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Cherry margarita

Cherry margarita at Fred & Fuzzy’s Waterfront Grill.

You don’t have to find a Margaritaville–on the east coast or the west coast–to find a place to kick back outdoors and sip margaritas on the beach. In fact, you can do it right in the heartland, at Fred & Fuzzy’s Waterfront Grill in Sister Bay.

I can personally guarantee you that watching the sun drop over Lake Michigan, while listening to good music and catching the lingering smell of great food mixed with the earthy scent of the forest, is about as good as it gets on a hot summer evening.

Fuzzy and Fred started gathering the property pieces that make up the resort today back in 1974. The business grew, and as Fuzzy explained, “It’s the 15th year for the bar and grill.”

And what a tasty beachfront grill it is! I always like to find a menu that’s a little off-the-beaten path, just like the destination, and that was easy at Fred & Fuzzy’s, starting of course with the Cherry margarita.

For starters, they served beach bread made from an old Lithuanian recipe. It tasted a lot like the ran-out-of-bread-but-it’s-lunch-time fried dough my mom used to make back when I was a kid. And while Mom didn’t realize it, I always thought fried dough was even better than bread.

And of course, when you’re in Wisconsin, you need to try fried cheese curds at every restaurant, Fred & Fuzzy’s included! They went well with the battered fried green beans and the homemade fried potato chip basket that make great bar food. You can check out the family-friendly menu on their website.

The evening I visited there was even entertainment on the beach!

Fred & Fuzzy's

Entertainment at Fred & Fuzzy’s Waterfront Grill

History of the Margarita

The traditional alcohol of the margarita is tequila–some even say tequila and the margarita are their favorite Mexican exports. Most agree the Margarita was invented there in 1938 by Danny Herrera, the owner of a Tijuana roadside restaurant.  And according to an interview Herrera gave the LA Times, the name, Margarita, is Spanish for the customer, Marjorie King, he concocted it for. See more in this LA Times article: http://articles.latimes.com/1992-05-14/local/me-2749_1_danny-herrera

Since evidence is in short supply though, there are a few others who claim to have invented the drink. These are a few of them:

  • Don Carlos Orozco, in 1941, at Hussong’s Cantina in Ensenada, Mexico, for the daughter of the German ambassador, Margarita Henkel
  • Francisco “Pancho” Morales, a bartender in El Paso-Juarez, in 1942
  • Margarita Sames, a Dallas socialite, at her Acapulco vacation home in 1948

Why Put the Cherry in Fred & Fuzzy’s Margarita?

Fred & Fuzzy’s Waterfront Grill is located on the banks of Lake Michigan in Door County, Wisconsin. The County itself is a peninsula that juts into the lake, giving it many unique features in Wisconsin from soil composition to weather.

Both of these factors contribute to Door County’s bountiful tart cherry crops.

Montmorency cherries

Montmorency cherries in Door County, WI

In fact, the tart cherry industry began way back at the end of the 1800s–by 1917 locals harvested over 320 railroad cars of cherries annually! Soon, the industry expanded to cover 10,000 acres of land and require hundreds of fruit pickers who arrived each summer to live in camps.

Today, if it’s tart cherry related you can find or eat it in Door County!

Door County Cherry Juice Margarita Recipe

Fred and Fuzzy generously shared their margarita recipe with me.

Fill a 16 oz glass with ice
Add two shots of Golden Tequila
Fill the rest of the glass with equal parts Door County Tart Cherry Juice and your favorite Margarita mix (they use Dailey’s)

Top with lime and sip away!

Acknowledgements

I’d like to thank Door County Visitor Bureau for hosting me on their cherry immersion press trip.

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