All My Favorite Drinks Come From Lake Erie Islands.
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We were fortunate enough to travel a good bit last year to some pretty epic places.
And as I look back on all the wine, beer, tropical exotics and cava that touched my lips, my thoughts always return to our trip to the Lake Erie Shores and Islands in September. I’m not sure what they’re putting in the water up there, but I’ve got to say that Northern Ohio has got it going on in terms of–excuse my corporate speak–thinking outside of the box when it comes to getting their drink on. Now, before you tell me I’m crazy, let me first lay out my case.
Exibit A: Basil Mojitos | Put-in-Bay
In the few hours that it took to get from Boston to the Goat Soup and Whiskey Bar on South Bass Island in Lake Erie, we had used nearly every form of transportation in the books–plane, car, boat and finally a golf cart. Our golf cart ride to the Goat, rolling up the lake country road cloaked in the warm breeze of a sunny Indian summer day, brought me right back to my summer vacations I took to our local lakes in western Pennsylvania as a kid.
Set on the tranquil grounds of one of the island’s original wineries, the Goat is a culinary gem for local favorites–Perch Tacos and Walleye Fries– and homemade comfort food with the restaurant’s soups and sauces made daily from scratch. And if you really want to get a taste of just how special the Goat is, then order up its signature drink, the basil mojito. The basil is grown on the property, giving a fresh twist to the traditional drink. Simply put, the Goat’s basil mojito is one of the most refreshing drinks I have ever tasted.
Exhibit B: Bucket of Beer | Put-in-Bay
The calls and snickers for the bucket of beer started midway through our evening walking tour of Put-in-Bay. (We had retired our electric Cadillac for the evening after the Goat.) Ignorantly, I smiled and went along with it. “Sure guys, I’m up for a bucket of beers.” There were a handful of us, so getting a bucket of beers–normally eight to 12 bottles–seemed harmless. So, as we waited at the cocktail tables in the storied Round House Bar listening to one of the craziest white boy bands I’ve ever seen, I was taken back (in a good way) when a large red sand pail topped to the brim with cheap American beer landed on our table–a true bucket of beer. In situations like this, Beth and I have learned to just go with the flow and do as the locals do, so we grabbed our plastic cups and dunked them in.
Exhibit C: Brandy Alexanders | Kelleys Island
Let’s just say that by the time we made it to Kelleys Island the next day, I was still feeling a bit off from the bucket of beer the night before. My plan for the day was to stick to coffee, water and sprite. But then, we ended up at the Village Pump on the island’s quiet main street that runs right along the lake. “You’ve got to try the Brandy Alexanders–they’re legendary,” our hosts said to us and proceeded to order a pitcher. Honestly, I was apprehensive, especially since I never really made the transition into the world of Kahlua, White Russians and Brandy Alexanders. But just like at the Round House, I felt it was best to man up and give the boozy milkshake concoction a try. Boy, am I glad I did, because it was absolutely fantastic. It reminded me of the seasonal shakes that McDonald’s puts out during the holidays, except those shakes never put a smile on my face.
Exhibit D: Strawberry Shots | Kelleys Island
When your lunch consists of the Village Pump’s hearty chili and decadent Brandy Alexanders, what do you have for dessert? Well, you walk a few hundred feet down main street to Bag The Moon Saloon and pony up $2 for a strawberry shot. Again, I assumed this was just some sort of mixed-drink, like a sex on the beach or something like that. No, it was an actual fresh strawberry infused with alcohol and topped with whipped cream. We didn’t stay long at the saloon because we had some island eco-adventures ahead of us with Blue Lion Training, and it was probably for the best because I certainly could have put down a few more strawberry shots.
Alright, I have laid out all of my evidence and surely you know my verdict, but I’m curious to hear your thoughts. Which adult beverage is your favorite?
*I like to thank Lake Erie Shores and Islands for hosting us and Ryan and Chad Whaley of Green Door Mediaworks for showing us around the islands and Sandusky. As always our thoughts and opinions are entirely our own.
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