Spirits Close-Up: Smoke






From midday brats to late-night s’mores, the flavors of summer are full of smoke. I say you should add a little to your cocktails as well. There are several ways to get a smoky flavor into drinks, but which ones are worth your time and effort? Don’t Bother With Liquid Smoke: Do you want your … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Campfire Rob Roy at Ngon Bistro






Most restaurants on University Avenue in St. Paul deliver excellent food at the expense of their ambiance. I’ll happily eat a banh mi from a grocery store or a bowl of pho in an unadorned plastic booth. But when it’s happy hour, I want to escape. I want to drink in summer as I drink … [ Read more]

I’m never drinking again: The science behind hangovers






Jonathan Howland is in the business of giving people hangovers. A professor of emergency medicine at Boston University School of Medicine and director of the Boston Medical Center Injury Prevention Center, Howland got into what he calls “the hangover business” when he and colleague Damaris Rohsenow, an alcohol and drug abuse researcher at Brown University, … [ Read more]

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Fooling Father Time: “Rapid-Aging” and the Future of Craft Whiskey






The standard formula for whiskey, the way it’s always been done, is this: you fill up an oak barrel with a clear spirit and then you wait. And wait. And wait. Inside that barrel, things slowly unfold. Alcohol seeps into the toasted oak, degrading the polymers that make up its structure. The lignin and hemicellulose in … [ Read more]

What We’re Drinking: June 2017






Welcome back to What We’re Drinking, wherein The Growler editorial staff look back on a recent remarkable beverage. What are you drinking, Growler Nation? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Wyndfall Cyder Driftless Dry, Kate Murphy, Editorial Assistant   On a muggy summer’s day, I thirst for something to beat the heat that’s refreshingly light, tart, … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Swedezerac at Fika






It’s a splendid May afternoon and I’m gazing up at turrets and spires, relaxing in the courtyard of a castle. Inside, there’s a stark white cafe where I found a bitter and spicy cocktail that feels just right for the season. “I’ve been playing with infusions lately, and specifically, my newfound love of Skaalvenn Aquavit,” … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Aquavit






This month’s Craft Cocktail: Swedezerac at Fika uses anise-infused Skaalvenn Aquavit to complement to the fennel note that dominates the spirit, so for this month’s Spirits Close-Up we’re diving into locally-produced aquavits to learn more. Bourbon has Kentucky. Absinthe has New Orleans. But aquavit has no spiritual center in the United States. Minnesota could be on … [ Read more]

RockFilter Distillery opens in June poised to make Minnesota’s best whiskey






The floodgates open and water rushes in. The entire building starts to tremble—cobwebs shake, beams shudder, a haze of flour shoots into the air. Turbines and belts from the 1870s are whirring just like they have for over a century. This is Schech’s Mill, the oldest water-powered mill with its original equipment in the state. … [ Read more]

Now Open: Flying Dutchman Spirits






The world travels of three pilots are about to make their way into your cocktail. Brandon Thornton, Scott Kaldenberg, and Jim Kaldenberg are celebrating the liftoff of a longtime dream—owning their own distillery and cocktail room. Flying Dutchman Spirits, now open in Eden Prairie, is named for its co-owners’ affinity for flying and their mutual … [ Read more]

Faribault ordinance clears way for new distillery, 10,000 Drops Craft Distillers






Craft spirits are coming to Faribault, Minnesota, later this year with the opening of 10,000 Drops Craft Distillers‘ cocktail room and distillery. The company started by Jake Hvistendahl, Kristie Kruchoski, Rob Kruchoski, and Patrick Jacobs— four friends who grew up together in Minnesota—will have a focus on un-aged and aged whiskeys and rum. The four partners have … [ Read more]

How to drink in the woods: Pro tips to elevate your beverage experience in the backcountry






We’re approaching that glorious time of year when we shed what’s left of our winter layers and head north in search of fresh air and open spaces. What’s an adventure trip without some delicious drinks to enjoy after those long, summer days? We talked to some Duluth-based experts who shared their recommendations on the best … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Branch Water at Norseman Distillery






On the first beautiful day of spring, I was admiring the Wüsthofs at Eversharp when I noticed the patio at Norseman Distillery. A single table was bathed in golden sunlight, as if the heavens had sent down a reservation placard for me and my girlfriend. We skipped across the parking lot to that table and, … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Water






This month’s Craft Cocktail is the Branch Water at Norseman Distillery, a remarkably uncomplicated whiskey and water. So, for this month’s Spirits Close-Up we decided to take a look at how water can enhance the whiskey-drinking experience.  Are you telling us to water down our cocktails? You’re doing it already. Water is an important ingredient … [ Read more]

J. Carver Distillery rolls out two new whiskeys and brandy






J. Carver Distillery is no stranger to grain-to-glass spirits, whether it’s gins, vodkas, or whiskeys produced at their Waconia, Minnesota, facility. On Monday, April 10, J. Carver announced it would be adding three new spirits—Brickyard Straight Bourbon, Runestone Straight Rye, and Island View Brandy—to its lineup, each distilled and aged in Minnesota-made barrels. “Non-chill filtered … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Late Tea Time at Revival St. Paul






“I wanted to stick to things that pair well with the food,” says Nate McLemore Raczkowski. He’s mixing a cocktail behind the bar at Revival St. Paul, as plates of fried chicken, collard greens, and brisket go wafting by.  “I don’t drink coffee anymore. I drink a lot of Earl Grey tea in the morning. … [ Read more]