Wander North Distillery closing its cocktail lounge, moving production operations

After five years at their Northeast location, Wander North Distillery is closing its cocktail lounge and moving its production to a smaller facility. “Wander North will still be in business,” said founder Brian Winter in the official announcement. “After five years, though, it was time to step back and evaluate what we’ve been doing.” Winter … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: The Minnesconsin Old Fashioned – A “compromise” cocktail

Ask born-and-raised Minnesotans and they’ll give you an extensive list of differences between them and Wisconsinites or North and South Dakotans. Ask bartenders in the Twin Cities and they’ll tell you numerous confused-out-of-stater stories. Living in different states can feel like living in cultures as different as night and day, but for bartenders on the borders, … [ Read more]

Jace Marti and Nate Gieseke opening Black Frost Distilling Company in New Ulm

Few people know more about fermentation than Jace Marti. The 35-year-old assistant brewmaster and sixth-generation brewer officially started working at his family’s brewery, August Schell Brewing Company in New Ulm, Minnesota, when he was 18 years old, but had been doing odd jobs around the brewery long before that. In 2017, he opened Starkeller Brewing Company, the Schell’s … [ Read more]

Portable Potables: Traveling With Booze

Your feet are sore, your camera card is full, and you’ve checked off all the places on your sightseeing list. Yep, you can chalk this vacation up as a grand success. But now it’s time to pack your bags again and head back to the daily grind. Thankfully, being the wise person you are, you … [ Read more]

Why You Hate Vermouth

Bartenders everywhere know that people hate vermouth. Guests are constantly requesting their martini not be sullied with that same swill collecting dust in their home liquor cabinet. They employ an ever-expanding array of vocal burbles and diminutive hand motions to demonstrate how minuscule a measure of vermouth might be permitted.  But there’s no chance the … [ Read more]

How to Make a Better Bathtub Gin

With a little time, ingenuity, and high quality vodka, you can make your own “bathtub gin” from the comfort of your kitchen.

Now Open: Royal Foundry Craft Spirits in Minneapolis’ Harrison neighborhood

For years, Andy McLain didn’t know what to do with his “British experience.” Though he was born in the United States, McLain spent many of his early years abroad—first in England, his parents’ home country, and then in Belgium. Even after returning to the States, he visited family in the U.K. once or twice each … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Which expensive bottles live up to their price tag?

Liquor prices can seem arbitrary. The factors affecting the price of a spirit are seemingly unending and often well hidden. What we pay at the liquor store has to do with the spirit’s cost of production and distribution, sure, but also the brand’s marketing budget, celebrity endorsements, custom bottle design, and high-def B-roll footage of … [ Read more]

A taste of ‘Plague Water,’ and other spirits of centuries past

I’m drinking Plague Water. It’s made from a medieval-sounding roster of roots and herbs including zedoary, valerian, horehound, thistle, and rue. It tastes bitter and strange—but I have it on good authority that these ingredients are a “singular remedy against pestilence and poyson.” So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice. The recipe is from … [ Read more]

Two Minnesota Distilleries Awarded Best of Class at 2019 American Craft Spirits Awards

Medalists for the 2019 American Craft Spirits Awards were announced Monday, February 11, at the annual ACSA Distillers’ Convention & Vendor Trade Show, hosted this year at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis. The awards are divided into seven categories—Brandy, Gin, Rum, Specialty Spirits, Vodka & Grain, Whiskey, and Innovation (a new category in 2019, recognizing … [ Read more]

There’s no tomato juice in our new favorite bloody mary mix

Special alert for those of you starting Big Game Sunday with a morning cocktail: we have a new favorite bloody mix. Most bloody marys, you’re no doubt aware, are thick mouthfuls of unseasoned tomato sludge that you tolerate just long enough to eat the garnish. That’s why we’re digging Miss Mary’s: it’s a much lighter … [ Read more]

The Great Debate: Should A Craft Distillery Purchase Already-Made Spirits?

The term “craft” is ambiguous at best. This is especially true when it comes to the world of spirits. With the surge of smaller-scale distilleries taking root in Minnesota and beyond, more attention is being paid to not just the final bottled product but the ingredients used to make it. Several spirits companies purchase neutral … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Morelos Sour at Popol Vuh

Bourbon sours are my fiancée’s favorite drink, so I’ve had plenty of practice making all their possible variations. The challenge with sours is they get too sweet in a hurry. Bourbon is a comparatively sweet whiskey, pre-made “sour” mix isn’t sour in the least, and a rich syrup can leave the drink feeling heavy. It … [ Read more]

Clear Ice: The American Way

Clear ice isn’t just for looks. Clarity means quality, and clear ice makes your drink colder, more delicious, more consistent, more historically accurate, and more truly American. (What?! Yes. Don’t worry, I’ll feed you, baby birds.) Clear ice is a staple at Twin Cities cocktail spots, an integral part of global cocktail culture, and easier … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Of The Northern Fashioned at The Hasty Tasty

As we gaze into our crystal snifter and divine the future of cocktails, one trend we’re seeing with greater frequency is the decreasing importance of brand names on cocktail lists. There’s hardly prestige in a top-shelf call when you lose that flavor under a barrage of other ingredients.  We’d rather have a bar program that’s … [ Read more]