New lounge cocktails at P.S. Steak: serious, fun, seriously fun

In the past decade, the lounge of the 510 Groveland building has been the site of some legendary drink-making. So how does P.S. Steak’s new bar manager Keith Mrotek step into this space? With confidence, but also reverence. “This space has been synonymous with Johnny Michaels,” he says, noting the former La Belle Vie barman … [ Read more]

Raise the Dead with This Corpse Reviver Recipe

Many cocktails have a quasi-medicinal origin story. Herbs and flowers have long been infused into alcohol and used to treat illnesses like digestive issues, scurvy, or fevers. People once made their bitter medicine more palatable by mixing it with sugar and spirits (sounds like an old fashioned, no?) Tonic water began as simply dissolved quinine … [ Read more]

Travail’s homage to Solera debuts Friday and we drank all the drinks

When Solera opened on Hennepin Avenue in 2002, it was a BFD in the local restaurant scene. Tim McKee and Josh Thoma were basking in the early critical glow of then-Stillwater-located La Belle Vie, and the tapas they installed next to the Orpheum were a revelation. It was a foundational restaurant for many in the … [ Read more]

New distillery and cocktail lounge, STILHEART, coming to the North Loop in fall 2019

We’ve been hearing rumblings all summer, and a press release confirmed it this morning: the team at Lawless Distilling Company is behind a new distillery and cocktail room concept, STILHEART, opening in the North Loop this fall. The two-level space will have seating on both levels, including views of the downstairs distillery. The cocktail room … [ Read more]

Botanical Bonanza: The aromatic additions that define our local gins

Gin is by definition is a juniper-flavored spirit—but it’s also flavored with everything else. It was born in Holland, where the Dutch East India Company once conglomerated all the world’s spices. Juniper had been soaked into medicinal spirits and tonics since the Middle Ages, and later, so was every exotic spice that was scurried back … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Farmers Market Cocktails

Whether it’s foraging, tending to a garden or farm, bringing home a CSA box, or visiting a farmers market, local produce is making more appearances in city homes. Here’s how to turn your late-summer farm finds into delicious drinks. Muddling The fastest way to incorporate fresh flavor is smashing it into the bottom of a … [ Read more]

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]