Surviving Hoth-like winter temperatures is one of the biggest problems with living in the Twin Cities, but luckily we've discovered a fool-proof way to do it: spend a Taun(taun) of time drinking new winter cocktails, so that's why we've brought you this list of MSP's five best...
The Smoking Baptist
Heyday (address and info)
Having recently been named one of our favorite new restaurants in the country, we know that they’ve got the goods, and this cocktail is basically our ideal holiday in a glass. Made with mulled whiskey, orange tea, and just a slight wash of Laphroaig, it gets us all warm, fuzzy, and pink in the cheeks just thinking about it.
The Strip Club Meat & Fish (address and info)
If you’re looking for the physical manifestation of holiday cheer, it’s waiting for you over at The Strip Club (the restaurant, not a gentleperson’s club). This mix of gin, cranberry-brown sugar syrup, house-made sour, and allspice dram -- which gets a spear of rosemary for a garnish -- represents a perfect balance of flavor and proves that Red Medicine is a whole lot more than just a kickass Fugazi record, although both are great winter time pick-me-ups.
Hola Arepa (address and info)
The folks over at this newish South Minneapolis restaurant know how to party, and this drink somehow manages to merge the idea of warm weather fun with a little cold weather holiday spirit. Vodka gets a wintery blast from their house-made ginger spiced cranberry grenadine, vermouth, thyme liquor, and a “spice bag” bitters. It’s really a lot like a drinking a tropical holiday getaway, which is exactly what your doctor should be ordering.
Spoon and Stable (address and info)
Open for less than a month now, Spoon and Stable has made themselves at home in the Twin Cities, and their cocktails, designed by legendary barman Rob Jones, are spot on. Their take on the classic whiskey sour is proof. It uses beautiful winter grapefruit for the sour, a bit of allspice dram for spice, and the entire drink gets shaken with an egg white for a little additional body, making this a great cold weather cocktail.
Tongue in Cheek (address and info)
This is another new addition to the TC food scene that’s taken to banging out some pretty slick cocktails. For this one, think vanilla shake meets creamy egg nog with a little extra kick in the pants. No, seriously; this drink uses both brandy and moonshine, which are both cleverly cloaked by an eggy, creamy base. Garnished with a little fresh grated nutmeg, it’s a little winter wonderland in a glass.
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When it comes to affordable yet elegant cuisine, Heyday is your spot. It's easily one of the best restaurants in the Twin Cities, if not the country. Head to this rustic-chic space (it sports exposed brick and a gorgeous wooden-beamed ceiling) for favorites like the chicken liver tart, chilled blue mussels, and grilled quail, which all help to create a downright exquisite menu. Be sure to leave room for at least one of the inventive desserts including pea shell sorbet, and wash it all down with a creative cocktail like the Don't Think Twice with pisco, aperol, grapefruit, and elderflower.
Grass-fed beef is the name of the game at St. Paul’s premier meatery, an independent St. Paul chop and fish house, helmed by chef JD Fratzke. Strip House exhibits incredible use of ingredients from small, local farms, but it’s also distinctly unique and almost rustic despite its overall level of refinement and balance. The drink menu changes seasonally and the results are always spectacular, but even the long-standing staple drinks, like the Cobra Kai, are simply stunning.
Originally a food truck, the brick and mortar incarnation has a menu is stuffed with long-braised meats, crumbly cheese and their fiery sauces. They've got a great drinks menu too.
The crew puts a lot of work and effort into the array of exquisite dishes and cocktails at this Downtown/Northloop. While nabbing a reservation might still be a little difficult, walking into the bar hasn’t ever really been an issue -- and you can order the full menu there, or choose from the equally delectable bar-only menu. The pastries are a solid choice for brunch, and mix up your typical Sunday mimosa morning with a Coffee 43 cocktail, which features cold-press coffee, Licor 43, tequila, and cream.
Sustainably sourced stuff is served with style at Tongue in Cheek. The menu has must-tries like the fries with gravy and popcorn shrimp. There's a happy hour from 4-7pm every day too.