Craft Your Own Cocktails with McClary Bros. & Wolf Moon Mixers

By: Toni Cunningham | November 3, 2014
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With the holiday season quickly approaching, you’re likely going to be a) hosting or b) attending a gathering or two. If that’s the case, leave the boring ol’ cocktail mixes in the bar cabinet and mix up something special this holiday season instead.

Wolf Moon Mixers and McClary Bros. are two Metro Detroit-based companies that produce cocktail mixers perfect for any party (whether its for two guests or 22). Let’s take a gander at both, and you’ll surely amaze your friends and family when you whip up a craft cocktail before their very eyes.

Wolf Moon Mixers, which is headquartered at 8201 St. Aubin St., Detroit, produces all-natural craft cocktail mixers that simply require the addition of alcohol and a few other add-ins. Flavors include Citrus Margarita, Hibiscus Margarita, Cucumber Basil, Watermelon Mint, Carrot Ginger and Pineapple Jalapeno.

Wolf Moon Mixers

(Wolf Moon Mixers, photo provided by Dorota Coy)

Be sure to visit the official website above for a complete recipe guide. You’ll learn how to expertly prepare each in no time, and you can find recipes from The Last Word’s bartender Andy Sienkiewicz, including The Bloody Bunny, A Little Romance, Risqué Rabbit, Further South, Pineapple Express and Rosemary’s Love.

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The Bloody Bunny is Sienkiewicz’s take on the Bloody Mary, which is typically an all around crowd pleaser. Here’s the recipe in case you’re too lazy to click on the link provided:

The Bloody Bunny

  • 2 ounces Wolf Moon Carrot Ginger mix
  • 2 ripe cocktail tomatoes, muddled
  • 2 ounces vodka
  • One half teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • One half teaspoon Sriracha sauce
  • One half teaspoon horseradish
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Cilantro for garnish

You can find all of the above Wolf Moon Mixers at a number of local retailers including the Produce Station (Ann Arbor), Mills Pharmacy (Birmingham), Simply Fresh Market (Brighton), Merchant’s Fine Wine (Dearborn) and Germack Coffee (Detroit).

McClary Bros., which is manufactured out of Oak Park’s Forgotten Harvest, produces organic, unpasteurized drinking vinegars, or “shrubs.” Each handcrafted apple cider vinegar contains a combination of local and seasonal ingredients along with organic cane sugar.

Each is made with fruits, vegetables and herbs grown right here in Metro Detroit. N. W. Kaltz and Sons Farms of Columbus and Vanhoutte Farms of Armada supply McClary Bros. with quality herbs and beets, respectively.

Flavors include Blood Orange & Michigan Honey, Detroit Fig Leaf, Lemon & Ginger, Michigan Apple Pie, Michigan Basil, Michigan Beet & Carrot, Michigan Cherry, Michigan Rhubarb and Pineapple & Fennel Seed. Each can be mixed to create an alcoholic cocktail (for the grownups) or a soda (for the under 21 crowd). You can also use the mix to braise meats or dress salads! Beginning this fall, culinary vinegars are also being produced and make great additions to salads, dressings and marinades.

McClary Bros.

(McClary Bros., photo provided by Josh McClary)

The McClary Bros. shop is located at the Rust Belt, 22801 Woodward Ave., Ferndale, on Saturdays and Sundays, where you can sample various flavors each weekend and purchase a bottle. Shrubs are also sold and served at local joints including Great Lakes Coffee Midtown (Detroit), Busch’s Fresh Food Market (several Metro Detroit locations), Holiday Market (Royal Oak), The Root Restaurant & Bar (White Lake) and Karl’s Cabin (Plymouth).

McClary Bros. is produced, sold and served in Michigan, as well as various states outside of the mitten, including New York, California, Georgia, Florida, Pennsylvania, Montana and Indiana. While you eagerly anticipate the opening of the tasting room in Detroit’s Corktown this coming spring, mix up a few of your own cocktails! Recipes can be found on the official website, including the Bourbon Pie Shrub, The Rum Rudy and Aquabeet. Here’s one you can try at home using plenty of local spirits:

The Beet Knick

  • Three quarters of an ounce New Holland Knickerbocker Gin
  • 1.25 ounces New Holland Clockwork Orange liqueur
  • Three quarters of an ounce fresh lemon juice
  • Three quarters of an ounce McClary Bros. Beet & Carrot drinking vinegar
  • Ginger beer

Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake, strain into a glass. Garnish with bitters and top off with a splash of ginger beer. If you really want to get fancy, garnish with a piece of shaved carrot.

There are also plenty of kid-friendly recipes for soda (I have a hard time saying this instead of pop) on the site, including:

Simple Shrub Soda

Combine one part McClary Bros. Drinking Vinegar (the flavor of your choice) with four parts sparkling water, and garnish with a slice of lemon.

Take a peek at the website for additional recipes, or feel free to get creative and craft your own. There are even recipes for savory dishes like Pot Roast Stir-Fry and The Baron’s Slaw.

The idea of the impending holiday season is stressful enough, and one needn’t add an additional worry over what to serve guests to whet their whistles. Wolf Moon Mixers and McClary Bros. really eliminate the need to fret, because both are excellent options. Heck, you might as well mix yourself up one before the Thanksgiving gathering rolls around—it will both calm your nerves and allow you to sample what you’re providing to your guests.