5 Drinks You Must Have In Milwaukee

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Milwaukee has a long standing history with the sauce.  Once touted as the “beer capital of the world” and currently the 17th drunkest city in America (fun fact: 12 of the top 20 are in Wisconsin!) it’s no wonder there are a few signature drinks you simply must try in Milwaukee.

Kid sized can of Miller Lite - 5 Drinks you Must Have in Milwaukee - Mags on the Move

nothing wrong with a little Miller LIte.

1- Local Beer

This is what Milwaukee is famous for.  Any one who drinks beer has likely already had a beer made in Milwaukee.  Miller Lite,  PBR, and Milwaukee’s Best still taste like college for many of us, but Milwaukee’s beers are not all best suited for drunken keggers.  Milwaukee has kept up with the craft beer trend and offers several breweries catering to a more discerning palate.  One such Brewery is Lakefront Brewery, which claims the country’s first organic beer and the country’s first gluten free beer (to get the government seal of approval).  Lakefront brews a variety of beer for any palate and offers a (sometimes risque) tour of their brewery, complete with samples!

Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, WI

Why yes, that is The 3 Stooges.


The Beast, a $50 fired chicken bloody mary at Sobelman's in Milwaukee, WI (photo courtesy of L.A. Foodie)

Photo by L.A. Foodie

2- Bloody Mary

While Milwaukee may not be able to claim the origin of the Bloody Mary, they’ve certainly perfected it.  Every bar in town offers their own unique version of this classic brunch cocktail.  Many restaurants and bars try to out do each other by seeing what crazy foods they can pile on top.  The most famous being a $50 beast from Sobelman’s that has an entire fried chicken on top!  If that’s a little rich for your blood, don’t be afraid to order a tamer Bloody Mary anywhere in town.  They’re all great and they all come with a bonus beer chaser!  No one seems to know why, but no one is complaining.

Bloody Mary with a beer chaser, a Milwaukee staple


Enjoy a cocktail at Spybar. Milwaukee's cold war era spy themed speakeasy.

3- The Great Spytini

I hit upon this in my last post, but no trip to Milwaukee would be complete without a trip to the local institution, Safe House.  Figure out the password, or go through an “interrogation” then proceed inside for some Cold War era spy themed cocktails, most of which come in a souvenir glass.  The Great Spytini is a simple vodka martini served up, but it’s the most notable since it’s shaken by launching at a high speed through a tube that stretches all over the restaurant.


Bryant's Cocktail Lounge. The oldest cocktial lounge in Milwaukee. Over 400 cocktails and no menu!

4- Anything at Bryant’s

Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge is the oldest of it’s kind in Milwaukee.  Since 1938 Bryant’s has been serving up classic cocktails and new inventions.  There are over 400 specialty cocktails at Bryant’s, but you won’t find a menu.  You can order by color, flavor, liquor, or sweetness (among other attributes) and the expert bartenders will mix you up something perfect.  If you need more guidance, you can try The Pink Squirrel, a cocktail invented at Bryant’s.  They won’t divulge specific ingredients, but it’s a delicious ice cream based nutty pink cocktail.

A collection of old timey cocktails at Milwaukee's oldest cocktail lounge, Bryant's


Central Standard, home of the self proclaimed "best Old Fashioned" in Milwaukee

5- Old Fashioned

No one seems to know quite how it came to be, but the Old Fashioned seems to be the official cocktail of Milwaukee.  This came as great news to me, since the Old Fashioned is my drink of choice.  I have ordered Old Fashioneds around the world, but Milwaukee is the only place that gave me options.  If you order an Old Fashioned in Milwaukee, you’ll likely be asked “Brandy or Bourbon” and “Sweet or Sour”.  The classic Milwaukee way is “Brandy Sweet”.  This option comes out like a classic old fashioned with sugar, orange, cherry, and bitters, the only difference is Brandy instead of Bourbon.  I have to say, I think they’re wrong and I still like my Bourbon, but when in Rome (er… Milwaukee).

Brandy Old Fashioned, the official cocktail of MIlwaukee


I’d like to thank Visit Milwaukee for hosting me as I drank my weight in Old Fashioneds, and as always, all opinions are my own.










29 thoughts on “5 Drinks You Must Have In Milwaukee

  1. Beer. That’s what I think of when someone says “Milwaukee”… beer. So good to know there are other things, too! Like a Spytini. Mm.

  2. My dad once took us to the Miller place when I was a kid. That one drink with the chicken is crazy, I would probably spill it.

  3. I always think of breweries when I think of Milwaukee. The old fashioned sounds lovely. I’ll take one of each -Brandy and Bourbon!

  4. Miller place is great! I went there a few years ago and I loved it. And btw, Miller beer is awesome too haha

  5. I had no idea the Bloody Mary drink came from Milwaukee, it’s between my favourites! The other sound good as well

  6. What?? Is that a WHOLE chicken in the Bloody Mary?? LOL I HAVe to go to Sobelmanโ€™s!!

  7. Elizabeth O.

    I’m not much of a drinker but it would be nice to try the local fare when you’re visiting a different place! These drinks are special on their own right. Just look at that bloody mary! WHOA!

  8. I love this post. So much fun. I would love to try the bloody mary. It looks fantastic!

  9. Dear god. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bloody mary that huge in my life!

  10. I became so inlove with bloody mary drink last summer and I enjoyed it. Thank you for this info and drink list from Milwaukee.

  11. As a cocktail appreciator, I love seeing all these fun versions. That one with the beast on top is too funny!

  12. Rosey

    I’ve never tried any. My grandfather used to like Old Milwaukee though, I forgot all about it until I saw that can. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  13. Oh my goodness! That bloody Mary looks amazing! I really want to try the Old Fashioned too ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. CourtneyLynne

    Omg!!!! That has to be the biggest Bloody Mary I have ever seen!!!!! I need one of those in my life!!!

  15. WOW! That Bloody Mary looked creepy and yet delicious! Sounds like a fun place to travel to.

  16. Milawaukee looks epic especially loving the cocktail with the beast on top its awesome!

  17. Jamela Porter

    Now that Bloody Mary looks delish! I would love to visit and try it.

  18. Kathy Kenny Ngo

    Wow! Great bloody Mary that i ever see. Thanks for sharing this blog.

  19. such awesome drink choices, i cant pick just one. I’m all for that bloody mary, I hear its the best cure for a hangover

  20. I do like trying local drinks when I travel. There are a few here I would try except the Chicken Bloody Mary.

  21. I don’t drink, but that bloody mary looks tempting! It’s so big!!

  22. Dude! That mega Mary is what I’m talking about!!!! I’ve got to get to Milwaukee!!!!! Stat

  23. Love the idea of the Great Spytini, sounds fun! We have a similar place here in London, a speakeasy where you have to concoct your own detective scenario to gain entry!

  24. I don’t drink alcohol but I want to try just one on your list. It looks fun! ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. I want to try the Great Spytini! Safe House sounds so fun!

  26. Bob

    I am not sure I could handle the beast after a long night of drinking.

  27. Omg, what a fun post! That enormous bloody Mary is the biggest drink I have EVER seen!

  28. I have not been to Milwaukee in years..you have some fabulous places and cocktails. I would love to have that Bloody Mary

  29. Cafe Benelux is awesome! Miller and Pabst are probably the best known beers in the area, but the craft beer in Milwaukee and all of WI is crazy good. We love taking our clients our around the Third Ward to all the cool shops and local eats. Having a beer at the Brewers game is also a must! Thanks for sharing!

    Limo Service Milwaukee

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