Craft Cocktails: Celebrate the Culture with Detroit’s “Dirty Dozen”

By: Toni Cunningham | March 26, 2014
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Travis Fourmont and Joe Robinson of Bailout Productions know a thing or two about cocktails. If you’ve attended any of the duo’s events, like last year’s Whiskey Rebellion and this year’s Whiskey Rebellion II, you know that’s putting it simply.

This time around, Fourmont and Robinson are taking a back seat to allow several other local cocktail artists and bars to shine. Michigan Cocktail Culture will be held on Saturday, April 5 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Royal Oak Farmers Market.

Cocktail Culture will showcase high-level craft cocktails, and according to Fourmont, is largely different from Bailout’s prior undertakings.

“First, Michigan Cocktail Culture is much larger than any of our previous events,” Fourmont said. “Second, we are collaborating with Liquid Events Detroit on all aspects. Most importantly, this event isn’t about us or our cocktails. The purpose of this event is to showcase all the bars involved and celebrate how far the cocktail culture in Michigan has come over the last five years.”

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In order for Bailout Productions and Liquid Events Detroit to bring you the best craft cocktails Michigan has to offer, they started by choosing the “dirty dozen,” a group of select bars and cocktail connoisseurs to prepare the evening’s drinks. Putting together the group proved to be much more difficult than Fourmont imagined, but they ultimately selected the following roundup:

Antietam, The Sugar House, The Oakland, The Stand, Raven’s Club, Bigalora, USBG, Hamlin Corner, Great Lakes Coffee, Torino, The Root, and Public House.

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Each bar or restaurant will serve drinks, including bottled cocktails, cocktails on tap and punches. There will also be a tap takeover from Dark Horse Brewery, as well as a tasting station with Amaro and vermouths from Little Guy Wine.

Fourmont and Robinson have a strong relationship with most of the participating bars and restaurants involved, which they say has allowed the event to come together nicely. The purpose of the event is to celebrate cocktails of Michigan, and Fourmont said all the sponsors, bars and restaurants are very excited to do just that.

According to Fourmont, the sense of entrepreneurialism in Detroit is unmatched by anywhere else, and that includes craft cocktails.

“Once craft bars started opening, the cocktail movement was unstoppable. The cocktail culture in Michigan is already strong and this is an opportunity to celebrate everyone involved,” Fourmont said.

So far, putting the event together has gone off without a hitch, and Fourmont believes the biggest challenge is yet to come. The Bailout guys have collaborated with Liquid Events on all creative aspects, while Jason Dritsan, owner of Liquid Events, has handled a large part of the logistics, such as location and licenses.

“Joe and I have a strong relationship with all accounts involved and we have an extensive cocktail background,” Fourmont said. “As a result, we focused on overall concept, the bars involved and what spirits to showcase.”

The best part of Cocktail Culture (besides the booze) is that it’s put on by some of the best craft cocktail talent around, and proceeds benefit Camp Casey, a local non-profit horseback riding organization for kids with cancer.

Liquid Events has worked with Camp Casey on several events in the past, bringing even more of a feeling of camaraderie to Cocktail Culture. The event will have a positive impact on the image of Detroit, as well as local craft bars for several reasons, according to Fourmont.

“I feel an overall sense of community is extremely important for a successful cocktail culture. Hopefully, this event will strengthen the sense of community in our bar scene,” Fourmont said. “Also, the attendees will see elevated cocktails. Hopefully, a percentage of people who attend (Cocktail Culture) will patron these bars in the future seeking craft cocktails.”

CC Pic 9jpgIn addition to craft cocktails, attendees can expect tunes from Shine On Kentucky Moon and The Barrel Brothers’ Street Band, as well as food provided by the trio of StrEAT Detroit food trucks, including Mac Shack, El Guapo and Tuk Tuk.

Tickets to Cocktail Culture can be purchased online for $40 in advance, or for $50 at the door. With admission, you’ll receive 15 beverage samples—if that’s not enough, more will be available for purchase at the event. If you drew the short straw and are a designated driver for the event, a ticket will only cost you $15. Also, not shockingly, this is a 21+ only event, so leave the kiddies at home.

“In the D” is bringing you an exclusive preview of the concoctions that will be available at Cocktail Culture—along with the recipes, so you can get an idea of what you’ll be sipping and sampling at the event! Take a peek:

TIJUANA COWBOY (courtesy of Hamlin Corner)

  • 1.5 ounces El Jimador Reposado
  • 1 ounce watermelon juice
  • Three quarter ounces grapefruit juice
  • One half ounce chamomile syrup
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

DEJA VOODOO (courtesy of The Root)

  • 2 ounces Bacardi Superior
  • 3 ounces cold press coffee
  • 1.5 ounces Voodoo Syrup (Burnt Orange, Chicory, Molasses, Local Dried Chile, Cinnamon, Clove. Brown Sugar)

CRIMEAN WAR (courtesy of Great Lakes Coffee)

  • 1 ounce Hangar 1 Vodka
  • One half ounce Zuta Osa Slivovitz
  • 1 ounce McClary’s Beet Carrot Shrub
  • One quarter ounce Cynar

CORKTOWN MULE (courtesy of The Sugar House)

  • 2 ounces Two James 28 Island Vodka
  • One half ounce ginger
  • One half ounce lemon juice
  • Soda

BERLIONI (courtesy of The Sugar House)

  • Three quarter ounce Two James Old Cockney Gin
  • Three quarter ounce Cynar
  • Three quarter ounce Cocchi Americano Bianco

SOUR MONKEY (courtesy of The Stand)

  • 1.5 ounces Monkey Shoulder
  • Three quarter ounce lemon juice
  • Three quarter ounce simple syrup
  • Three quarter ounce Cynar

PASS THIS ON (courtesy of Bigalora)

  • 2 ounces Bombay Sapphire
  • One half ounce ginger liqueur
  • One quarter ounce Benedictine
  • One half ounce McClary’s Carrot and Beet Shrub
  • Three quarter ounce lemon juice

FORESTER OLD FASHIONED (courtesy of The Ravens Club)

  • 2 ounces Old Forester 100 Proof
  • 3 dashes TRC bitters


  • 1.5 ounces El Espolon Reposado
  • One half ounce clementine infused Aperol
  • One half ounce lime juice
  • Splash smoked watermelon soda

QUITTIN’ TIME (courtesy of USBG)

  • Three quarter ounce Russell’s Reserve Six Year Rye
  • One half ounce Cynar
  • One quarter ounce Michigan apple cider reduction
  • (Barrel aged for 3 weeks in new American oak)

SICILIAN SANGRIA (courtesy of Torino)

  • 1.5 ounces Disaronno
  • Three quarter ounce Smith & Cross Rum
  • 1 ounce lemon juice
  • Three quarter ounce sangria syrup
  • 4 dashes peach bitters

RASPBERRY RUNNER (courtesy of The Oakland)

  • 2 ounces Death’s Door Gin
  • 1 ounce raspberry syrup
  • One quarter ounce Death’s Door Wondermint


  • Hendricks Gin
  • Clarified Lime
  • House Rosewater Soda

ESTELLE (courtesy of Public House)

  • Maestro Dobel Diamond
  • Pear puree
  • Pinot noir reduction
  • Agave/lemon juice

For more on Cocktail Culture, visit the event’s official website or Facebook page.

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