Now Open: Royal Foundry Craft Spirits in Minneapolis’ Harrison neighborhood

For years, Andy McLain didn’t know what to do with his “British experience.” Though he was born in the United States, McLain spent many of his early years abroad—first in England, his parents’ home country, and then in Belgium. Even after returning to the States, he visited family in the U.K. once or twice each … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Which expensive bottles live up to their price tag?

Liquor prices can seem arbitrary. The factors affecting the price of a spirit are seemingly unending and often well hidden. What we pay at the liquor store has to do with the spirit’s cost of production and distribution, sure, but also the brand’s marketing budget, celebrity endorsements, custom bottle design, and high-def B-roll footage of … [ Read more]

A taste of ‘Plague Water,’ and other spirits of centuries past

I’m drinking Plague Water. It’s made from a medieval-sounding roster of roots and herbs including zedoary, valerian, horehound, thistle, and rue. It tastes bitter and strange—but I have it on good authority that these ingredients are a “singular remedy against pestilence and poyson.” So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice. The recipe is from … [ Read more]

Two Minnesota Distilleries Awarded Best of Class at 2019 American Craft Spirits Awards

Medalists for the 2019 American Craft Spirits Awards were announced Monday, February 11, at the annual ACSA Distillers’ Convention & Vendor Trade Show, hosted this year at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis. The awards are divided into seven categories—Brandy, Gin, Rum, Specialty Spirits, Vodka & Grain, Whiskey, and Innovation (a new category in 2019, recognizing … [ Read more]

There’s no tomato juice in our new favorite bloody mary mix

Special alert for those of you starting Big Game Sunday with a morning cocktail: we have a new favorite bloody mix. Most bloody marys, you’re no doubt aware, are thick mouthfuls of unseasoned tomato sludge that you tolerate just long enough to eat the garnish. That’s why we’re digging Miss Mary’s: it’s a much lighter … [ Read more]

The Great Debate: Should A Craft Distillery Purchase Already-Made Spirits?

The term “craft” is ambiguous at best. This is especially true when it comes to the world of spirits. With the surge of smaller-scale distilleries taking root in Minnesota and beyond, more attention is being paid to not just the final bottled product but the ingredients used to make it. Several spirits companies purchase neutral … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Morelos Sour at Popol Vuh

Bourbon sours are my fiancée’s favorite drink, so I’ve had plenty of practice making all their possible variations. The challenge with sours is they get too sweet in a hurry. Bourbon is a comparatively sweet whiskey, pre-made “sour” mix isn’t sour in the least, and a rich syrup can leave the drink feeling heavy. It … [ Read more]

Clear Ice: The American Way

Clear ice isn’t just for looks. Clarity means quality, and clear ice makes your drink colder, more delicious, more consistent, more historically accurate, and more truly American. (What?! Yes. Don’t worry, I’ll feed you, baby birds.) Clear ice is a staple at Twin Cities cocktail spots, an integral part of global cocktail culture, and easier … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Of The Northern Fashioned at The Hasty Tasty

As we gaze into our crystal snifter and divine the future of cocktails, one trend we’re seeing with greater frequency is the decreasing importance of brand names on cocktail lists. There’s hardly prestige in a top-shelf call when you lose that flavor under a barrage of other ingredients.  We’d rather have a bar program that’s … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Bitters, The Liquid Spice Rack

The long fence of tiny bottles between you and the bartender at your favorite cocktail spot can be intimidating. Most imbibers know the basics of bitters—the potent infusions of herbal elements and flavor extracts—but for those who aren’t regularly making cocktails for themselves, there’s still a lot of confusion about them. Thankfully, using bitters doesn’t … [ Read more]

2018 Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Readers’ Choice Award Winners

Each year, we ask our readers to nominate and vote for the best of the best in Minnesota beer, spirits, food, and arts and culture. This year, a record number of readers cast their ballots to determine the winners of the Kind-of-a-Big-Deal Readers’ Choice Awards. These are the breweries and bars serving up great craft … [ Read more]

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Year in Review: Minnesota Wine & Spirits in 2018

A martini at Nye’s Bar is a fine drink to reflect on the year 2018 in local spirits. In January, this bar, Nye’s in name only, opened in the dust of the demolished Polonaise Room, a place whose divey charm earned it the Best Bar in America designation from Esquire in 2006—a lifetime ago, from the … [ Read more]

What We’re Drinking: December 2018

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. James Norton, Food Editor ■ Urban Growler Wild Rice Brown Ale Urban Growler’s Wild Rice Brown Ale connects with the mission of its Plow to Pint series by utilizing … [ Read more]

The Perfect Holiday Party Nightcap Recipe: The Hearthsider

The fire is dying, the kids are asleep. Time to reward yourself for a party well-thrown. Let’s stop in to Bardo where our cocktail columnist, Zachary Sapato, stirs up the perfect nightcap. “Hechicera Rum has a ton of banana-coconut-tropical notes to it, but also the vanilla and caramel flavors you want from a barrel,” he … [ Read more]

Holiday Punch: Easy as 1-2-3-4

P unch is a celebratory drink and quite a remarkable thing. At its core, it is a simple combination of distilled spirits, citrus, juice, sugar, water, and a touch of spice. Like many culinary endeavors that have withstood the test of time, punch starts with a simple formula and evolves with complexity as the user … [ Read more]