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23rd Annual Golden Fork Awards

New Category: Best Craft Cocktail

107-GF-Town-CouncilIf you aren’t versed in the world of mixology (and even if you are), reading through the cocktail lineup at Town Council in Neenah may prompt some Google searches. Zucca Rabarbaro? Cara Cara? Boomsma Cloosterbitter? These ingredients all exist and can be found behind the bar at Town Council, which won the first Golden Fork ever awarded for Best Craft Cocktail.

General Manager Sean Hathaway Casey approaches his cocktail program as both a science and an art. The restaurant, which won the Golden Fork for Best New Restaurant in 2016, has stood out for putting its unique fingerprint on classic drinks. Two that proved so popular they were put on tap are the Charctails Garden Gimlet made with cilantro-infused gin and the TCKB Old Fashioned.

The old fashioned includes both brandy and bourbon, fernet branca and aromatic bitters. Order it sweet and it will be seasoned with citrus oleo saccharum (a sweet, citrusy mixture that translates to “oil sugar”). Apple cider vinegar is used in sour preparations. “It’s by no means the old fashioned you get in New York or down the street, it’s the one you will only get here,” Hathaway Casey says.

Imbibers have about a dozen cocktails to choose from at Town Council, including a daily featured drink, the two draft cocktails mentioned above and an ever-changing lineup of menu creations that highlight house-made infusions, syrups and shrubs (vinegar-based syrups made with fruit, sugar and other ingredients). This fall, Hathaway Casey says the menu will include a new light and herbal dry sherry cocktail with green tea. A new spin on the gin sour will replace the whiskey sour.

Constructing these kinds of cocktails takes time, so Hathaway Casey has a recommendation – double down and order a cocktail and beer up front.

“I always order a cocktail with a beer on the side, so by the time that first cocktail’s gone I still have a beer to nurse while the next one is coming along,” he explains. “I wish more people would do that. Come in here, order a beer and a cocktail right away and just get after it.” — ACW

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