Craft Cocktail: Knives Out at Lawless Distilling


The Knives Out at Lawless Distilling // Photo by Kevin Kramer, The Growler

My cocktail garnish has murderous intentions. There’s a fist gripping a knife, floating on my Negroni. “It’s a very lighthearted menu here. Very tongue-in-cheek,” says Bittercube’s Nick Kosevich. “We’re trying to be less vest-and-tie and more glitter-and-sparklers.”


Nick Kosevich mixes a Knives Out at Lawless Distilling // Photo by Kevin Kramer, The Growler

It’s this lack of pretense that makes Lawless Distilling’s cocktail room such a compelling place to drink. Bare walls. Dim light. Only two spirits—a gin and a vodka. There’s nothing that would obstruct from a healthy sense of the ridiculous behind the bar. Here at the Ministry of Silly Drinks, your lime wedge may be brushed with edible silver or your hot buttered rum might be served in a Crock-Pot. But your cocktail will no doubt be considerate, balanced, and delicious.

The Knives Out is a great example—it’s charming, but more importantly, it’s a reasoned reworking of perhaps the most imbalanced of all the classic cocktails.

“When you do an equal-parts Negroni, the Campari is too intense,” says Kosevich. “What we do is the stepladder method. When you drop that Campari down, not only does it allow you to add bitters in there, but it also allows the gin to shine through.”

That 3:2:1 ratio helps a floral gin like Lawless’ Greenway hold its own in a bitter cocktail (see this month’s Spirits Close-up on Minnesota gin). A whimsical garnish is optional, but in the spirits of things, it’s preferable.

Knives Out


The Knives Out at Lawless Distilling // Photo by Kevin Kramer, The Growler


  • 1½ ounces gin (Lawless Greenway Gin)
  • 1 ounce sweet vermouth
  • ½ ounce bitter liqueur (Campari, Aperol, or Tattersall Bitter Orange)
  • Orange bitters (Bittercube)


Stir all ingredients with ice. Strain into a lowball with one large ice cube. Garnish with a swath of grapefruit zest that’s been cut in the shape of a fist holding a dagger.

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Photos by Kevin Kramer, The Growler
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.

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