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Milwaukee Companies Celebrate National Gin and Tonic Day

Friday, April 6, 2018   (0 Comments)
Shepherd Express

Catherine Jozwik


Many people don’t need a reason to enjoy a few cocktails after work. But National Gin and Tonic Day, celebrated April 9, is just one of many holidays dedicated to fine spirits.

"Let’s just say it’s an excuse to drink gin and tonics,” said Mary Pellettieri, who owns Top Note Tonic in Milwaukee with her husband, Noah Swanson.

To honor Gin and Tonic Day, Top Note will collaborate with Walker’s Point’s Great Lakes Distillery and Hotel Madrid, tapas restaurant Movida, and Bavette, a Third Ward butcher shop and café offering sustainable meats.

From April 9-16, the establishments will serve the traditional drinks with an Iberian twist, incorporating herbs and fruits such as tarragon, mint, oranges, and black berries. "Kind of like an herbal sangria,” said Pellettieri. She noted that in Spain, tonics and gins are paired according to flavors.

Menu drinks include Jimi’s Gin & Tonic, a cocktail made with rose flower water and cucumber bitters, and Wisco G & T, with cranberry liqueur and a lime wedge.

Pellettieri opened Top Note in 2014. A botanist, and brewer for over 20 years, she got the idea for the company while pregnant with her first son. She imbibed tonic at bars but was put off by the taste of quinine. "I always thought the tonic could be better,” she said.

Top Note uses grapefruit peel and bitters for a "softer” tonic that uplifts the flavors of the gin, which gets its main flavor from juniper berries. The company has just launched a line of refreshing, ready-to-drink craft mixers including Ginger Beer and Bitter Lemon, which help enhance flavors of gin and other spirits.

For example, the Indian Tonic pairs well with Great Lakes Distillery’s Rehorst Gin, which has floral notes, according to Pellettieri. "When you have good gin and good tonic, you make a better drink,” she said. Top Note is available for purchase at Woodman’s, Whole Foods, Sendik’s, Outpost, and many independent liquor stores. Several local restaurants, including Carnevor and Plum, also carry the tonic.

Pellettieri will also demonstrate how to make a classic gin and tonic April 13 from 4-6 p.m. at Ray’s Wine & Spirits, 8930 W. North Ave.

She encourages people to branch out and try new versions of classic drinks: "There is a whole world of gin and tonics. This is a great time to start.”

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