The Safe Word

DKAF's 2018 signature cocktail is a vibrant, herbaceous concoction evoking the change of spring to summer and the festival season.

Cocktail Artist in Residence: Robert Simonson

Robert Simonson writes about cocktails, spirits, bars and bartenders for The New York Times. He is the author of the books “The Old-Fashioned: The Story of the World’s First Classic Cocktail” and “A Proper Drink,” the first-ever history of the cocktail renaissance, and “Three-Ingredient Cocktails,” which was nominated for a 2018 James Beard Award. He was a major contributor to “The Essential New York Times Book of Cocktails.” His writing have appeared in Imbibe, Whiskey Advocate, Eater, Food & Wine, Saveur, Lucky Peach and Punch, where he is a contributing editor. His line of custom Old-Fashioned glass was recently released by Cocktail Kingdom. He lives in Brooklyn.

Robert Simonson will be returning as the festival’s resident mixologist, introducing signature drinks in and around all DKAF, hosting DKAF's first ever cocktail competition, and leading a seminar on Art and the Cocktail with Eric Simonson

Special Event: Cocktail Competition

The competition will take place on Tuesday, June 5, at 5 pm, at Wickman House, in Ellison Bay, Door County. Mixologists from Door County, Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Madison will make and present their original cocktails for judges Robert Simonson; Mike Holmes, the head bartender and co-owner of Wickman House; and Kyle Cherek, the host of the Emmy-nominated NPR show “Wisconsin Foodie.” The winning drink will be publicized throughout the festival and served at local bars and restaurants in Door County.


Workshop: Art and the Cocktail

It wasn’t long after the first cocktail was created--somewhere in the United States sometime in the early 1800s — that the distinctly American invention and the theater met as friends. Actors have historically been great tipplers, as have playwrights, who have honored their favored elixirs by featuring cocktails, spirits and bars prominently in their works, therefore perpetuating drinking’s role in society. With the dawn of the cinema, the same pattern was perpetuated by screenwriters. Eric Simonson, the Oscar-winning and Tony-nominated filmmaker, playwright and director, and his brother, Robert Simonson, drinks reporter for The New York Times and author of several cocktail books, will examine the symbiotic relationship between alcohol and the arts. This diverting and amusing class will divide its time between plays, films, cocktail demonstrations and maybe even a field trip. (We’re not saying we might go to a bar, but…)

generously sponsored by

Death's Door Spirits
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