Eastern Promises: Shochu and baijiu are entering the Minnesota market—getting them right in a cocktail takes a delicate touch

The bottle in question was some type of clear spirit, purchased on a business trip to China, secondhand gifted to me. Its only English lettering was the word “Taiwan” and a three-digit number that I figured to be the spirit’s proof. It smelled like an auto mechanic’s shop on a humid July afternoon—stuffy like hot … [ Read more]

Why You Hate Vermouth

Bartenders everywhere know that people hate vermouth. Guests are constantly requesting their martini not be sullied with that same swill collecting dust in their home liquor cabinet. They employ an ever-expanding array of vocal burbles and diminutive hand motions to demonstrate how minuscule a measure of vermouth might be permitted.  But there’s no chance the … [ 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]

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]

Spirits Close-Up: The Ultimate Hot Toddy Matrix

We can’t fight it any longer. Winter is coming, so let’s get our hot toddy game in order. It’s pretty hard to screw it up—all you need is a slug of booze and a spot of sugar. Pick one of each, juice a lemon, and consult this matrix for how to finish it off.