I'll drink to that

Melissa Topey
Aug 25, 2014



I was slinging classic cocktails in Sandusky's nicest speakeasy.

On Tuesday I was the eager student behind the bar of the Volstead Bar listening to all that the beautiful and intelligent drink guru Nikki Lloyd had to teach.

“Creating the perfect craft cocktail requires having appreciation for the cocktail by using quality ingredients and precise measurements,” Lloyd said.

Lloyd and her husband Ryan Whaley opened the Volstead at the end of January. Whaley also operates the public relations firm Green Door Mediaworks out of the same building. The building has an interesting tale, it used to be the old Dorn Winery and then it was known as the Green Door brothel.

It is the perfect setting for an old school prohibition style speakeasy.

The couple moved back to Sandusky from Colorado in 2012 with the goal of promoting the city and everything there is to do. They are succeeding.

With us in the bar was Mark McGory and Meridyth Gilhuly.

These two love to laugh and have fun.

McGory was drinking Singapore Slings and Gilhuly was drinking the Moscow Mules, one of the more popular drinks at the Volstead.

They already had their drinks so Lloyd offered to teach me how to make a French 75.

I got excited. I had seen Whaley make that before for a customer and had wanted to try it.

Champagne glass in hand (what is more elegant than a champagne flute I ask) she hands me a small blue vial of Absinthe. I felt like an old time Apothecary.

The clear liquid has a taste of black liquorish. I coated the flute using an eyedropper.

Then in another glass I mixed gin, fresh squeezed lemon juice and simple syrup.

I shook it up with the traditional shaker using the over the shoulder move.

I poured the mixture into the flute and topped it off with champagne (the best part of the drink in my opinion).

I peeled a lemon, twisted it over the drink so the essence fell into the drink, ran the lemon peel over the rim and dropped it into the drink to finish it off.

I tried my French 75. It was delicious, in fact this may eclipse the Gimlet as my favorite drink.

There is a vodka version called the French 76 for those who do not like gin.

McGory and Gilhuly ordered another round of drinks. I was about to learn how to make a Singapore Sling.

“Have you washed your hands?,” McGory teased.

I had.

The Singapore Sling is more complicated to make. There are tons of recipes so it is hard to know what the original ingredients of the drink were.

The Volstead version has eight ingredients- gin, pineapple juice, lime juice, cherry heering, Cointreau, Benedictine liqueur and Angostura bitters.

Shake, top with soda and garnish with an orange slice and a luxardo cherry.

I was very focused when I was measuring out the ingredients.

The Volstead measures everything.

“That way the third tastes the same as the first,” Lloyd said.

“I am sorry it took me longer than when Nikki makes it,” I said to McGory as I sat his drink down on a napkin.

He took a sip and teasingly acted like he spit it out, telling me to leave it to the professionals.

“Don't quit my day job,” I responded coyly.

“Is it okay though? Nikki can make you another if it isn't,” I said in all sincerity.

“No. Its fine,” he said laughing.

The Moscow Mule is much simpler- made with Vodka, a squeeze of lime juice and ginger beer.

For those who have never had one, it is a refreshing drink in the summer heat.

These classic cocktails on the Volstead drink menu are fun to make.

“In the words of one of our barkeeps 'It is a drink and a show',” Lloyd said.



Where are they located?


Apparently somewhere near Amish Country


Angostura bitters ARE EXCELLENT served neat.

Melissa Topey


The Volstead Bar is at 316 East Water Street. Look for the brick building with the green door.




Why is Melissa Topey in every picture of the article she is doing. I don't think I have ever seen an article with a picture that she is not in. I am remembering an article about a young man working at Berardi's, in the picture he is prepping something and there she was in the background with a clip board like she was his teacher or something. Can't she let someone else have the spotlight? We know what you look like over and over. I am anxious to see if it ever happens. A picture without Melissa Topey.

Jason Werling

This feature is called "On the Job." Melissa is working and learning the jobs with the people that do them. This is similar to Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe and you will not find an episode, or any segments, without Mike Rowe in them.

If you would like some stories written by Melissa, but without Melissa pictured, there is a very long archive of them here... www.sanduskyregister.com/business

If you have a job idea Melissa should shadow, please e-mail her at melissatopey@sanduskyregister.com 

note: she will most likely be in the photos for each job she shadows

just observing

Professional journalism at its finest? Another article the Register is supporting an addiction treatment center, yet we have one of their ace reporters playing bartender with the most abused drug, alcohol.

Jason Werling

We have articles of all types, you can choose which ones you would like to click on and read.

Thank you for observing.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Jason, I appreciate the diverse articles that the Register puts out. Even if there are some I either don't agree with or aren't relevant to my interests, knowing they are there is nice and helps frame the paper in total. I am very much a fan of this series in particular so thanks to Melissa as well.


@ just observing
You need to observe better before you type. You really make yourself look stupid!

just observing

"You relly make yourself look stupid!", is relly, irbonices? Who's stupid.



just observing

deer dong at least you found spell check and corrected your error, what cutting edge technology.....


Now try correcting the error of your ways.