8 refreshing local drinks to try this summer
Fill your cooler with one of these locally made drinks.
Whether you’re sitting on a boat in the middle of a lake, picnicking in a park or having a physically distanced backyard barbecue with friends, you can fill your cooler with one of these locally made drinks. Canned cocktails, wine, seltzers and radlers make for great options on a hot summer day.
New in Town
Levi Funk, co-owner of Untitled Art with Isaac Showaki, says his company has been working for more than a year to release their line of hard seltzers, Florida Seltzer. The first Florida Seltzer, Prickly Pear Pink Guava, was released on April 30 and there are six more flavors coming, including pineapple mango and strawberry kiwi. The seltzers feature fresh fruit instead of artificial flavoring to allow the fruit flavor to shine, Funk says. Each is 110-120 calories, gluten-free, vegan and low carb.
Find them: drinkuntitled.com; area grocery stores and for pickup at Octopi and Funk Factory Geuzeria
Take It Easy
Newer local seltzers on the scene are from Karben4 Brewing. The brewery started canning the drinks in December with a classic version and a mango flavor, but it has since expanded its offerings to include lemon lime, black cherry, cucumber melon and huckleberry flavors. With the motto “enjoy moderation,” the 4% alcohol by volume beverage is easy to drink, plus each one has only 80-90 calories.
Find them: 3698 Kinsman Blvd., karben4.com; area stores
The OG Madison Seltzer
Ale Asylum was the first Madison-based brewery to jump on the seltzer train. Launching a separate company called Stray Forth Craft Seltzer, Ale Asylum started distributing the brand in August 2019 at the height of “White Claw Summer,” a term used to describe the mass sales of the popular national brand seltzer. Thanks to unique flavors like Guava Hibiscus Clairvoyance, Tangerine Passionfruit Safari and Blackberry Cucumber Enchant-mint, someone is bound to ask you what hip drink you’re sipping — that is, if their interest wasn’t already piqued by the elaborately designed cans created by local agency Planet Propaganda.
Find them: strayforth.com; area grocery stores including Willy Street Co-op, Trixie’s Liquor, Hy-Vee and Woodman’s Food Market
Twist on a Rosé
Rosé is a summer drink. And if you put this effervescent pink wine into a can, you can take it with you poolside, to the beach or wherever your summer nights take you. One Barrel Brewing Co. takes pinot grapes and Aronia berries and combines them with its original dry hard cider to create Gentry’s Rosé Hard Cider. It has all the flavors of a nice rosé but none of the sulfites, so wine headaches aren’t a thing with this sip. While you can drink it year-round, there’s something special about cracking open a cold rosé cider while enjoying a cotton candy colored summer sunset.
Find them: 2001 Atwood Ave., onebarrelbrewing.com; area stores
Instead of bringing all the supplies along to make a fancy cocktail, reach for a pre-mixed version of your drink of choice. Plain Spoke Cocktails, created by Tom Dufek — who co-founded the new Young Blood Beer Co. on King Street — is your answer for local cocktails on the go. While Plain Spoke makes a variety of canned cocktails, including a brandy Old-Fashioned and a Moscow mule, the summer standout is the mojito. With mint and lime juice acting as anchors, it’s exactly what you’ll want while relaxing by the lake.
Find them: plainspokecocktails.com; area stores including Riley’s Wines of the World, Festival Foods, Cork & Bottle and Metcalfe’s Market
ReFresh Radlers were created by Campus Craft Brewery, a collaboration between a class at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and Wisconsin Brewing Co. Since 2018, the Verona brewery has been brewing radlers made with real fruit juice. It started with the grapefruit flavor, but there are now raspberry lemon and cherry lime varieties. While the ReFresh Radler is a beer, it’s gluten-free and has 110 calories.
Find them: 1079 American Way, Verona, wisconsinbrewingcompany.com; area stores
Wollersheim Winery recently started offering two of its wines in cans — Prairie Pink and Wollersheim White — but in May the winery launched a new wine available only in cans. Chateau Mingeau, a semi-dry rosé, is a collaboration between the winery and Forward Madison FC, Madison’s professional soccer team. Since it’s canned, Wollersheim suggests it become your summer picnic wine, as glass bottles are not allowed in Madison parks.
Find them: 7876 Hwy. 188, Prairie du Sac, wollersheim.com; area stores
If you’d rather avoid alcohol completely but want a refreshing summer sip, reach for BUBBL’R. BUBBL’R, a line of antioxidant-infused sparkling waters created by Watertown-based Klarbrunn, has natural caffeine and 5 calories per can. It comes in seven flavors, including Raspberry Lime Citrus Twisted Elix’r, Pomegranate Acai Refresh’r and Blood Orange Mango Mingl’r. When served ice cold, BUBBL’R is a great thirst-quenching alternative to an alcoholic beverage.
Find them: drinkbubblr.com; area stores and gas stations
Maija Inveiss is digital content editor of Madison Magazine.