Those enjoying the musical performances, literary readings and film screenings during the Mission Creek Festival can also wet their whistles with signature cocktails crafted by local mixologists.
In partnership with Jim Beam and Mission Creek, participating venues — Forbidden Planet, The Mill, Motley Cow, Pullman, Trumpet Blossom, and the Blue Moose — will serve specially crafted cocktails during the six-day festival, which begins Tuesday, April 4.
Using a Jim Beam base spirit and sometimes locally sourced ingredients, the drinks are unique creations that not only reflect the flair of the venues and mixologists serving them, but also the vibe of Iowa City.
Among the specialty cocktails available will be On An Island In Iowa (Effen Cucumber Vodka, honey ginger simple syrup, coconut and fresh melon and lime juice) at The Mill, Coco Bob-omb (Cruzan Coconut Rum and Wild Culture Beet-Orange-Lime Kombucha) at Forbidden Planet and Mission Tiki (Cruzan Aged Light Rum, Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila, blackstrap rum, Campari, Aperol and homemade sweet and sour) at Motley Cow.
Alongside its focus on music, books and films, the Mission Creek Festival also showcases local food culture, Jessica Larsen, a local Jim Beam representative with Southern Glazers Wine and Spirits, wrote in an e-mail. The specialty cocktails crafted for the festival not only fit within Mission Creek’s local food culture component, she said they are also one more way people can enjoy the festival and experience the unique flair of Iowa City.
“For me food culture includes drinks such as cocktails, beer and wine,” Larsen wrote. “This year I wanted to help bring cocktail culture a bit more into alignment with the culture of the festival. We have a lot of talented mixologists in the area and I want people traveling here for the festival to experience this.”
To develop the recipes, Larsen wrote she worked with each participating location to select base spirits. After that, she said the bartenders and mixologists took the lead to craft their unique offerings. “There are so many talented bartenders and mixologists in the Iowa City area that they did not need much help beyond that initial meeting,” Larsen wrote.
Among those talented mixologists is Becca Breazeale, the bar manager at Forbidden Planet. Though Forbidden Planet will not host any performances, Breazeale wrote the bar-arcade serves as a centrally-located break station and meeting place where festival-goers can sit, relax and rendezvous between events. That role inspired Forbidden Planet’s collection of specialty cocktails, she wrote, which are light, refreshing and energizing, but also quick and easy to allow people to continue moving from one venue to another.
Breazeale wrote the cocktails also reflect Forbidden Planet itself and its niche in Iowa City’s culture. It is a laid-back, fun place where everybody can find something that they like, whether it’s a two-dollar beer, a nine-dollar cocktail, good food or a classic arcade game. “We’re an arcade so we are all about having fun,” Breazeale wrote. “We don’t try to take ourselves too seriously.”