Stillwater is a town for stopping and looking. The way the St. Croix River gently bends through the hillsides. The bookshops and antiques. The effortless charm of every block, building, and steeple. All together, it begs you to slow down.
After a relaxing afternoon, I drop in to Lolo American Kitchen for cocktails and a few bites from their scratch kitchen. Open since summer 2014, Lolo has been packed with locals and tourists alike for its inviting flavors, commitment to local farmers, and a drink list with serious cocktails that don’t take themselves seriously.
I perch myself at the bar and watch as co-owner and drinks director Joe Ehlenz mixes a Manhattan riff with the lovely Torres 10-year brandy. “The Spanish brandy has those deep, stewed fig notes, and obviously some sweetness,” he says. “We use Rittenhouse to ramp up the alcohol, but add in those spice notes and cut the sweetness.”
The drink is impossibly smooth for its blend of aggressive ingredients. Orange zest is a key component, giving the drink some lift and vibrancy. The drink is also a big ol’ glassful of booze, which suits me just fine, since I notice some nasty storms on the radar. I’ll just sit here and munch on Korean-flavored chicken wings and bacon-jam crostini and wait out the rain in style.
Escargot, My Car Go
- 1½ ounces good brandy (Torres 10-year)
- 1 heavy ounce sweet vermouth (Cocchi di Torino)
- 1 ounce 100-proof rye whiskey (Rittenhouse)
- ¾ ounce Angostura Amaro
- A few dashes bitters (Angostura, or other dark, spicy bitters)
Stir all ingredients vigorously with ice. Strain into a lowball glass with no ice. Express the oils from a wide swath of orange zest over the drink, and wipe the rims of the glass with it as well.