A Work of Art in a Cup

The peach julep at Fresco

Contemporary art can be polarizing: one person’s masterpiece is another’s squiggle. But one thing is certain—museums with bars are better than museums without them.

We can thank architect Cesar Pelli, then, for designing the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. The building is lovely in its own right—the three-story glass facade, the vertiginous glass staircase capable of unnerving even the most sure-footed. But the rooftop bar is icing on the cake. 

Fresco offers slightly contemporized classic cocktails, like a rhubarb French 75, or a cucumber gin rickey laced with St. Germain. These aren’t risky drinks, but they’re tasty interpretations, rendered thoughtfully by bar manager Jordan Bright. A bourbon fan, Bright put a peach julep on the menu, tempering the heady cocktail with juice and club soda. The mint is there, though, as is the kick: “I like bourbon because it’s rough around the edges,” he says.

My advice? Sit on the rooftop with your julep, and sip slowly. And when you’re ready to resume your gallery tour, consider taking the elevator down.

RECIPE: Peach Julep

Small handful fresh mint
1/4 oz. simple syrup
2 oz. Jim Beam bourbon
1 1/2 oz. peach nectar
Splash club soda

Muddle mint and simple syrup in julep cup. Add ice and other ingredients. Garnish with mint leaves.

Recipe courtesy of Fresco, 227 State St., 663-7374, frescomadison.com.

Find more Hip Sips recipes here

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