew, lavender, moscato reduction and fresh citrus, served on the rocks.

Fall Mule A Moscow Mule for the harvest season, crafted from Tattersall’s subtle, refined, triple-distilled corn vodka and juiced up with their Cranberry Liqueur, grilled orange, ginger beer and lime, served on the rocks.

Apples and Aquavit Tattersall’s aquavit is teamed with their incredible Pommeau, made with brandy distilled from Sociable Cider Werks Freewheeler Dry Apple Cider. Maple, lemon and bitters complete the flavor profile. Served straight up.

Snow Bird Another drink starring Tattersall’s aquavit, given a warm-weather vacation vibe with their Orange Crema (a liqueur in the family of Curaçao or triple sec) and Amaro (Tattersall’s version of the bitter Italian aperitif), plus pineapple, lemon, Giffard Orgeat almond syrup and mint. Served on the rocks.

Secret Garden Tattersall’s Barreled Gin stars with green Chartreuse liqueur, shaken with lemon, expressed fresh thyme, pink peppercorns, and a little egg white for texture, served up.

B-Hive “The B-Hive is a play on the classic Bee’s Knees,” says Leoni. “We add in that gorgeous chardonnay barrel-aged gin for a little more depth, fresh rosemary and a touch of Angostura bitters, which throws in this sort of earthy complexity that rounds everything out.” Served up.

New York (Double) Sour Tattersall Sour Cherry and lemon add tartness to straight rye whiskey, along with simple syrup and egg white, served on the rocks.

Sweater Weather “The Sweater Weather is a play on a White Russian, which typically has vodka and a rum-based coffee liqueur,” Leoni says. “Our rendition lets Tattersall’s Blackstrap Rum shine and switches in chocolate touches and a little smoke from the Liquore Strega and charred rosemary. The finish is the same with cream,” she adds. “Every bartender in this building enjoys making the Sweater Weather. Guests always gasp when you pull out a torch…living in the gasps is a bartender’s dream!”