Craft Cocktail: Campfire Rob Roy at Ngon Bistro

Most restaurants on University Avenue in St. Paul deliver excellent food at the expense of their ambiance. I’ll happily eat a banh mi from a grocery store or a bowl of pho in an unadorned plastic booth. But when it’s happy hour, I want to escape. I want to drink in summer as I drink … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Sangria at Cafe Ena

“I bought El Meson 12 years ago, and that’s where it all started,” says Hector Ruiz, smiling at the bar of Cafe Ena in South Minneapolis. When he took over, El Meson had been serving boxed sangria. Ruiz figured he could do better. He began tweaking a recipe that would become a staple at all … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: The Cedar at Italian Eatery

“With these cocktails, we’re trying to be Italian. Simple is best,” says Brad Drouin. “I’ve never been a believer in 10-step martinis.” Drouin is our man behind the bar at Italian Eatery, the cozy, low-lit destination for meatballs and bucatini on Cedar Avenue near Lake Nokomis. This month’s cocktail is simple indeed—just two ingredients and … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Falcon Gravy

This is the nog of your dreams. It’s rich and foamy and looks as impressive as it tastes. A note on the beer: You want to get the carbonation out of the milk stout before mixing it. Either get Left Hand’s nitro bottled version, or roll a regular stout back and forth between two glasses … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Inlander

Keith Werner (below) has a great idea for holiday drinking: keep a good vermouth handy. Cocchi di Torino or Carpano Antica—come the end of the night, a dose of vermouth with a strong dark spirit and bitters is an ideal fireside slug. Or mix up the vermouth in a proper drink, like the Inlander, which … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Mulled Wine

There might not be a drink that tastes more like the holidays than mulled wine. The warming spices, the heat of the brandy, the hand-warming steam from the mugs—if you’re heading to an outdoor holiday market, this is necessary fortification. Feel free to experiment with the spice blend as your stocks allow. But make sure … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Fall of Temperance

Rum and lime juice doesn’t seem like a winter drink. But these two dark rums have an earthy, spicy way about them that’s perfect for the season. This drink is a wake-up call—a blast of booze and bitter for braving the Santa line at Macy’s. Fall of Temperance By Keith Werner, Eat Street Social (below) … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: A La Mode at Du Nord Craft Spirits

The very thought of Thanksgiving is enough to evoke aromas of turkey, stuffing, and, of course, freshly baked pies. Every year, while my cousins and grandparents devour the pumpkin pie, I always find myself taking a piece from the apple pie. The simple dessert hits all the right notes: sweet and tart, flaky crust and … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Song for Mona at Rainbow Chinese

Pickled plums don’t find their way onto many menus around here—least of all cocktail menus. But the salty, tangy, crunchy garnish is a favorite of Rainbow Chinese Restaurant and Bar owner and chef Tammy Wong. “It reminds me of my childhood,” she says, spooning a few deep-fuchsia wedges into her water glass. “This is a … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Martinus & The Cold Beggar at Constantine

Photos by James Eastman With so many new craft cocktail bars opening, truly new drink experiences are growing fewer and further between. But swirling a slice of fish through a drink and enjoying it, well, that’s a new one for us. “The Minnesota martini—that’s what I’m going for,” says Jourdán Gomez, head bartender at Constantine. … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Negroni Puebla at Saint Dinette

Photos by Aaron Davidson “It’s all about drinking what tastes good,” Laurel Elm smiles from behind the bar of Saint Dinette. “But for me, it’s more about the relationship and less about what I’m pouring in your glass.” Elm has been a driving force behind the much-anticipated Lowertown eatery that opened in late June. Early … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: El Diablo at Hola Arepa

Photos by Aaron Davidson The El Diablo has followed Nate McLemore wherever he’s gone. It was on the menu at Town Talk Diner, then Borough, and the tiki pop-up at Eat Street Social. Now it may have found its spiritual home at Hola Arepa. McLemore took over the bar at Hola Arepa when Dan Oskey … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: Emily Vikre’s Norsk 17

Emily and Joel Vikre started their Duluth, Minnesota, distillery after Emily had an epiphany New Year’s Eve 2012. She and Joel were at the Kitchi Gammi Club with her parents, and the conversation turned to the history of Swedish whiskey. At one point, Emily’s mom said the Swedes were sick of hearing the Scottish distillers … [ Read more]

Craft Cocktail: The Capitol Old Fashioned

The old fashioned is as enigmatic as it is familiar. Travel across the country—or sometimes just across the street to the next bar—and you will be confronted with so many iterations of the cocktail that it can send you tail spinning into an existential crisis. Bourbon, rye, or brandy? Orange or lemon twist? Water or … [ Read more]

How to Make the Perfect Craft Gimlet

Making the perfect craft gimlet shouldn’t be a challenge. Photos by James Eastman I had the recent opportunity to make drinks at a dinner party celebrating the release of Twin Cities Chef’s Table, a fabulous book you should absolutely own if you are reading this article. Each couple prepared a different dish from the book … [ Read more]