What are you doing June 23? If you’re a Twin Cities cocktail lover, you best be piloting your bike down the Greenway to Lawless Distilling Co., because that’s the day the newish Seward distillery opens their doors with a Bittercube-driven cocktail room.
Lawless released their first product—a vodka, naturally—last July, a gin a few months after that, and are filling their distillery warehouse with rye, to be released when it’s ready. The company is by three Minnesotans, Nate and Kristen Karnitz and Chris Kulzer, who are distilling grain-to-glass, with red wheat grown in Cold Spring and local rye. “We’re hoping to specialize in whiskey, but we know we’ve got a long road ahead of us,” Kristen Karnitz told me. “We have a few rye whiskey barrels filled, and hope to fill many more.”
When that rye comes out of those barrels, the first person to play with it will be Nick Kosevich, co-owner of Bittercube, the local bitters kingpins and cocktail magicians. “What’s exciting about working at Lawless is that you can’t use any alcoholic products that aren’t made on site,” Kosevich told me from his hotel suite in Calgary—where he was judging Canadian cocktails in his role as Bombay Sapphire ambassador. “Because of that limitation, you get to use your creativity in all kinds of new ways. We’re making all kinds of things to use in the cocktails at Lawless, a cocoa nib liqueur, a few different amaros, a blue Curacao colored with butterfly pea flowers—” What? I interrupted. Evidently that’s a real thing, and the flowers have the shape of female human genitals, and if you’re in the mood to smile wryly about Latin botanical names, now’s your rare chance.
Anyhoo, if you were loving the next-level cocktails at abruptly shuttered, and Bittercube-fueled Scena, but would like to get them at a nice discount, Lawless is the place to do it. Most cocktails at Lawless will be $7 and $9, and the team behind the bar will be led by Dustin Nguyen, who has special plans to use ice—in Kosevich’s words—“in chunks, shards, and tangles” as supplied by Minnesota Ice Sculptures. “We want to put a lot of care into the ice side of things,” said Kosevich. They’re also getting a pebble-ice machine, which is the thing you get in your soda cup in a fast-food food-court. Remember when we left little ice behind, and everyone had to have big ice, and that was how you knew you were, ahem, cool—because of big ice? Well little ice is back, baby! See how the circle of trend-life continues. Pebble ice. It’s back, now with a name.
They’re also hoping to get one of those gas station style hotdog rollers, and pile it up with craft-booze-inspired, locally-made dogs, and maybe there will be other bar snacks like Chex mix. They’re right off the Midtown Greenway—making them our first super-bike-friendly cocktail room? And Kristin Karnitz’s day job is selling glassware, so she has big plans for cool bar glasses out of which to sip these cocktails, and secret sources for good vintage-looking Tiki glasses. Hours for Lawless will likely lead to full-on summer fun; Wednesday and Thursday 4 p.m. – 10 p.m; Friday 4 p.m. – midnight; Saturday noon-midnight.
So ask yourself, Twin Cities: Did your summer ‘16 plans include biking for tiki drinks house-made with Minnesota hard red wheat? Our land surely is abundant with miracles. Congrats all! Start your countdown to June 23!
Lawless Distilling Co., 2629 S. 28th Ave., Mpls., lawlessdistillingcompany.com