Everyone Highballs But US

Highball cocktails are buzzing with popularity all around the world—that is, everywhere but the United States. While cocktail culture capitals like Tokyo, London, and Singapore have been doling out highball variants for decades, stateside hubs like New York, San Francisco, and Minneapolis (if we do say so ourselves) are only beginning to participate. The bones … [ Read more]

A Pocket Full of Rye: How a lowly, northern grain is mounting a comeback through whiskey

Stalks of rye bob in the summer breeze in a field near Cambridge, Minnesota. It is a cereal grass in the wheat family—seeded in the fall, it stays green and patient throughout the winter, then skyrockets in the early spring. It shoots up from the gray, powdery soil, gets a deep tan, and then grows … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: The Summer Spritz

The wine spritzer went through some dark years during the time coolers and alcopops had their heyday and Bartles & Jaymes was a picnic staple. But now, with the wealth of liqueurs the craft cocktail movement has brought to our shelves, making delicious and unique wine spritzers has never been easier. Here’s the general idea: … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Rosolio Spritz at Icehouse

A good cocktail doesn’t need to be complicated. Context is king, and this is the season for splashing liqueur into a glass full of ice, topping it with sparkling wine, and calling it an afternoon. On a recent lazy day in the sunshine of Eat Street, we ducked into Icehouse where bar manager Whitney Evans … [ Read more]

Now Open (Or Damn Close): Studio Distilling

Rye whiskey can be a lovely thing, but it can also be a challenge. “Peppery” is the common adjective lobbed at the grain, which suffered a century of neglect before American distillers once again started to treat it with respect. Studio Distilling is one such producer, and they open today in Midway St. Paul for … [ Read more]

Salt: The secret agent in cocktails

Bartenders often add salt to cocktails. Not just the stuff that lays dormant on the rim of your margaritas and bloody marys, salt is also stirred or shaken right into your drinks. Because salt has a very particular set of skills, in the right amount, it will lay low among all the other ingredients like … [ Read more]

Loon Liquor Co. 2.0: First look at the new cocktail room and distillery

When co-owners Simeon Rossi and Mark Schiller began raising money for Loon Liquor Co. in late 2012, they had a concept that they were confident would be successful. They wanted to create spirits from locally sourced, organic-certified ingredients, and they wanted to do it in their hometown of Northfield, Minnesota. Having no distilling experience didn’t seem … [ Read more]

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]