Meet the Maker: Top Note Tonic

Mary Pellettieri has the background and mentality to make the type of mixer we’d be honored to make an Apologue cocktail with. After studying botany and getting a graduate degree in public health, Mary moved into the brewing world working under the tutelage of Greg Hall (Goose Island, Virtue Cider) and on the innovation side at MillerCoors. A self-described flavor evangelist, Mary decided to take that flavor-first mentality towards the non-alcoholic beverage category. Armed with an appreciation and working knowledge of bitter and sour flavor profiles, Mary launched Top Note in 2014.

The High Notes

Top Note’s mixers are all-natural, using only real ingredients and GMO-free acids. Served on their own or over ice, they are notably complex and pleasant.

Once paired with liqueurs and spirits they really start to shine. It’s little wonder that bartenders have gravitated towards them!

You can find Top Note cocktails on the menus of many of Chicago’s best bars and restaurants like Bar Kumiko where Julia Momose has deftly employed Top Note in a number of her well-regarded spirit-free drinks or Soho House Chicago, which offers both cocktails made with Top Note, like the American Highball (Top Note Tonic, Bourbon, Sherry).

What’s on Tap

Having released three core tonics, as well as a Ginger Beer and more recently Grapefruit Soda, we asked Mary what she was excited about doing next. “Taking a brewer’s mentality to soda water” was her immediate reply. Experimenting with different water salts and even sodium free versions using potassium, Mary is poised to help take highballs to the next level.

As Top Note grows organically out of their home market in Milwaukee and into Chicago, Minneapolis, and Denver, keep an eye out for these guys! Seeing Top Note in a cocktail is pretty strong sign that the beverage program knows what it’s doing and is investing in making you a quality cocktail.

Ready to try your hand at elevated at home highballs? One of our favorites is the simple Celery Root, Gin, & Tonic. Sometimes less is more and this simple preparation really lets the complexity of the individual ingredients shine through. The result: a refreshingly effervescent and herbal delight that’s as easy to drink as it is to make. Enjoy! - JT

Celery Root Gin and Tonic