Food & Drink

Movers and Shakers: Meet the Milwaukee Bartenders of the Year

Published On 11/08/2016 Published On 11/08/2016
Sam Berman
Sam Berman | Brian West
Courtesy of Britt and Taylor Buckley

Britt and Taylor Buckley

Buckley’s Restaurant and Bar

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The members of the super-friendly Buckley clan are a perfect complement to the cozy and warm interior of this Downtown gem that’s been thriving for a decade. Mike, the affable patriarch, greets patrons with his Bostonian lilt. Sons Taylor and Britt both started working in the service industry as teenagers, and now they take care of a damn-fine bar at the restaurant.

Courtesy of Brandon Reyes

Brandon Reyes

Dock18 Cocktail Lab

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Twisted Path Distillery and Bittercube bitters teamed up to create a tasting room that is more speakeasy than bar. Behind a nondescript door adjacent to a series of loading docks resides a tiny bar with just five barstools and a couple of tables. That’s where Reyes does his work. Everything he uses to craft a tasty Where’s My Bourbon -- dark rum, oak syrup, Bittercube bitters, and grapefruit oil -- is made in-house. In fact, basically every single thing behind the bar is made in house.

Brian West

Sam Berman

Tin Widow

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The average barfly can likely name only handful of different gins. Sam Berman presides over more than 150, the most in the Midwest. The extensive menu includes the discontinued Tanqueray Malacca, and the extremely exclusive Nolet’s Reserve, a gin made with saffron that costs $130 a pour. Gin is the main focus, but Berman’s bar also includes 150 whiskeys and bourbons. Tin Widow is a dark, laid-back spot that serves the type of well-crafted drinks that you’d normally find more at home in a pretentious cocktail lounge.

Dana Dufek

Katie Rose

Goodkind

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A well-planned farm-to-table menu requires an equally thoughtful cocktail list, but Goodkind’s Katie Rose goes above and beyond. The space resembles an unassuming corner tavern at first glance, but the incredible drink menu tells a more complex story. Case in point: Goodkind’s take on a Manhattan, which includes Woodford Reserve bourbon, Carpano Antica vermouth, Pedro Ximénez sherry, Amaro Averna, and absinthe. Delicious.