John Garland

About John Garland

John Garland is the Senior Editor at the Growler Magazine. Find him on twitter (@johnpgarland) or in real life at various bar patios in South Minneapolis.

Craft Cocktail: Branch Water at Norseman Distillery

On the first beautiful day of spring, I was admiring the Wüsthofs at Eversharp when I noticed the patio at Norseman Distillery. A single table was bathed in golden sunlight, as if the heavens had sent down a reservation placard for me and my girlfriend. We skipped across the parking lot to that table and, … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Water

This month’s Craft Cocktail is the Branch Water at Norseman Distillery, a remarkably uncomplicated whiskey and water. So, for this month’s Spirits Close-Up we decided to take a look at how water can enhance the whiskey-drinking experience.  Are you telling us to water down our cocktails? You’re doing it already. Water is an important ingredient … [ Read more]

Minnesota Spoon: Back to base camp with J.D. Fratzke

J.D. Fratzke tucks a brown paper bag under a small teepee of sticks. It’s been raining here, last night and early this morning. He searches for drier kindling, finding only a little. The chef will make do. We’re perched at a campsite above the St. Croix River, surrounded by scraggly trees and a cool wind … [ Read more]

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Craft Cocktail: Late Tea Time at Revival St. Paul

“I wanted to stick to things that pair well with the food,” says Nate McLemore Raczkowski. He’s mixing a cocktail behind the bar at Revival St. Paul, as plates of fried chicken, collard greens, and brisket go wafting by.  “I don’t drink coffee anymore. I drink a lot of Earl Grey tea in the morning. … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Infusions

This month’s Craft Cocktail, the Late Tea Time at Revival St. Paul, uses Earl Grey-infused gin to add flavor to the drink, so we decided to take a closer look at how and what to infuse with your favorite spirits. Infusing a spirit is an easy way to make show-stopping cocktails at home. It’s almost impossible … [ Read more]

MN Opera’s “Dinner At Eight”: Fiddling While Rome Burns

The world around them is in shambles, they’ll be damned if they don’t keep up appearances. Like the cartoon dog in the burning room, this is fine, they say. Last Saturday was the world premiere of Dinner At Eight, an opera based on the 1932 play by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber, at the … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Paloma at Pajarito

With all the unseasonably warm weather, I’ve been jumping the gun on spring. Maybe if I buy potting soil and sunscreen, just maybe I can will the season to change. That goes for drinks, too. I’ve been brooding with bourbon since Halloween. No more, I say. Give me something light and citrusy, and maybe the … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Honey

This month’s Craft Cocktail, the Paloma at Pajarito, uses honey to provide a little subtle sweetness, so for this month’s Spirits Close-Up we’re taking a closer look at honey and its many uses behind the bar. Why would I make a cocktail syrup out of honey? Isn’t it already a syrup? Kind of, but we … [ Read more]

Rent-A-Goat: Can we use ruminants to stop invasive plants and restore the natural landscape?

When Sue Wika bought her farm in Ashby, Minnesota, it was overrun with weeds. “You could barely move through the oak savanna,” she recalls. “So much prickly ash, and buckthorn too.” It’s all the same scene—from her prairie expanse in Grant County to the hardwood forests of the Driftless Area—invasive plants are taking the soil … [ Read more]

Loon Liquor Company debuts Lac Coeur Coffee Liqueur

For Minnesota’s distillers, coffee is the liqueur du jour. Du Nord Craft Spirits recently released Café Frieda. Norseman Distillery recently teased one as well. And now, Northfield’s Loon Liquor Company—with three primary spirits under their belts (Loonshine, MetropoliGin, and Wheaton Barley Vodka) and with the February chill in everyone’s bones—figured the time is right to bring to … [ Read more]

Spirits Closeup: Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur

  This month’s Craft Cocktail: Aviation at Red Rabbit, uses Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur for a bit of sweetness. Here are some additional uses for the liqueur you can try at home. You want me to buy a $30 bottle of cherry liqueur? That’s what I pay for bourbon! I hear you. But that straw-wrapped bottle looks … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Aviation at Red Rabbit

Some cocktails should never change. Their formulas were perfected a century ago and no amount of modern mixology will improve them. The aviation is not one of those cocktails. I find the original turn-of-the-century formula—gin and lemon juice with maraschino and violet liqueurs—too bitter and dry. Maraschino liqueur (see this month’s Spirits Close-Up) is semi-sweet, … [ Read more]

Denver: The Only City In The West

Colorado helped pave the way for craft beer nationwide. How is Denver beer getting on now that it’s mainstream? Take a window seat on the train ride from Denver International Airport to Union Station. On the half-hour trip from the middle of nowhere, watch the city come into focus through the dust and sun. Watch … [ Read more]

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Spirits Close-Up: Licorice Root

This month’s Craft Cocktail, the Contemporary Gin Fizz at Esker Grove, uses a mushroom syrup made with licorice root, so for this month’s Spirits Close-Up we’re taking a closer look at this versatile plant. It’s the spice of winter, the additive du jour. It’s challenging and distinct, yet warming and comforting. But if you ask … [ Read more]

The Rice Table: A chef, a YouTuber, and the identity of Lao food in Minnesota

During a lunchtime feast at the Hmongtown Marketplace, I ask Christina Tia, a YouTuber with over 10,000 subscribers to her Lao cooking channel, House of X Tia, about her favorite Lao restaurant in the Twin Cities. “There isn’t one,” she says. “But, what about…” “Nope,” she says, searching among our spread for the plate of … [ Read more]