Photo by Caitlin Abrams
Du Nord Distillery and Cocktail Room in Minneapolis
Du Nord Distillery's Cocktail Room
The local distilling boom is one of the most exciting things to happen around here since, well, the local brewing boom. Actually, they go hand in hand, as laws changed by the brewers really have benefited and created opportunities for local craftsmen who want to make and sell their own liquor brands. Panther up in Otsego was one of the first brands to come to market, not to mention 45th Parallel, which had been distilling just over the border for a while, but now we are gloriously flooded with Norseman vodka, and Far North spiced rum, and Vikre gin, just to name a few.
This charming business further evolved last summer when new laws allowed these distilleries to have tasting rooms, much like the brewery taprooms we’ve come to frequent and love. Game-changer.
Vikre in Duluth was perhaps the first in the state to open its bar to the public, and the metro is catching up with Du Nord. Located in the Nokomis area, the distillery opened its cocktail tasting bar to the public early this year. In the spare but cozy room, fans may order from a creative list of drinks made with the house L’éToile vodka or Fitzgerald Gin. Like taprooms, it has food trucks and live music on occasion, and is only open a few days a week.
The current law says that no outside liquor will be allowed in these cocktail rooms, so the bars aren’t necessarily full bars. They can bring in lime juice for your gimlet, but not vermouth for your martini. Unless they make their own, which is the aim of the forthcoming Tattersall Distilling, run by bartender emeritus Dan Oskey.
After securing a lofty warehouse space in Nordeast, Oskey and partners decided that the cocktail tasting room bar would be the center stage for their project. With the eye and creativity of a bartender, Oskey plans to distill as many different kinds of support liqueurs and booze that he needs to make a full bar. That means we can look forward to locally made vermouth, house-made Amaro, and fresh, herby concoctions that come from ingredients that have seen a local summer.
Gird your loins, drinkers, the next big thing is a fully formed Minnesota bar.