Dining and Drink

A Supper Club Sip

There is perhaps nothing as quintessentially Wisconsin as the supper club. Temples to all that we hold dear—brandy, fried fish, endless cheese curds—supper clubs are a rare breed in Madison these days, a crime, really, considering they’re home to the best dessert cocktails around.

Chocolate martinis? I think not. We’re talking old-school: brandy Alexanders, pink squirrels, golden Cadillacs and grasshoppers, the sweet, cream-based drinks that had their heyday in the 1950s and ’60s, when places like Kavanaugh’s Esquire Club were king.

“They’re real traditional after-dinner cocktails,” says owner John Kavanaugh, whose parents opened the Esquire in 1947. “But they’re not diet drinks.”

No indeed. Not least because Kavanaugh replaces the modest ounce of cream, found in a traditional grasshopper, with three scoops of ice cream. The result is not so much a cocktail but a delicious mint-chocolate milkshake, the perfect cap to a plate of fried perch and squeaky cheese.

RECIPE: Grasshopper

3 scoops French vanilla ice cream 1 oz. green crème de menthe 3/4 oz. white crème de cocoa Whipped cream Andes dinner mint

Blend first three ingredients; pour into glass. Top with whipped cream, a drizzle of green crème de menthe and Andes mint.

Recipe courtesy of Kavanaugh’s Esquire Club, 1025 N. Sherman Ave., 249-0193, esquireclubmadison.com.

Find more Hip Sips recipes .


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