Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Put Up or Shut Up Episode 4 - Booze!

Here is what this post is about:

**This post contains my very first give away.  You're going to want to read the whole thing!**

In anticipation of The Milwaukee Eat Local Challenge (which you will be hearing about for the next three weeks - prepare yourself!) I thought I would give you a few "outside the box" ideas for working more local goodness into your diet.  I know you've heard me rant on about visiting your farmer's market or growing your own, so you're probably ready for a post on something new.  So, with that in mind, here are a few local suggestions we can all get on board for with minimal effort.

  1. Eat at a restaurant serving locally grown food, such as Braise, Honeypie, Roots, or Pastiche (some of my favorites.  For a list of 2012 Eat Local Milwaukee Restaurant Affiliates, click HERE.)  Or, if you don't live in Milwaukee, do your own Google search!  What do you think I did to find this?
  2. Get some local cheese or ice cream.  Visit the Clock Shadow Creamery and try some of the cheese and ice cream made in your own back yard.  I personally recommend the quark (a kind of soft cheese.  I'm a sucker for soft cheese!)  You can find Wisconsin made cheese at basically every grocery store in the area, too.  Carr Valley has some of my personal favorites. But, this is eat local MILWAUKEE, not eat local WISCONSIN, so you should probably get your butt down to the Clock Shadow Creamery. 
  3. Have a local beverage!  (And I don't mean milk here, people.)  This is Milwaukee, after all, and I think the background behind The Brewers is far more obvious than the background behind The Packers (meat packers).  
Okay, sure, Miller is now SABMiller and is headquartered in the United Kingdom.  But, come on, you didn't want a Miler Light anyway!  Milwaukee has a lot better to offer.  Lakefront Brewery, Big Bay Brewing Company, Buffalo Water Beer Company, Electrorock Brewing, Horny Goat Brewing Company, Milwaukee Brewing Company... or you could always have a Schlitz!

But what if you're some sort of terrible Wisconsinite who doesn't like beer? (What!?! Unacceptable!  Kick her out!  Make her move to Illinois!  She probably doesn't like football either!

Whoa, calm down now.  There's no need to get all crazy!

It's okay.  Really.  You can still be a local drinker even if you don't like beer.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Great Lakes Distillery.  I took the tour in the hopes of being able to give you lots of interesting information.  Unfortunately, the tour ends with a tasting, and the tasting is at  least five shots.  I think more.  The fact that I don't remember should help you see what the problem is.  I did try to record the audio of the tour on my phone, but it was in my pocket and it didn't really record very clearly.  The audio of me and my friends being drunk and obnoxious recorded fine, though.

So I hope you weren't expecting a book report

Here is what I remember/stole from their website:

The Great Lakes Distillery is a small batch producer located in Milwaukee WI.  They have only one still.  They want a bigger one.  On 75 gallon still, filled, makes (if I remember right) 7 gallons of booze.  That can't be right, can it?  Meh.  Fact check yourself!  They are growing a garden to make their own infusions.  Vodka good.  Whiskey bad.  Absinth doesn't really make you go crazy, but it will make you need to sit down on the floor.

I listening to the recording, I can clearly hear myself say, to strangers, during the tasting "I will post on my blog: 'Overheard at the distillery tour: 'Oh F**k.'"  Her response, "Yeah.  My friends expect that from me."  Sorry new friend.  I didn't catch your name.

Actually, the recording of us during the tasting is possibly the best thing ever.  Lots of cheers.  Lots of cursing.  You can tell when we are totally unwilling to let good booze go to waste, and just shoot it back.

I would recommend that you go check the tour out yourself.  Make friends with the people at your table.  The tour is free, and the tasting is only $5.  The bar is beautiful (if you want to sit and drink more, or, you know, wait for your taxi to pick you up.)

One nice thing happening at the Great Lakes Distillery bar is that they are also using local ingredients in their cocktails.  Vodka and Whiskey (their main products) are both excellent choices for infusions.  Why not head down, have some locally made, locally infused cocktails, made with local ingredients, and Toast the Eat Local Milwaukee Challenge.

And this brings us to the "Put Up" part.  No, we're not talking about preserving food to sustain you through the long winter.   We're talking about putting up the flavors of spring and summer to sustain your soul through the long winter.

So far, I have made strawberry, rhubarb mint, beet, tomato-garlic-basil, cucumber, and peach vodka.  I have also made peach and cherry whiskey.  All with local ingredients.  The beet, by the way, is nasty.  Don't do it.  Don't drink it.  If you know me, and you come over to my house and I offer it to you and tell you that it's really good, I'm lying.  It's a trap to see if your read this post!

The rest, however, are delicious.  The two peaches, and the rhubarb mint vodka are my favorite so far.  The tomato-garlic-basil is also impressive.  You could use it in a Bloody Mary, if you wanted, but I feel like that would be a waste because the taste would be hidden.  Also, I don't like Bloody Marys.  I do, however, like this, and I think I might make a Bloody Mary Martini with all the fixins!  Because I love the Bloody Mary fixings!  I plan to make a few more, too, with some of the fall products: sweet potato vodka, anyone?

Okay, now the part you've been waiting for!  The "Shut Up" part.  Would you like to make your own infusion?  Okay, here's the deal.  You can have your very own bottle of Great Lakes Distillery Vodka or Whiskey.  Your choice.  Here's how:

  1. Follow Home Grown Homemade either with Google Friend Connect, or through NetworkedBlogs.  You can subscribe to the posts, but I won't know because it doesn't tell me, so that would be a very poor way to enter!  If you already follow the blog, leave a comment on any post you want EXCEPT this one!  Really I just like comments.
  2. Like Home Grown, Homemade on Facebook.  If you already like Home Grown, Homemade on Facebook, post a comment, tag Home Grown, Homemade, and tell your friends to like us!  Then, if they win, make them share the bottle with you!  **EDITED** Make sure you send Home Grown, Homemade a message as well, letting me know you did this, because apparently Facebook is a jerk and won't tell me.
  3. Follow Home Grown, Homemade on Twitter (@wilocavore).  If you already follow Home Grown Homemade on Twitter, write a post there tagging me in it and telling your friends to follow @wilocavore.  Then, if they win, make them share the bottle with you!
Okay, so you have three ways to enter, and you can enter a total of three times (once each way!).  I will be choosing a winner on Sunday, September 16th, or there about.  Unfortunately, you do need to be a US Resident to win, because I can't ship booze outside of the country.  The exception to that rule is if going to come visit me and I can hand you the bottle in person.  Then it's your business to get it back to your country.  Sorry Canadians, Erica, and whoever is reading this in Germany and Russia.

Enjoy some pictures from my trip to the Great Lakes Distillery, and start planning your own trip!  Remember to bring along a designated driver.  (For more pictures, check out the Facebook page!)
I do not know the man in this picture.  He decided to attack Officer Friendly.  I warned him it was going on my blog.  I make good on my word.
The still.
The still from a different angle.

Our tour guide.
Cindy showing off the glass during our tasting.

Pouring the absinth.

Fence protecting the booze.

This is the whole place.  Not that big.


  1. I subscribe to you in google reader. does that count?

  2. New friend's name is Debbie, and I've been catching up on your blog. Very nice. Even left you a message on one of the other recipes. I think the Absinthe is out now, if you're interested in picking up a bottle.

    Will be sending the husband down one of these days.