Cocktail Week GR returns for the third year, November 8 - 19, taking craft cocktails to a whole new level throughout Grand Rapids. Over 40 establishments are participating this year offering two Michigan-based cocktails and a shared plate for $25 or less. Adding to the fun this year is a Sunday Funday Trolley Cocktail Crawl, free distillery tours with cocktail tastings, cocktail pairing pop-up dinners, and more.  

“Cocktail Week GR came about as a natural progression of people in the Grand Rapids area starting to appreciate the craft of bartending and seeing a new set of creatives start to make their mark on the city,” says Rob Hanks, USBG-GR president and bar manager at Reserve Wine and Food. “Drink culture for so long has revolved around beer, which is great, but our ancestors figured out how to distill beer into whiskey for a reason.”  

The Cover Up cocktail at Long Road Distillers in Grand Rapids
The Cover Up from Long Road Distillers blends old and new.
Photo courtesy Long Road Distillers.

Long Road Distillers

Just as brewers express themselves through their beverages, so do bartenders. Daniel Lovig, general manager of Long Road Distillers, says cocktails are also a place for bartenders to express themselves through their well-curated bars and fresh Michigan produce in innovative drinks. Fortunately for local cocktails drinkers, the Cocktail Week GR offerings from Long Road Distillers definitely demonstrate creativity. Your cocktail world will be expanded - from The Cover Up showcasing Long Road Distillers Bourbon along with fig, brownulated sugar, kola nut, chicory, licorice, and lemon to the New Found Friends with Long Road Distillers Aquavit, carrot, pistachio, and tarragon. Order a side of chicken wings featuring River Valley Poultry wings, lime zest, jalapeno, and roasted garlic aioli to take full advantage of the $25 specials. Be sure to check out the daily specials too.

Sour Old Man cocktail from Bier Distillery in Grand Rapids
Bier Distillery's Sour Old Man is for anyone 21 and up.
Photo courtesy of Bier Distillery.

Bier Distillery

While Bier Distillery crafts its own beer and wine, it’s the spirits that take center stage during Cocktail Week GR. Its two cocktails and one shared plate specials have something for everyone. Gin fans can enjoy the Sour Old Man with barrel-aged gin, lemon juice, panela simple syrup, egg white, and Angostura bitters. Those looking for something a little sweeter might go for the Lemon Lavender Martini with the housemade Heart Cut Vodka and lemon and lavender-infused simple syrup, finished with a lemon and lavender sugared rim. Round out the visit with a small plate of white bean crostini with a vegan parsley/walnut pesto or a Belgian shrimp cocktail finished with a creamy whiskey sauce.

Ada Pour House Gastropub cocktails in Grand Rapids, Michigan
Delicious drinks crafted at Ada Pour House Gastropub.
Photo credit Ada Pour House Gastropub.

Don’t forget your local bars

Of course, breweries and cideries in Beer City, USA are also getting in on the Cocktail Week GR fun. Vander Mill in Grand Rapids offers three cider-based cocktails from which to choose. The Ginger Grant is a play on the Moscow Mule featuring vodka, ginger juice, lime, and Vander Mill’s own Ginger Peach Cider. For those looking to kick it up a notch, try the Hot Mama with vodka, lime, pickled jalapenos, and Ancho Mama Cider. Are sweeter drinks more your thing? Then go for the Blueberry Bramble with gin, lime, blueberry, Blue Gold Cider, and fresh mint.

New this year to Cocktail Week GR is the Ada Pour House Gastropub. With tempting cocktails including the Not So Old Fashioned featuring New Holland Brewing Company’s own Beer Barrel Bourbon and Clockwork Orange bitters and the refreshing Er Bear made with Gray Skies Distillery Spiced Rum, apple juice, cranberry juice, and ginger beer. Pair your beverage with crispy Brussels, seared pork belly, or Thai mussels made with lemongrass, citrus, coconut milk, Thai chilies, and crostini for a great light snack.

Apply Cinnamon Whiskey cocktail from Harmony Hall in Grand Rapids
Stop by Harmony Hall for an Apply Cinnamon Whiskey with Long Road Distillery whiskey infused with Michigan apples and cinnamon topped off with The Huntsman cider from Peat's Original Cider in Paw Paw, MI. 
Photo courtesy of Harmony Hall.

Tastings, Tours, and More

For those looking to pack the most punch into their day, the Sunday Funday Trolley Cocktail Crawl is here to help. Hop on the trolley at noon on Sunday, November 12, and hit six different Cocktail Week GR participating locations including New Holland - The KnickerbockerGray Skies DistilleryStella's Lounge and more all for only $35 if you plan ahead. What a way to spend the day!

Cocktail Week GR also coincides with the Wine, Beer, and Food Festival at the DeVos Place on November 16 - 18. Not only will attendees enjoy the best wine, beer, and food at the event, the festival also features a new spirits section, Hemingway Hall. This section dedicated to spirits is where craft producers and mixologists will showcase their finest spirits, mixers, garnishes, and cocktails. In conjunction with Cocktail Week GR, attendees will also enjoy a variety of cocktail classes throughout the festival.

Check out the Cocktail Week GR event page for a full list of upcoming tastings, tours, and more.

Ginger Whiskey Sour and The Cure Martini cocktails at Rose's on Reeds Lake in Grand Rapids
Relax and enjoy a Ginger Whiskey Sour or "The Cure" Martini while relaxing at Rose's on Reeds Lake.
Photo courtesy Rose's of Reeds Lake.

Enjoy Responsibly!

Please enjoy Cocktail Week GR responsibly. If you're looking for a ride home or to your hotel, Grand Rapids offers a wide variety of transportation services. Check out the Experience Grand Rapids Transportation page to help you get around town without having to get behind the wheel.

Cocktail Week GR is a 12-day event, so there is plenty of time to try more than one exclusive menu at the 40+ participating venues! Be sure to visit other participants including Harmony Hall, Blue Water Grill, Artesian Distillers, Reserve Wine & Food, Rose’s on Reeds Lake, and more.

For a full list of participating restaurants and bars, visit the Cocktail Week GR page on the Experience Grand Rapids website.