Spirits Close-Up: Quit Smoking

You order a drink and a slate tablet appears in front of you. On the tablet, the bartender ignites a small pile of woodchips and covers it with a rocks glass that fills with white fog. The glass is then quickly upturned and the bartender adds a stirred cocktail. The smoke slowly drifts away as … [ Read more]

Dashfire unveils six(!) single-serve canned cocktails

There’s been lots of recent activity in the local ready-to-drink beverage scene. Vikre Distillery is canning a pink and bubbly French 75, Crooked Water Spirits has announced a bottled Negroni, and Plain Spoke Cocktail Co. from Madison, Wisconsin, has just introduced a canned mojito to complement their Bourbon Smash and Moscow Mule. Now perhaps the … [ Read more]

Now Open: Alexandria’s Ida Graves Distillery launches honey-based vodka and organic gin

Brock Berglund and Anna Wilson’s 77 acres outside Alexandria, Minnesota, are beautiful, bordering on idyllic. The land is enrolled in the Minnesota DNR’s Conservation Reserve Program, in which private land is set aside to encourage wildlife habitation. It’s full of native grasses and pollinator plants. The DNR even installed a berm to create a wetland … [ Read more]

Ticket Giveaway: Bittercube + Bar Brigade’s ‘Hemingway’ cocktail pop-up on July 8

If you’ve ever had a Bittercube-designed cocktail (and if you’re reading this, the odds are high that you have) you know that they’ve pretty much mastered things in the way of fun, citrusy rum drinks. A special pop-up on Monday, July 8, at Bar Brigade in St. Paul will put these skills on full display … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Cobblers Had a Bumpy Road

Sherry, sugar, ice, fruit. The sherry cobbler is simple and delicious but any hopes of knowing its origins remain as crushed as the ice on which the cocktail is built. Mentioned by notables from Charles Dickens to Queen Victoria, the sherry cobbler became the most famous libation in the 19th-century Western world because of three … [ Read more]

Hi-Lo Diner goes full dad-bar tonight

In the past three years, the theme-night cocktail pop-ups at Hi-Lo Diner have grown increasingly elaborate, wacky, and just downright fun. The bar that recently gave us the Booze Brothers and Hi-LoWeen tonight will transform into the bar of every dad’s dream. Dad Bar: A Hop On Pop-Up will feature a dad joke contest, a … [ Read more]

Eastern Promises: Shochu and baijiu are entering the Minnesota market—getting them right in a cocktail takes a delicate touch

The bottle in question was some type of clear spirit, purchased on a business trip to China, secondhand gifted to me. Its only English lettering was the word “Taiwan” and a three-digit number that I figured to be the spirit’s proof. It smelled like an auto mechanic’s shop on a humid July afternoon—stuffy like hot … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: The Next, Next Cool Spirit

People are always trying to find what’s “next” in spirits. Whiskey is locked into its heyday. Tequila has overcome the fake amber stuff we shot in college. Minnesotans have decided to be “nice” about the smoke of mezcal. Sherry may never fully bloom here. My money says the next big spirits boom will come when … [ Read more]

Better Camp Eats & Drinks: Nalgene Cocktails

This article is a part of The Growler’s Outdoor Guide. Find more tips for outdoor adventure and dining here.  If you’re going camping, you can nip on a 1.75 of whatever whiskey you can find in a plastic handle and that’s a perfectly respectable way to get three sheets to the warming summer wind. But … [ Read more]

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.