There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear — a mantra I’ve learned all my life in northern climates. If there is one thing that my Wisconsin roots have provided me, it is the strong foundational spirit of leaning into winter. Hat, check. Gloves, check. Let’s go, the sun will soon set! A positive northern latitude attitude helps a great deal, too.
After some time away, I’ve returned to Elkhart to see each season unfold. Turns out, as the world was flipped upside down in 2020, many friends found themselves here, too. The word home takes on a new meaning when you’re riding out the storm of a pandemic. Some of us are winterized, while others haven’t done winter in a while, and are still making trips to Fleet Farm for more layers. This winter, we’re united by our commitment to keeping fires and spirits stoked as temps and daylight hours drop.
With this new season, comes new challenges for those who live and work here. This time of year is always tough in town and the pandemic adds a layer of difficulty. If there is one thing that pairs with inhaling wintertime oxygen, it is the kind of food and drink that thaws your toes when your wool socks are no longer cutting it. What does this look like during a winter when gathering indoors is complicated? Meeting friends around the fire under the frigid night sky.
The Brown Baer’s fireside cocktails have brought a spark to our dark winter nights. For the hearty Wisconsin souls, old fashioneds taste even better when your fingers are a little numb. For those who are still working on their winter layering game, a drink over ice outside in December is anything but fun. But maybe a toasty ginger hot toddy is more your speed?
The Baer’s steaming seasonal drink specials will help insulate you, guaranteed. Some mulled wine, hot buttered bourbon, or peanut butter whiskey hot chocolate will hold you over until your takeout dinner is ready. While it’s not the same night out on the town, it provides just enough joy and connection, to one another and to the businesses who light up our spirits, during the season we need it most.
While wintertime in a pandemic brings new circumstances, it also brings new traditions. Our favorite local spots have been working tirelessly to serve our community safely. In turn, we’ve created new social activities around their offerings. It’s incredible what a little fire can do for morale. To love Elkhart is to experience its magic in all seasons. And this unusual winter, that means layering up so we can meet before dinner for fireside drinks in our favorite village. Whether or not we can convince you to brave the elements by the fire, we hope to see you passing by on the sidewalk or grabbing your trusty takeout.
You can stay updated on the Brown Baer’s social media channels for winter drink specials. They also deliver now! Mon, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun, 4:30 pm – 8:00 pm.
Kate Vollrath was born and raised in Elkhart Lake. After several years of working and adventuring in Anchorage, Alaska and a year studying in Italy, she has returned to her favorite freshwater shoreline. Wisconsin will always be home. The incredible local culture, extraordinary community, and summer Sundays on the water are what keep her rooted and returning no matter where life takes her.