In the 1890s, a group of Shakespeare fanatics in New York devised a romantic plan to honor the bard: release a member of every animal species mentioned in his plays into the wilds of America. After a few false starts, a group of stocky black starlings, casually mentioned in “Henry IV,” flew into the sky … [ Read more]
Eat the Invasion: Does it make sense to promote the idea of controlling non-native species by eating them?
The lobby of the Hewing Hotel looks so charming in winter. A glowing fireplace, surrounded by warm accents and cozy chairs. If we were in the mountains, it would be the kind of place you’d wind down with a bourbon après-ski. But Trish Gavin, who leads the cocktail program here, steers us toward something lighter. … [ Read more]
The restaurant game has never been an easy one. But the last decade of dining in the Twin Cities has thrown innumerable challenges at restaurateurs—a cook shortage, a minimum wage debate, food costs and rent on the rise, and diners possessed of a fickle, Instagram-fueled, hit-the-hot-new-joint-once-and-never-return mentality. In the face of these challenges, the partnership of … [ Read more]
What is Hmong food? And a follow-up question: Shouldn’t we know what Hmong food is by now? St. Paul boasts the largest number of Hmong Americans of any city in the U.S. and is home to two Hmong market complexes, each brimming with purple rice and papaya salad. And yet, we remain mostly in the … [ Read more]
There are several fine cocktail bars in town. There are several more excellent coffee shops. And there are lots of places to drink an interesting and thoughtfully selected glass of wine. But nowhere in the Twin Cities does excellence in all three beverages happen under one roof quite like at The Bachelor Farmer, and there … [ Read more]
Sloe gin is one of those liqueurs, like crème de menthe and peach schnapps, that strongly recall the dark days of American cocktails. You’d no sooner order a sloe gin fizz than you would a banana daiquiri or a brandy Alexander. But if you get Trish Gavin at the Hewing (see Craft Cocktails, I’m Trying … [ Read more]
Steve Finnie points out a falcon diving across the Douglas State Trail. We’re standing on a loading dock, one of 22 such docks that ring this 5,200-square-foot building, surveying the dead end of 14th Street NW in a light industrial corridor of Rochester, Minnesota. “A lot of people in Minnesota and around the country are doing the … [ Read more]
A season of gingerbread, Swiss rolls, and sugar plums demands a good rum. There’s just something about the molasses-tinged sweetness of a complex rum on a snowy night that feels so right this time of year. And when it comes party time, rum is the most fun to drink with a crowd—a spirit predestined for … [ Read more]
Nathaniel Smith has been in Europe lately, researching spirits and mixing in bartending competitions. We meet one afternoon at Spoon and Stable, where he and Robb Jones, and the rest of the talented stable hands are working on a winter cocktail menu. With the wind blustering and the snowflakes gathering, we chat about a more … [ Read more]
A bottle of herbal liqueur will make your home bar more versatile and seasonally appropriate. These liqueurs are made with a wide assortment of ingredients—barks and roots, herbs and spices—that add up to something woodsy, warming, and bittersweet. Here are three made locally, their constituent flavors, and some ideas on how to use them. • … [ Read more]
A large silver barbecue smoker is parked on the 200 block of Isabel Street on St. Paul’s West Side. It’s a neighborhood fixture. Pull up Google Maps and you’ll see it in the satellite photos. Every week, Robert Lorch-Benysek and his wife, Jill Moeller, load it with black cherry wood and stuff the racks full … [ Read more]
October means apples in the Upper Midwest. On your obligatory orchard trip in the next few weeks, consider snagging a jug of cider to mix into a seasonal cocktail. We’ll let our friend Jami Olson, who you’ll find behind the bar at Lyn 65, explain: “The change of seasons always inspires what’s on our menu, … [ Read more]
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.
The impending chills of October may have you craving hot drinks (See: Spirits Close-Up). But not so fast—there’s still time to eek out a few drams of summer. I mean, just look at your herb garden. It’s about to bite the dust. And what can you do with a full bush of thyme and all … [ Read more]
Lee Egbert has a row of gorgeous copper stills arrayed against one wall of a Minnetonka warehouse. His bitters company, Dashfire LLC, has received its Distilled Spirits Permit (DSP) and, while many would start making spirits the moment the paperwork came through, Egbert’s stills aren’t even hooked up. “The distillation is exciting, but I’ve done … [ Read more]