The Old Sugar Distillery produces small-batch liquors made from Midwestern ingredients. Its cornerstone concoction, the Old Sugar Factory Honey Liqueur, is distilled from dark-brown beet sugar and then aged in a wooden womb of American oak before being subtly sweetened with pure Wisconsin honey. The Cane and Abe Freshwater Rum, named in honor of President Lincoln and his favorite criminal-scaring stick, is made with cane sugar lovingly beamed up from the saccharine states of Hawaii and Louisiana and then aged in charred American oak barrels. These luscious liquids can be sampled either by sipping a freshly made cocktail ($6) at the distillery's long wooden bar, or by buying a bottle ($30) for midnight sips in the dead chill of winter. The Old Sugar Distillery also offers free tours and tastings with up-close views of the large copper pot still.
The bottles that make up Thief Wine's diverse inventory are not stolen, but they may as well be. The shop's name—a reference to the long tube or "barrel thief" used to sample maturing wines waiting to be bottled—reflects the air of mischief shoppers experience in encounters with otherwise inaccessible wines that makes each of the shop's selections feel like the product of a thrilling cellar heist. The fruits of Thief's careful wine curation decorate the walls of Thief Wine's two locations with more than 500 selections, which mix familiar labels with artisanal up-and-comers from around the globe. At each location's wine bar, certified sommeliers pare down the hulking inventory to about 30 essential bottles, which slosh into thematic tasting flights or full glasses to flank small plates of cheese and charcuterie.
More than 50 wines at Wine Maniacs on the River stand at attention to be served by the glass or bottle. The bistro updates its food menu quarterly with dishes that celebrate the seasons and complement its complex varietals, using gourmet ingredients such as Wisconsin artisan cheeses. Small plates make creative use of such ingredients, with options that may include calamari spaghetti or duck-confit tacos ornamented, like a scarecrow's frankfurter, with corn relish.
Nice weather draws diners outdoors onto the patio overlooking the Milwaukee River, where they can sip while admiring the Water Street Bridge and views of the city from the 5th Ward. Guests can also stock up on their favorite elixirs at the establishment's retail shop, which sells wines by the case.
Tyranena Brewing Company produces 6 year-round beers and a number of seasonal and specialty brews. Beer is available in bottles and select draft accounts throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and the Chicago area. Visit our beautiful Tasting Room and Beer Garden; exact available online. Free tours Saturdays at 3:30 pm.
Bin One Eleven Wine Store and Tasting Bar owner Justin Jackson constantly researches new wines, sampling up to 40 varietals every week. He brings the best ones to his shop to serve in German crystal wineglasses and pair with cheese or chocolate. Guests can also sip craft beers at the bar or head outdoors to a brick patio.