John Garland

About John Garland

John Garland is the Deputy Editor at the Growler Magazine. Find him on twitter (@johnpgarland) or in every coffee shop on West 7th Street.

Hi-Lo Diner goes full dad-bar tonight

In the past three years, the theme-night cocktail pop-ups at Hi-Lo Diner have grown increasingly elaborate, wacky, and just downright fun. The bar that recently gave us the Booze Brothers and Hi-LoWeen tonight will transform into the bar of every dad’s dream. Dad Bar: A Hop On Pop-Up will feature a dad joke contest, a … [ Read more]

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]

Better Camp Eats & Drinks: Nalgene Cocktails

This article is a part of The Growler’s Outdoor Guide. Find more tips for outdoor adventure and dining here.  If you’re going camping, you can nip on a 1.75 of whatever whiskey you can find in a plastic handle and that’s a perfectly respectable way to get three sheets to the warming summer wind. But … [ Read more]

A Roadside Diversion That Makes Roadside Diversions: It’s a meta wonderland at the FAST moldyard

A lifeless mermaid sits on an anchor in a field just north of Sparta, Wisconsin. Behind her looms a menagerie of bears, cows, fish, pirates, and the 12-foot-tall hindquarters of a sitting dog. His giant head is some feet away, casting a blank stare toward a trunkless elephant. Travelers on a quiet stretch of highway south … [ Read more]

A taste of ‘Plague Water,’ and other spirits of centuries past

I’m drinking Plague Water. It’s made from a medieval-sounding roster of roots and herbs including zedoary, valerian, horehound, thistle, and rue. It tastes bitter and strange—but I have it on good authority that these ingredients are a “singular remedy against pestilence and poyson.” So I’ve got that going for me, which is nice. The recipe is from … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Morelos Sour at Popol Vuh

Bourbon sours are my fiancée’s favorite drink, so I’ve had plenty of practice making all their possible variations. The challenge with sours is they get too sweet in a hurry. Bourbon is a comparatively sweet whiskey, pre-made “sour” mix isn’t sour in the least, and a rich syrup can leave the drink feeling heavy. It … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: Baked Alaska at P.S. Steak

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler. There are few rosters in modern dining that are as worthless as the dessert menu at a steakhouse. As if your wallet hasn’t been gouged enough, and your gullet weren’t already stuffed full of salt, starch, and buttery … [ Read more]

Little Shrimp on the Prairie

The uncertain future of the world’s oceans is propelling the establishment of saltwater farming in Minnesota No one believed that Paul Damhof had ordered 20 above-ground swimming pools. His credit card company flagged the purchase and called to verify it. The FedEx guy called believing the delivery was a mistake. The retailer was also perplexed—ultimately … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Of The Northern Fashioned at The Hasty Tasty

As we gaze into our crystal snifter and divine the future of cocktails, one trend we’re seeing with greater frequency is the decreasing importance of brand names on cocktail lists. There’s hardly prestige in a top-shelf call when you lose that flavor under a barrage of other ingredients.  We’d rather have a bar program that’s … [ Read more]

Year in Review: Minnesota Wine & Spirits in 2018

A martini at Nye’s Bar is a fine drink to reflect on the year 2018 in local spirits. In January, this bar, Nye’s in name only, opened in the dust of the demolished Polonaise Room, a place whose divey charm earned it the Best Bar in America designation from Esquire in 2006—a lifetime ago, from the … [ Read more]

The Perfect Holiday Party Nightcap Recipe: The Hearthsider

The fire is dying, the kids are asleep. Time to reward yourself for a party well-thrown. Let’s stop in to Bardo where our cocktail columnist, Zachary Sapato, stirs up the perfect nightcap. “Hechicera Rum has a ton of banana-coconut-tropical notes to it, but also the vanilla and caramel flavors you want from a barrel,” he … [ Read more]

Dashfire debuts a bottled old fashioned you can’t make at home

Dashfire Bitters have become mainstays at cocktail bars all over the Twin Cities. Bartenders know them like second nature, but consumers can be a little more hesitant. “People love my bitters but might have no idea what to do with them,” says Lee Egbert, owner of Dashfire Bitters. “We’re really good at balancing flavors, so … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Orange & Plum at Hyacinth

I’ve always thought St. Paul looks good in the rain. This old railroad town can proudly wear a coat of misty grey. And walking down Grand Avenue with the autumn chill in my bones, how pleasant it is to step into the new Hyacinth restaurant for a mighty glass of bourbon.  It’s not exactly citrus … [ Read more]

Heirloom Liqueurs: Oddball flavors, excellent mixers

No one has ever accused the Bittercube group of being too straight-laced, and their newest project is appropriately off-the-wall—a collection of intense liqueurs in surprising flavors, but ones that are easy to mix and a delight to drink. Heirloom, from Bittercube founders Nick Kosevich and Ira Koplowitz, partnering with their research and development coordinator Brandon Reyes, is … [ Read more]

Bite of the Week: Tacos at Animales Barbecue

Bite of the Week is a weekly feature showcasing an exceptional meal or dish, curated by The Growler and supported by our underwriter, Bite Squad.  One of the hallmark joys in the major culinary capitals of the South is one’s ability to find excellent meats in unlikely places. A random outing in Tucson, Austin, New Orleans, … [ Read more]