10 Bars for 2020

At this point, we could all use a stiff drink. To say that the bar scene in the Twin Cities has changed dramatically in 2020 would be a gross understatement. Several of our favorite bars have shut their doors permanently (RIP Marvel Bar), while others are staying closed by choice, with owners feeling trepidatious about … [ Read more]

Amaro at Alma

Filled with mystery and allure, amaro is a liqueur worthy of our attention. In fact, it demands it.  Dualities of bitter and sweet, backed up by bold herbaceous, spicy flavors require us to slow down. Most purveyors guard their proprietary blends of macerated botanicals, leaving us to tune into our palette in order to uncover … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Tea with Honey is the Bee’s Knees

On the morning of May 29, 2020, Chris and Shanelle Montana arrived to find the inside of Du Nord Craft Spirits’ warehouse gutted and burned. The first black-owned craft distillery in the country, Du Nord was one of many minority-owned businesses damaged by rioters in the weeks that followed George Floyd’s killing.  Distilling is a … [ Read more]

10 Bars for 2020: North Loop Bars

  A walk around the North Loop on July 16 demonstrates the discordant relationship between a public that thirsts for socialization, bars and restaurants attempting to balance business needs and public safety, and a pandemic that simply doesn’t care about our best intentions. The patio at The Freehouse on July 16, 2020, was brimming with … [ Read more]

10 Bars for 2020: Pimento

P imento Kitchen is a prime example of how a bar can become an agent of social change. In the wake of George Floyd’s killing at the hands of Minneapolis police officers, Pimento has used it’s platform to actively engage local leaders on the issue of police reform. With Minneapolis residents in need, co-founder Tomme … [ Read more]

The State of Spirits: Minnesota’s distillers reflect on a challenging year and uncertain future

Like all small businesses, Minnesota’s local distilleries have been challenged on multiple fronts in the wake of COVID-19. Stay-at-home orders shuttered their cocktail rooms. Restaurant and bar closures sent their on-premise sales into a tailspin. Loss of revenue prompted changes in staffing and operations.  Pre-pandemic, the industry was already disappointed that the Minnesota Legislature did … [ Read more]

The Growler’s Cocktail Hall of Fame: Our drinks editor selects the best drink recipes we’ve ever published

  It didn’t take long for five o’clock to assume a quasi-religious significance. Over seven weeks of layoff, stay-at-home, and various shades of quarantine and social distance, it became a welcome ritual. The clink of ice cubes, the pop of a shaker, something to mark the day and time. With no bars to frequent and … [ Read more]

The Zizani: A New Cocktail from the Old Country

I’m a Greek-Mexican-United Statesian bartender and I call Minnesota home. An endeavor to discover more of my cultural history has inspired deep-dives into ancestry websites and multiple travels to “Old Country” locations. As history can inform the present, a deeper understanding of my cultures give me new creative spaces in drink-making. Putting our authentic selves … [ Read more]

The Good, The Bad, and the Smooth: Blind tasting 21 local vodkas in search of the finest

While we often dote on the nuances of fine bourbon, great vodka can be awfully pleasant: rich and creamy, smooth and balanced, crisp and clean.

State senate bill introduced to expand bottle sales and production limits for Minnesota microdistilleries

Minnesota’s small distilleries are lobbying to remove the need for those tiny bottles in their cocktail rooms. A bill numbered S.F. 3870 was introduced to the Minnesota State Senate on March 2, 2020, that would increase the limits on how much off-sale product a distillery can sell to visitors. The bill would amend section 340A … [ Read more]

For Harmony Spirits’ owners, distilling is second nature

Now Open (Or Damn Close) is supported by underwriting partner Maltwerks, a Midwest malt house focused on genuine relationships in offering quality, locally produced, traceable malt. The Growler maintained full editorial control over the content. Opening a distillery seemed like a logical next step for Harmony Spirits co-owner Jim Simpson and his other two co-owners, … [ Read more]

The (Un)true Story of the Bloody Mary

TThe following is a narrative interpretation of the real-life claims to the rise (or) the invention (or) the discovery of the Bloody Mary. As is often the case with the history of cocktails, evidence suggests these claims are probably wrong. Drinking tomato juice was all the rage in early 20th-century America, and a Vaudeville comedian … [ Read more]

What We’re Drinking: March 2020

  Welcome back to What We’re Drinking, wherein The Growler editorial staff look back on recent remarkable beverages. What are you drinking, Growler Nation? Let us know on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Txopinondo Sagarnoa  Brian Kaufenberg, Editor-in-Chief The Basque region is one of the most legendary when it comes to cider and though the naturally fermented style is most … [ Read more]

The Great Debate: The Three-Tier System Is Fundamentally Broken

Illustration by Will Dinski After Prohibition ended in 1933, states were in need of a better system to regulate the manufacture and distribution of alcohol. They needed a way to discourage large breweries from monopolizing the industry, and to ensure that products were being made and transported safely. In Minnesota, like many others, the result … [ Read more]

The Old Fashioned Is The New Cosmopolitan

I’ll have a [drink],” says the bar guest confidently, and without a menu, like a reflex. “I saw it on [show] and I really like how [character] looked drinking out of its signature glass.” Maybe they don’t say the last part out loud, but it goes without saying. That drink used to be the Cosmopolitan. … [ Read more]