Craft Cocktail: Paloma at Pajarito

With all the unseasonably warm weather, I’ve been jumping the gun on spring. Maybe if I buy potting soil and sunscreen, just maybe I can will the season to change. That goes for drinks, too. I’ve been brooding with bourbon since Halloween. No more, I say. Give me something light and citrusy, and maybe the […]

Craft Cocktail: Aviation at Red Rabbit

Some cocktails should never change. Their formulas were perfected a century ago and no amount of modern mixology will improve them. The aviation is not one of those cocktails. I find the original turn-of-the-century formula—gin and lemon juice with maraschino and violet liqueurs—too bitter and dry. Maraschino liqueur (see this month’s Spirits Close-Up) is semi-sweet, […]

Craft Cocktail: Contemporary Gin Fizz at Esker Grove

Wait, they’re putting garbanzo bean water in my drink? I hadn’t noticed at first, as I had become transfixed by the look of Esker Grove—the new restaurant in the Walker Art Center. The clean lines, the stately back bar, the false perspective of the floor-to-ceiling windows that make it look like the restaurant extends into […]

Craft Cocktail: Knives Out at Lawless Distilling

My cocktail garnish has murderous intentions. There’s a fist gripping a knife, floating on my Negroni. “It’s a very lighthearted menu here. Very tongue-in-cheek,” says Bittercube’s Nick Kosevich. “We’re trying to be less vest-and-tie and more glitter-and-sparklers.” It’s this lack of pretense that makes Lawless Distilling’s cocktail room such a compelling place to drink. Bare […]

Spirits Close-Up: Allspice Dram

This month’s Craft Cocktail, The Everything Nice at Lyn 65, uses allspice dram to give the drink that unmistakable autumnal spice. Bottles of St. Elizabeth’s can be hard to find, so for this month’s Spirits Close-Up we’ve got an easy-to-make recipe for whipping up a batch at home. Why should I have allspice dram in […]

Craft Cocktail: Everything Nice at Lyn 65

There’s a stock image in my mind of a place with a good cocktail list. It’s dark. It might be in a basement. There’s exposed brick and plush seating. The bartenders are wearing Carhartt aprons. There are strange liqueurs on the menu I won’t dare try to pronounce. This is what makes drinking at Lyn […]

Craft Cocktail: Fender Bender at Hi-Lo Diner

Hi-Lo Diner looks like something from another galaxy—a gleaming silver craft that landed in the Cooper neighborhood after an interspace voyage—or at very least from a different time. In fact, the 1957 Fodero diner only traveled from Pennsylvania to East Lake Street, but their cocktails are still out of this world. Simeon Priest is our […]

Craft Cocktail: Escargot, My Car Go at Lolo American Kitchen

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 […]

Craft Cocktail: Ballad of a Thin Man at Icehouse

I always forget how hot Minnesota can get. The winters freeze the part of my brain that holds memories of the sun and its warming embrace. And then every June I’m shocked to notice my pasty skin suddenly radiating red under a cloudless sky. I’m staring down a stretch of Nicollet Avenue that’s cowering under […]

Craft Cocktail: The Wisdom of J.J. Hill at Handsome Hog

“I want people to look at the list, know what they’re ordering, and just get a really solid drink,” says Trish Gavin. “Proper dilution, proper garnish, correct glassware, right ice: the fundamentals of a cocktail.” Gavin is heading up the drink list at Handsome Hog, the new Southern-inspired eatery on Mears Park in Lowertown St. […]

Craft Cocktail: Mint Juleps with Trish Gavin of Handsome Hog

“Fresh mint—very important,” says Trish Gavin, placing a julep tin on the bar of Handsome Hog. That’s where we’ll be watching the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, drinking Gavin’s mint juleps before singing “My Old Kentucky Home” at an uncomfortable volume. If you’re watching the Run For The Roses at home, you might consider a wheated bourbon […]

Craft Cocktail: Amaretto Stone Sour at The Sheridan Room

Some cocktails will never go out of style. Other cocktails see their popularity ebb and flow. And yet others are so painfully retro that no self-respecting drinker would touch them with a 10-foot straw. Sheridan Room general manager Rachel Booth took that as a challenge. “I started off with White Russians and I built a […]

Craft Cocktail: The Dark Storm at Norseman Distillery

“These are all cocktails you can make at home,” says Keith Mrotek, beverage director at the Norseman Distillery cocktail room. “They all have three or four ingredients in them. Super simple. I want you to be able to come here, have a cocktail, go to a liquor store, buy our gin or rum, and then […]

Craft Cocktail: Something to Talk About at Heyday

“We’re food-focused here,” says Britt Tracy. “We need drinks to come out fast, but still be ingredient-focused and balanced.” Britt has been helming the bar at Heyday since it opened nearly two years ago. Recently, she noticed a cook pitting Kalamata olives. “There’s still lots of flesh on those pits,” she remembers thinking. “They’re like […]

Craft Cocktail: Sangria at Cafe Ena

“I bought El Meson 12 years ago, and that’s where it all started,” says Hector Ruiz, smiling at the bar of Cafe Ena in South Minneapolis. When he took over, El Meson had been serving boxed sangria. Ruiz figured he could do better. He began tweaking a recipe that would become a staple at all […]