Craft Cocktail: God Save The Queen at Nightingale

When you’ve met as many bartenders as I have (on purely journalistic endeavors, mind you, or at least that’s the story I’m going with), you start to notice where they hang out after their shifts. One prime locale for the late-night industry crowd is Nightingale, the sleek and cozy Lyndale Avenue hangout where you might … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Barrel Gin

The walls are crumbling. The boundless creativity of the craft movement has ensured that spirits are becoming less and less boxed into the stylistic traditions that once defined them. On our shelves now, we’re treated to products like “aged vodka,” and beer-barrel-aged whiskey, and gins with every botanical under the sun. Spirits are being blended … [ Read more]

The Twin Cities’ newest Scotch whisky bar is a Viking ship

Minnesotans interested in fine Scotch whisky have an unlikely, new bar to visit: a 30-foot viking longship in front of U.S. Bank Stadium. Throughout the 2018–19 Vikings football season, Highland Park—which hails from an island at the intersection of the Atlantic and the North Sea—will be doling out samples of its single-malt Scotch whisky in … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Fruit Brandy

I can’t claim this as objective fact, but my prejudice is this: a great deal of the unaged brandy in the world is disgusting. From Italian grappa, to French marc, and eau de vie of all stripes—so many are little more than a nerve-shattering mouthful of fiery ethanol. That’s why I’ve become fixated on four fruit … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Wicker Chair Widow’s Kiss at Al’s Place

All month long, we’ve been traipsing through orchards in search of the botanical complexity that marks a well-crafted cider. For our cocktail, we wanted something just as floral and herbaceous made with an apple spirit.  We found it at Al’s Place, the Prohibition-era inspired top floor of Stanley’s Northeast Bar Room, where drinks are named … [ Read more]

Everyone Highballs But US

Highball cocktails are buzzing with popularity all around the world—that is, everywhere but the United States. While cocktail culture capitals like Tokyo, London, and Singapore have been doling out highball variants for decades, stateside hubs like New York, San Francisco, and Minneapolis (if we do say so ourselves) are only beginning to participate. The bones … [ Read more]

A Pocket Full of Rye: How a lowly, northern grain is mounting a comeback through whiskey

Stalks of rye bob in the summer breeze in a field near Cambridge, Minnesota. It is a cereal grass in the wheat family—seeded in the fall, it stays green and patient throughout the winter, then skyrockets in the early spring. It shoots up from the gray, powdery soil, gets a deep tan, and then grows … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: The Summer Spritz

The wine spritzer went through some dark years during the time coolers and alcopops had their heyday and Bartles & Jaymes was a picnic staple. But now, with the wealth of liqueurs the craft cocktail movement has brought to our shelves, making delicious and unique wine spritzers has never been easier. Here’s the general idea: … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Rosolio Spritz at Icehouse

A good cocktail doesn’t need to be complicated. Context is king, and this is the season for splashing liqueur into a glass full of ice, topping it with sparkling wine, and calling it an afternoon. On a recent lazy day in the sunshine of Eat Street, we ducked into Icehouse where bar manager Whitney Evans … [ Read more]

Now Open (Or Damn Close): Studio Distilling

Rye whiskey can be a lovely thing, but it can also be a challenge. “Peppery” is the common adjective lobbed at the grain, which suffered a century of neglect before American distillers once again started to treat it with respect. Studio Distilling is one such producer, and they open today in Midway St. Paul for … [ Read more]

Salt: The secret agent in cocktails

Bartenders often add salt to cocktails. Not just the stuff that lays dormant on the rim of your margaritas and bloody marys, salt is also stirred or shaken right into your drinks. Because salt has a very particular set of skills, in the right amount, it will lay low among all the other ingredients like … [ Read more]

Loon Liquor Co. 2.0: First look at the new cocktail room and distillery

When co-owners Simeon Rossi and Mark Schiller began raising money for Loon Liquor Co. in late 2012, they had a concept that they were confident would be successful. They wanted to create spirits from locally sourced, organic-certified ingredients, and they wanted to do it in their hometown of Northfield, Minnesota. Having no distilling experience didn’t seem … [ Read more]

This summer we’re drinking mezcal with moth worms

In all my sensory recollections of summer, the flavors are invariably Mexican—the smell of roasted tomatillos, the snap of fresh jicama, the ecstasy of a warm tortilla piled high with pibil. This summer I’m adding a new favorite: mezcal with a hint of moth worm. Seriously. “Purists will tell you the only way to drink … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Egg Whites

If a cocktail has citrus, try adding an egg white,” says bartender Sean Cooke, separating an egg behind the bar at Fitzgerald’s on Selby Avenue in St. Paul. “Sours, daiquiris, gimlets, amaretto sour with egg white is amazing, and it makes a luxurious margarita.” (He made us one. It sure does.) So we asked bartenders … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Clover Club at Hodges Bend

A ring of egg white foam makes a cocktail look undeniably enticing. Like the blooming head on a pint of pale ale or the pillowy tuft of milk dolloped atop a latte, a layer of foam announces your drink will have texture and contrast—two defining features of our cocktail this month. We find it at … [ Read more]