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]

Craft Cocktail: Tattersall’s Salty Dog

A clear spirit and a slug of Fresca is tailor-made for an oversized plastic cup and the ragged sunshine of June. It’s a combination that says, “I’m going to lounge on a boat that’s still tied to the dock and don’t bother me until I finish this book,” or perhaps, “I have to spend Saturday … [ Read more]

Now Open (Or Damn Close): Brother Justus Whiskey Company

In the never-ending debate on how long a whiskey needs to age, Phil Steger of Brother Justus Whiskey Company offers a fresh take. While many consider the job of an oak barrel to be “smoothing out” a spirit—giving the liquid time to breath, mellow, and evolve—Steger thinks that may be asking too much. “We want to show … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Fleming Florey & Chain

For many drinkers who love a good whisky, the smokiest Scotches can still be challenging. When a distillery smokes their malt over peat moss, it can result in an intensity of flavor that’s hard to ignore. Unless, that is, you doctor it with some other intense flavors like ginger and lemon in a cocktail like … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-up: Blended Whiskey

The world of spirits is full of outdated terms. But perhaps no phrase should be relegated to the recycle bin of booze history quite like “blended whiskey.” As a contrast to “straight bourbon whiskey,” “blended whiskey” was a catch-all term created to describe the strategy of stretching the leftovers—a little of the good stuff, mixed … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Avocadarita at fig + farro

Margaritas and avocados go hand in hand, especially when the weather turns hot and humid. And at fig + farro, both can literally be in your hand at the same time with their Avocadarita. “Avocados lend an amazing, creamy mouthfeel and an awesome light color,” says Michael Dunn, bartender at fig + farro. “Sweet orange, … [ Read more]

Now Open (Or Damn Close): 10,000 Drops Craft Distillers in Faribault

It’s an expensive proposition to make grain to glass spirits when just starting a distillery business, but for the founders of 10,000 Drops Craft Distillers, soon to open in downtown Faribault, it’s an important commitment to make in an industry burdened with artful deception. “From start to finish, we do the work,” says Rob Kruchoski, … [ Read more]

Bob Dylan to release his own line of whiskey, Heaven’s Door

In addition to being a folk music god and winning a Nobel Prize, Bob Dylan can now add a whiskey brand to his extensive repertoire. Having crooned about whiskey many times throughout his storied career, next month the Americana icon will release a collection of three whiskeys under the brand Heaven’s Door Spirits. The idea … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Murakami Tea Punch at Martina

There’s an old rhyme from Barbados that describes the ratio of ingredients in a bowl of punch: “One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, and four of weak.” When Dustin Nguyen won the punch-making competition for Martina at this year’s Minneapolis regional of Cochon555, his creation followed those proportions. But it wasn’t that … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Lesser-Known Liquor

The craft cocktail movement, aided by exciting boutique importers, is bringing so many interesting new bottles of booze to our local shelves. But which ones are worth a bother? Which are versatile enough to play around with, and easy to mix into your favorite drinks? We asked MSP bartenders to endorse three of the stranger … [ Read more]

Palmer’s Bar selling to longtime Grumpy’s NE bartender Tony Zaccardi

Palmer’s Bar in Minneapolis’ Cedar-Riverside is an institution. Opened in 1906, the bar was owned by Minneapolis Brewing Company as a tied house, and it’s rumored that during Prohibition it operated as a speakeasy with a tunnel connecting Palmer’s to the 5 Corners Saloon (what is now known as the Nomad). In the 1930s, there … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Absinthe

Absinthe is loaded with misinformation. So let’s get a few things straight: Absinthe in America is as “real” as the absinthe in Europe. Since before Prohibition, we had mistakenly attributed mind-altering properties to a compound called thujone that’s found in wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), the main flavoring agent of absinthe. Thujone is not hallucinogenic and, despite … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Lychee Keen at Hai Hai

Outside of Hai Hai in Northeast Minneapolis, the snow banks are growing and the wind is howling. Inside, there’s sugar cane being pressed, limes being juiced, and a thicket of green herbs covering the bar. As long as I don’t leave this bar seat, it’s no longer winter as far as I’m concerned. Let’s keep … [ Read more]