Sara Aldridge has had a number of jobs around town, maybe too many to count. She's worked in urban farming, she's taught art, she's been a catering manager, she was in the Girls Guide to Detroit, she worked at the Mercury Bar, the Majestic complex, and numerous bars and restaurants around town. She's also known as one half of the female DJ duo Nothing Elegant.
But now Aldridge has put that all aside (OK, except for Nothing Elegant). She was recently hand-selected to open the Our/Detroit distillery and is working hand-in-hand with her business partner Kate Bordine Cooley to make handcrafted spirits with local flavor. Sure, the operation has huge corporate backing, but Aldridge and Cooley put their heart and souls into this business. Aldridge crafts all the tasting room's drinks herself. With little experience in this form of artistry, she's risen to the challenge and created a delicious seasonal menu, using products from local companies as well as locally procured ingredients. Though she has a background working in bars, Aldridge didn't know a lot about making craft cocktails before she opened the distillery. But she did have plenty of experience drinking them.
Aldridge says she took a literary approach to learning about them. She read up on their history, educating herself about their past, present, and future. Much like everything she does, her cocktails are well-thought-out, yet simple, and have a touch of Detroit.
Aldridge mixed us up a Mr. Bill, which will be part of Our/Detroit's fall drink menu. The drink got its name from her father, who has a cherry obsession. Though it sounds super sweet, there's a savory, buttery flavor present that really tastes like fall. Like the rest of the tasting room's menu, this cocktail is very simple. Aldridge says it's a goal of theirs to make things as approachable as possible.
Drink Recipe: "Mr. Bill"
2 ounces Our/Detroit Vodka
1 ounce McClary Bros. Michigan Cherry drinking vinegar
1/2 ounce house-made cinnamon vanilla simple syrup
Shake with ice, pour over ice, top with soda water, and sprinkle with ground black pepper.