Photos: How bartenders at Eat Street Social come up with new cocktails (and 4 to try now)

Photo by Kevin Kramer, The Growler

As bartenders at Eat Street Social are workshopping new cocktails, those that don’t make the cut or need some additional tweaking end up in the “Cocktail Graveyard” // Photo by Kevin Kramer, The Growler

If you’ve spent time in a restaurant kitchen, you look forward to the day when chefs test out new recipes. Dishes will make their way around the line, being tasted and critiqued by prep cooks and sous chefs, and whoever else is lucky enough to be around, before they’re brought to the executive chef for consideration.

Behind the bar, the process is much the same. Bartenders create cocktails and share them with the bar manager who helps perfect the drinks before they find their way on to the next menu.

“It’s fucking gorgeous, there’s no doubt in my mind that that’s a beautiful cocktail,” says Keith Werner, offering perspective on a potential new drink for the upcoming menu change at Eat Street Social. “I would literally make no changes to it, except for a hair less lemon.”

We joined the crew at Eat Street Social, one of three Minnesota restaurants to be listed on Food & Wine’s “Best Cocktails Bars” list in 2016, to experience this process ourselves. It’s a beautiful January day as the afternoon sun shines through Eat Street’s large facade windows.

Photo by Kevin Kramer, The Growler

Sam Gleeson // Photo by Kevin Kramer, The Growler

“It’s my favorite day” Sam Gleeson, one of ESS’s bartenders, says about the cocktail changeover day. The bartenders are obviously having fun testing their recipes, and joking around with each other. Eat Street is one of a few bars in the city that places the bartender’s name under the cocktail they’ve created on their menu. Although the atmosphere is lighthearted during the development process, we notice each bartender taking great pride in their creations.

Eat Street Social bartenders workshopping new cocktails // Photos by Kevin Kramer, The Growler

So, which new cocktails made the cut?

Lost in the Woods by Lerichard Foral

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Lost in the Woods at Eat Street Social // Photo by Kevin Kramer, The Growler

The Lost in the Woods from bartender Lerichard Floral is made with Gamle Ode Holiday Aquavit, Cocchi Di Torino, Vikre Cedar Gin, Zirbenz, Bittercube Jamaican #1 Bitters.

Wrong About You… by Samuel Gleeson

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Wrong About You at Eat Street Social // Photo by Kevin Kramer, The Growler

The Wrong About You… from bartender Samuel Gleeson is made with Cavaldos, Gamle Ode Holiday on Rye Aquavit, Carpano Antica, Punt E Mes, Ruby Port, Gran Classico, and Peychaud’s and Corazon bitters.

Good Grief by Zac Siejko

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Good Grief at Eat Street Social // Photo by Kevin Kramer, The Growler

The Good Grief from bartender Zac Siejko is made with Cazadores Reposado, Cynar, Cappelletti, Don’s Honey, saline, peppercorn, Bittercube Cherry Bark Vanilla Bitters, and CO2.

Ashes to Ashes by Justin Barron

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The Ashes to Ashes by bartender Justin Barron is made with Eat Street Social’s own rum blend, Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum, Lemon Heart, Fernet, pineapple, lime, orgeat, cumarin, and Angostura and Bittercube Jamaican #1 bitters.

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