Craft Cocktail: The Wisdom of J.J. Hill at Handsome Hog

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The Wisdom of J.J. Hill at Handsome Hog // Photo by Kevin Kramer

“I want people to look at the list, know what they’re ordering, and just get a really solid drink,” says Trish Gavin. “Proper dilution, proper garnish, correct glassware, right ice: the fundamentals of a cocktail.”

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Trish Gavin // Photo by Kevin Kramer

Gavin is heading up the drink list at Handsome Hog, the new Southern-inspired eatery on Mears Park in Lowertown St. Paul. Her cocktails are heavy on the whiskey, but complemented by the flavors coming from the kitchen.

“Everything [chef] Justin [Sutherland] brings in is on the daily and super seasonal,” Gavin says. “On the patio menu, I have a couple large-format drinks; one is a pickled strawberry Pimm’s cup. We do pickled strawberries on our cobb salad and I asked them to save the pickling liquid from that. I try to dovetail the flavors he’s working with into the drinks. Everything is going to complement each other and make for a well-rounded experience.”

Related post: Mint juleps with Trish Gavin of Handsome Hog

For this month’s craft cocktail, Gavin works in smoke and fire in the form of a charred peach garnish. Since whiskey and peaches are a match made in Southern heaven, the rest of the drink, loosely based on the Brainstorm cocktail, uses the delicate Dolin Blanc vermouth and a gorgeous peach liqueur to balance 100-proof rye.

“I’m a big fan of J.J. Hill’s house,” says Gavin. “When I think of those big houses on Summit Avenue, I just want to sit on the porches and have a cocktail. I feel like this would be a great fancy mansion porch cocktail.”

The Wisdom of J.J. Hill

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The Wisdom of J.J. Hill // Photo by Kevin Kramer


  • 2 ounces Rittenhouse Rye
  • ¾ ounce Dolin Blanc vermouth
  • A fat ½ ounce Mathilde Pêche
  • 1 full eyedropper Bittercube Orange Bitters


Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice. Give them a good long stir to dilute the overproof rye.

Photos by Kevin Kramer

Strain into a coupe glass. Express the oils of an orange peel over the drink. Garnish with a smoky charred peach (see below for instructions).


Thinly slice peaches, coat them in smoked sugar, and leave them for a few hours to dehydrate before charring them on a hot grill.

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Charred peach garnish // Photo by Kevin Kramer

Inside Handsome Hog

Photos by Kevin Kramer

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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.