Polishing the Apple: Elevating the cider cocktail beyond a simple bar drink

You’ll be forgiven if your conception of cider cocktails until this very moment consisted of snakebites on St. Patrick’s Day or the mulled stuff that Uncle Randy enjoys spiking just a little too much. Before Lars Olsen was tapped to create Minneapolis Cider Company’s new in-house cocktail program, his view of the genre was even … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Quit Smoking

You order a drink and a slate tablet appears in front of you. On the tablet, the bartender ignites a small pile of woodchips and covers it with a rocks glass that fills with white fog. The glass is then quickly upturned and the bartender adds a stirred cocktail. The smoke slowly drifts away as … [ Read more]

Spirits Close-Up: Cobblers Had a Bumpy Road

Sherry, sugar, ice, fruit. The sherry cobbler is simple and delicious but any hopes of knowing its origins remain as crushed as the ice on which the cocktail is built. Mentioned by notables from Charles Dickens to Queen Victoria, the sherry cobbler became the most famous libation in the 19th-century Western world because of three … [ 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]

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]

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]

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]

Craft Cocktail: God Save The Queen at Nightingale

When you’ve met as many bartenders as I have (on purely journalistic endeavors, mind you, or at least that’s the story I’m going with), you start to notice where they hang out after their shifts. One prime locale for the late-night industry crowd is Nightingale, the sleek and cozy Lyndale Avenue hangout where you might … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Wicker Chair Widow’s Kiss at Al’s Place

All month long, we’ve been traipsing through orchards in search of the botanical complexity that marks a well-crafted cider. For our cocktail, we wanted something just as floral and herbaceous made with an apple spirit.  We found it at Al’s Place, the Prohibition-era inspired top floor of Stanley’s Northeast Bar Room, where drinks are named … [ 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]

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]

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]

Craft Cocktail: Avocadarita at fig + farro

Margaritas and avocados go hand in hand, especially when the weather turns hot and humid. And at fig + farro, both can literally be in your hand at the same time with their Avocadarita. “Avocados lend an amazing, creamy mouthfeel and an awesome light color,” says Michael Dunn, bartender at fig + farro. “Sweet orange, … [ 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]