Cocktails at The Pink Squirrel
Photo: Jeff Marini

Anyone who’s spent time drinking in a Wisconsin supper club knows the Pink Squirrel. The frothy, dessert-like drink made with crème de cacao, crème de noyaux, and heavy cream is a Midwestern classic, dreamed up in the 1940s by a Milwaukee bartender. It’s a gem of midcentury mixology—making it the ideal eponym of Dustin Drankiewicz’s kitsch-perfect new Logan Square bar.

Drankiewicz, a Wisconsin native, wanted to take the supper club’s over-the-top cocktails and dress them up for modern palates. “In drinks that were popular then, the ingredients weren’t great,” he says, citing sour mix and sugary schnapps as the worst offenders. The key is to upgrade to better-quality mixers. Take the Regal Begal, built from Canadian whisky, peach schnapps, and sour mix. When his team tried it using era-appropriate basics, says Drankiewicz, “it was like, ‘Wow, this is awful.’ ” Many iterations later, the menu version features Lot No. 40 whisky, Briottet crème de pêche de vigne, and sour mix made with fresh citrus juice. “Now it’s fantastic.”

2414 N. Milwaukee Ave.