With the turn of the season, many of Lansing’s eateries are whipping out updated drink menus inspired by Michigan berries, nutty flavor palettes and sweet spices. Say what you will about Lansing’s food, but our drink game is solid. Before you curse the falling ice from the sky turning into gray sludge on the streets of a post-industrial city, sample some of the following cheery concoctions:
B2 Macchiato ($7) - Beggar’s Banquet
Ingredients: Espresso vodka, horchata cinnamon liqueur and cold brew coffee with a dash of cinnamon.
A macchiato is an espresso with a helping of frothy steamed milk, which sounds kind of boring to be honest. This drink is the opposite. Beggar’s Banquet’s spin on the drink gives it a jolly jolt of sugar and spice, making it a great post-holiday treat for the coffee snob.
The Grinch ($7) – Beggar’s Banquet
Ingredients: Bailey, Crème de Menthe, Vodka. Topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce and a cherry.
This little devil packs enough punch to ruin a family holiday dinner. Its menacing components are masked with a pastel green hue and adorable toppings, but do not be fooled, this drink is a delight from top to bottom, starting with the heavy cream and cherry on top.
The Canadien ($10) - Zoobie’s
Ingredients: Bourbon, maple syrup, black walnut bitters, lemon and an ice ball.
Named after an ethnic group who trace their ancestry to French colonizers who settled in Canada in the 17th century, this drink is equally a mouthful. An acquired taste for sure. In the mixture I sampled, the lemon hit first, followed by some nutty after taste.
Spiced Pear ($9) - Zoobie’s
Ingredients: Pear vodka, cinnamon simple syrup and ginger beer.
The best version of a Moscow mule I’ve ever had. Not overly sweet and fresh. Other versions of Zoobie’s mules include the “Mackintosh” with lemon and apple brandy, the “Cranmary” and “Berrysado,” comprising blueberry and maple flavors.
Blackberry Mint Margarita $9 - Punk Taco
Ingredients: lemon juice, blackberry syrup, fresh mint and tequila
Blackberries are a tart fruit, but this drink tasted like liquified Sour Patch Kid gummies. This winterized margarita is undoubtedly refreshing and the spiced, sugar rim was delightful. I left the American taqueria berry merry indeed.
Uncle Buck $10 - The Grid
Ingredients: Rye whiskey, strawberry syrup with rhubarb bitters and ginger beer.
This fuchsia potion is bubbly and refreshing. The blackberry garnish was a nice touch, but left me wishing for one or two more juicy morsels.
Grandpa Joe $9 - The Grid
Ingredients: Caramel swirl, vodka, butterscotch schnapps and cream.
Good luck winning Pacman with this sweet-faced devil by your side. For one, you won’t want to put it down. Secondly, this creamy villain is liable to play mind games. It comes in a short-stem, triangle glass lined on the inside with stripes of caramel.