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.

Six local standouts from the 2018 International Cold Climate Wine Competition

The International Cold Climate Wine Competition yesterday celebrated its 10th year of honoring the finest examples of cold-climate wine in North America. The judging was held at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, and The Growler was among 24 judges charging through hundreds of wines made with grapes that can withstand our extreme climate, several varieties of which … [ Read more]

A Pocket Full of Rye: How a lowly, northern grain is mounting a comeback through whiskey

Stalks of rye bob in the summer breeze in a field near Cambridge, Minnesota. It is a cereal grass in the wheat family—seeded in the fall, it stays green and patient throughout the winter, then skyrockets in the early spring. It shoots up from the gray, powdery soil, gets a deep tan, and then grows … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: The Summer Spritz

The wine spritzer went through some dark years during the time coolers and alcopops had their heyday and Bartles & Jaymes was a picnic staple. But now, with the wealth of liqueurs the craft cocktail movement has brought to our shelves, making delicious and unique wine spritzers has never been easier. Here’s the general idea: … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Rosolio Spritz at Icehouse

A good cocktail doesn’t need to be complicated. Context is king, and this is the season for splashing liqueur into a glass full of ice, topping it with sparkling wine, and calling it an afternoon. On a recent lazy day in the sunshine of Eat Street, we ducked into Icehouse where bar manager Whitney Evans … [ Read more]

Now Open (Or Damn Close): Studio Distilling

Rye whiskey can be a lovely thing, but it can also be a challenge. “Peppery” is the common adjective lobbed at the grain, which suffered a century of neglect before American distillers once again started to treat it with respect. Studio Distilling is one such producer, and they open today in Midway St. Paul for … [ Read more]

Now Open (Or Damn Close): 11 Wells Cocktail Room

When it comes to local distilleries, we’ve learned to take their timelines with a handful of salt. Construction delays are inevitable. Permitting, licensing, inspections, and label approvals are at the whim of bureaucracy. Recipe development, especially for aged spirits, can be difficult if not agonizing. This is all to say, we don’t fault a distillery … [ Read more]

This summer we’re drinking mezcal with moth worms

In all my sensory recollections of summer, the flavors are invariably Mexican—the smell of roasted tomatillos, the snap of fresh jicama, the ecstasy of a warm tortilla piled high with pibil. This summer I’m adding a new favorite: mezcal with a hint of moth worm. Seriously. “Purists will tell you the only way to drink … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Egg Whites

If a cocktail has citrus, try adding an egg white,” says bartender Sean Cooke, separating an egg behind the bar at Fitzgerald’s on Selby Avenue in St. Paul. “Sours, daiquiris, gimlets, amaretto sour with egg white is amazing, and it makes a luxurious margarita.” (He made us one. It sure does.) So we asked bartenders … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Clover Club at Hodges Bend

A ring of egg white foam makes a cocktail look undeniably enticing. Like the blooming head on a pint of pale ale or the pillowy tuft of milk dolloped atop a latte, a layer of foam announces your drink will have texture and contrast—two defining features of our cocktail this month. We find it at … [ Read more]

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]