91.7 Ann Arbor/Detroit 104.1 Grand Rapids 91.3 Port Huron 89.7 Lansing 91.1 Flint
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Cheers! Celebrating Michigan Radio in Lansing with a new cocktail called the Lansing

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
The Lansing cocktail celebrates Michigan Radio's new signal in the capital. The drink includes ingredients from three of the cities Michigan Radio serves.

Tammy Coxen of Tammy’s Tastings heard that Michigan Radio is now on a new signal. It’s 89.7 in Lansing.

“That worked out perfectly because I just got my hands on a bottle from Lansing’s American Fifth Spirits that I’ve been trying to get a bottle of for a while,” Tammy said.

Now, I was confused. (Those of you who follow the Cheers! team through the exploration of the Michigan craft cocktail world likely are not surprised about that.)

The bottle label read “Fernet.” I thought Fernet was a brand name.

“No. Fernet Branca is a specific brand which I know you love. That’s why I was trying to get this bottle,” said Tammy.

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
Tammy Coxen stirs up a drink that includes spirits from Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Grand Rapids.

She went on to explain that fernet is a general category of amaro, those typically Italian bittersweet liqueurs. But, anybody anywhere can make their own fernet. So, that’s what American Fifth Spirit did.

It does not taste exactly like Fernet Branca. The Lansing version is not as minty, not as bitter, “Not quite as ‘smack you in the face,’” Tammy said.

Which, as it turns out, makes it work nicer in a cocktail in her opinion.

She was stirring up a cocktail which included Fox River Rye from Ann Arbor Distilling, the Lansing American Fifth Fernet, and Clockwork Orange liqueur from New Holland Spirts in Grand Rapids, hitting some of the cities where Michigan Radio has a radio signal.

After putting it all together (see recipe below), it was time to take a taste.

There’s a classic cocktail called the Toronto which includes Fernet Branca and rye. This was not that, but it was slightly similar. The Michigan fernet and the orange liqueur set it apart. I suggested she name it the Lansing.

Tammy thought it was a great idea. You’re welcome, Lansing. ;)

Lester Graham
Michigan Radio
The Lansing.


1 oz rye whiskey (Ann Arbor Distilling)

3/4 oz Fernet (American Fifth Spirits)

3/4 oz orange liqueur (New Holland Clockwork Orange)

1/4 oz simple syrup

Garnish: orange twist

Combine ingredients in mixing vessel. Add ice and stir very well. Strain into coupe or martini glass. Garnish. (Note: if you're not using these specific brands you will likely need to play around with the proportions, as other varieties of Fernet may be stronger.)

Tammy Coxen and Lester Graham are the authors of Cheers to Michigan: A Celebration of Cocktail Culture and Craft Distillers from the University of Michigan Press. The book is based on the Cheers! episodes heard on Michigan Radio.

Lester Graham reports for The Environment Report. He has reported on public policy, politics, and issues regarding race and gender inequity. He was previously with The Environment Report at Michigan Radio from 1998-2010.
Related Content