5 Kalamazoo Spots to Grab a Drink… Not a Beer
Kalamazoo. The Craft Brew Capital of the World. A beer lovers dream. We have local ales, state stouts, and IPAs from every corner of the globe. Neighborhood bars tout daily beer specials scrawled artfully in chalk on the walls. Flights of favorites fly from tap to table with a flourish and friendly smile. And in the middle of this malty Mecca is me wondering...
...what the hell do I have to do to get a whiskey around here?
It's true, I've never liked beer. It's an acquired taste I have never acquired. And, no, it's not because I "haven't found the right beer" - I've tried everything from Old Milwaukee to HeBrew, to Dragon's Milk, to Guiness. I've had ales, lagers, stouts, IPAs, porters, ambers, blondes - and I have found none of them even remotely appealing. So in a town built on beer, I've made it my mission to find at least a handful of local hot spots to whet my whistle.
Without further ado, I give to you 5 Kalamazoo spots to grab a drink... not a beer!
Food Dance - Irish Coffee
You can have your Bloody Marys and Mimosas; my go-to brunch cocktail has always been an Irish Coffee. There's something so comforting in the warmth and richness of an Irish Coffee that traditional brunch cocktails just don't offer. And no one in town does an Irish Coffee better than Food Dance. The whiskey is not so strong as to overpower the coffee, the simple syrup compliments without making it taste like candy, and the heavy cream on top is whipped perfectly thick. Next time you're there, treat yo'self.
Martinis - North 11
Gin or vodka? Dry, wet, dirty? Extra dirty? It doesn't matter your taste, the martini menu at North 11 delivers. I mean... just look at this thing:
From sweet to sour, classic to contemporary, there is a martini on this menu for every taste, shaken or stirred. Want an olive garnish? You got it! Gummy bears, instead? Why not! I've never met a martini at North 11 I didn't like.
Margaritas - Riviera Maya
With spring right around the corner, I am lost in day dreams about warmer weather; laying in my hammock, book in hand, summer cocktail sweating on the table next to me. Until then, I guess I'll have to settle for a margarita at Riviera Maya... or two... or three.
Sure, their classic margarita is satisfying, but why stop there when you can have a "Sangriarita" - a margarita made with sangria - or a whatever-the-thing-on-the-above-left-is-with-the-baby-Corona-sticking-out-the-top. It has an umbrella, people. Nothing says warm weather thoughts like an umbrella in your drink.
Wine - Wine Loft
"Really, Stefani? Is there wine at Wine Loft? You don't say!" I do say! But don't let their handle fool you; they are so much more than wine. They have beer, an extensive cocktail menu, fantastic food, decadent desserts - it's the perfect spot for a date, ladies night, treating the in-laws, celebrating a birthday - the list goes on. Plus, if you're new to the world of wine, their staff is knowledgeable and will guide you in the right direction. Don't forget, too, that flights are a wonderful (and commitment free) way to go.
And speaking of flights...
Bourbon Flights - Olde Peninsula
True, Olde Peninsula is the first brewpub in Kalamazoo, but don't be too quick to dismiss it as such. Their bartenders know how to make a mean cocktail... or several, as seen here. But their latest addition (and my favorite... *squeee*) is their bourbon bar; a bar featuring 19 of the finest bourbons and rye whiskeys. Sample and sip until your heart is content, because, believe me... these are truly spirits that warm the cockles.
So, there you have it, friends! Just a few spots in town to grab a drink... not a beer. I know there are many more places out there, so please feel free to let me know where to go and what to try. I don't mind the research.