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.
Ivy snakes around door frames and fine stemware dangles above the Von Klaus Winery Tasting Haus?s bar where racks of all-natural fruit wines give off a kaleidoscope of colors. In this space, Von Klaus's staff re-creates the secluded winery experience right in downtown Baraboo. During four-course tastings, they pour samples of their sulfite- and preservative-free wines crafted from handpicked apples, wild cherries, or New Zealand kiwis. As guests gaze out the windows onto the historical square, the staff brings out small plates that may include Wisconsin cheese, jumbo shrimp, and chocolate truffles. As intimate as these pairings can be, the team at Von Klaus also finds a way to re-create the same feeling on a larger scale at private events. In addition to mobile tastings, the winery also brings its traveling vineyard to events in which a professional wine steward is on hand to offer guests a variety of sips.
Con Amici Wine Bar invites guests to relax with glasses of wine or craft beer in a calm, convivial atmosphere. Live musicians play blues and jazz sets as patrons sip a cabernet sauvignon or merlot and nibble on Wisconsin cheese and chocolates. In addition to serving delectable snacks and glasses of fine wine, Con Amici prides itself on its commitment to sustainable practices, sourcing food from local producers and composting waste when possible.
The cooks at the newly remodeled Molly McGuire’s populate the menu with comforting tavern-style fare, and the bartenders pour cold glasses of refreshing libations. Six Crunch chicken strips ($5.99) write meal prologues with a choice of dipping sauce and a breading recipe that, like most diaries and football players' love of touchdowns, is a secret. Meat seekers sink teeth into layers of cheese, tomato, and onion atop the half-pound Angus burger ($6.49), which is served with a side such as potato salad or hash browns. Herbivores can nosh on the veggie wrap’s cucumbers, red onions, carrots, and cheddar cheese ($5.49). Patrons can rack up for games of pool, dance to a DJ’s handpicked tunes, or bask in exclusivity with the elegant VIP lounge’s bottle service. Glasses glisten with premium spirits including Grey Goose, Patrón, and Crown Royal, the preferred liquor of discriminating queen bees.
Inside a tasting room constructed from the salvaged beams of an old barn, visitors to Vines & Rushes winery can sample the fruit of the Prellwitz family's labors. Made from hearty grapes that are built to withstand cold Wisconsin winters, their wines range in style from dry to sweet, with red and whites that focus primarily on grapes.
Though Sand Creek Brewing Company officially launched in 2004, its heritage stretches all the way back to 1856. That's when the Swiss-born Ulrich Oderbolz built his Oderbolz Brewing Company. on the side of a hill in Black River Falls. The facility changed hands and names over the years?Badger Brewing Company, Pioneer Brewing Company?before the Sand Creek team relocated from their makeshift brewery on a Wisconsin dairy farm.
These days, Pioneer's brewmaster Todd Krueger?a winner of three World Beer Cup golds?joins forces with Sand Creek's Jim Wiesender. Together, the duo concocts 10 year-round and seasonal brews, from an award-winning oatmeal chocolate stout to a German-style ale made with Wisconsin-grown cranberries. Brews flow every Friday evening at Sand Creek's taproom, while free tours offer glimpses into the historic building and its 19th-century beer cellar, where bottles are fashionably attired with top hats and monocles. Besides extended taproom hours each summer, the microbrewery participates in myriad events throughout the year.