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: 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The world of spirits is full of outdated terms.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]

Go for Goat: Advocating for an under-appreciated protein with chef Alan Bergo

I will never forget the Barbacoa de Chivo at Tacqueria La Huasteca for the rest of my taco-eating life. The goat arrived steaming hot in a shade of brilliant crimson, with long strands of fibrous meat, cordlike, intertwining and trapping the braising juices. The very first bite decorated my white shirt with a streak of murder-victim … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Murakami Tea Punch at Martina

There’s an old rhyme from Barbados that describes the ratio of ingredients in a bowl of punch: “One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, and four of weak.” When Dustin Nguyen won the punch-making competition for Martina at this year’s Minneapolis regional of Cochon555, his creation followed those proportions. But it wasn’t that … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Lesser-Known Liquor

The craft cocktail movement, aided by exciting boutique importers, is bringing so many interesting new bottles of booze to our local shelves. But which ones are worth a bother? Which are versatile enough to play around with, and easy to mix into your favorite drinks? We asked MSP bartenders to endorse three of the stranger … [ Read more]

The Very Visible Yia Vang

You can’t miss Yia Vang. If you dine with any regularity around the Twin Cities, you’ll run into him somewhere. His food is always popping up at Lowry Hill Meats. Cook St. Paul. Birchwood Cafe. The Bird in Loring Park. The Good Acre. Dumpling in Minneapolis. The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild’s Winterfest. And that’s just … [ Read more]

‘Rigoletto’ at Minnesota Opera: Who’s Laughing Now?

A loathsome politician uses his power to prey on women, indiscriminately hopping from one dalliance to the next, abetted by the very people he’s likely to hurt. But enough about current events. The Minnesota Opera has a good show going on right now. Their penultimate main stage performance of the season is Verdi’s “Rigoletto,” imagined … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Absinthe

Absinthe is loaded with misinformation. So let’s get a few things straight: Absinthe in America is as “real” as the absinthe in Europe. Since before Prohibition, we had mistakenly attributed mind-altering properties to a compound called thujone that’s found in wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), the main flavoring agent of absinthe. Thujone is not hallucinogenic and, despite … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Lychee Keen at Hai Hai

Outside of Hai Hai in Northeast Minneapolis, the snow banks are growing and the wind is howling. Inside, there’s sugar cane being pressed, limes being juiced, and a thicket of green herbs covering the bar. As long as I don’t leave this bar seat, it’s no longer winter as far as I’m concerned. Let’s keep … [ Read more]

The Animal at the Table: Better living through whole-bird butchery

The first thing you should do is hold the chicken in your hands. Consider the weight of its body as you wipe it dry with a paper towel, tracing its flesh and bone, dabbing each crevice on its gangly mass. Feel the stippling on the skin, notice the joints and the muscles. It was an … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktails: Martini recipes from Marvel Bar

Gin, vermouth, bitters, ice, stir, strain. The most classic of all cocktails is as simple as it is spectacular. Here, the martini experts at Marvel Bar offer five takes: On Marvel’s house martini Peder Schweigert, General Manager “You’re trying to create this thing that is greater than the sum of its parts. It’s not about … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: White Aperitifs

When you’re making cocktails, there’s easy, and there’s interesting, and rarely the twain shall meet. On the one hand, you can buy pre-bottled cocktails and take your rail booze with a side of preservatives and corn syrup. On the other, you can spend the better part of an afternoon infusing spirits, simmering gomme syrup, and … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Walter Mondale at Young Joni’s Back Bar

February drinking in Minnesota often leads us down dark alleys into dark basements, drinking dark spirits to soothe our darkening spirits. But this alley behind Dangerous Man Brewing is leading me toward something a little more lighthearted. “It’s served up, it’s elegant, and has this really pretty color,” says Adam Gorski, pouring a copper-orange drink … [ Read more]