You do know about the upcoming Tastemakers event at the Ritz Theater on Wednesday, March 13, right? This is a new series we, the good people of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, are putting on. Imagine Inside the Actors Studio, but instead of one actor there are three or four important local folks working in a particular aspect of food or drink, and instead of James Lipton, there’s me, and instead of just watching you get to taste the stuff we’re talking about, and mingle with the guests!
The first one we did was on local craft beer, and it was epic, a conversation between me and the top brewers at Surly (Todd Haug), Steel Toe (Jason Schoneman), Olvalde (Joe Pond), and Summit (Damian McConn). But guess what? McConn hadn’t been appointed head brewer when we had our little talk—when the news broke a few weeks later, only people at the talk realized what an inside sneak peek we’d really been given.
Now, we’re about to have another one, on a topic just as important as beer—cocktails! Surely you all noticed the astonishing inclusion of the Marvel Bar on the James Beard Semifinalist Award for best bar program in the whole darn country, named alongside legendary luminaries like Chicago’s The Aviary and New York’s Pegu Club. Surely you were aware that when Bon Appetit named Bachelor Farmer one of the best new restaurants in the whole darn country, the bar program of Pip Hanson was cited as a major reason? But did you know that Hanson, Edina High graduate, one-time self-described lackluster Caribou barista, learned at the side of Johnny Michaels, local legend who once poured drinks for The Replacements, and went on to all but single-handedly create the craft cocktail scene in Minneapolis? Well, maybe you did know that. A lot of people know that. But did you know that Hanson used to work with Nick Kosevich, co-founder, with Ira Koplowitz, of Bittercube, when they were all at the Town Talk Diner, and before the Bittercube team went on to change the national world of tinctures, and transform the world of cocktails? Did you know that these three are part of the local culture of friends, groundbreakers, competitors who have brought the Twin Cities cocktail scene to its dazzling current height? Even if you knew all that, you couldn’t possibly know that Hanson is about to redefine the cocktail program at the Marvel Bar to include cocktails with no names, cocktails that are dilute and culinary and contain ingredients like salt and sherry, cocktails that will work at the table like wine, to complement food, like a subtle Burgundy, for people who love spirits. Is this a worthwhile pursuit? And what have Michaels and Koplowitz got up their sleeves? Come and find out! These three great bartenders will all be on stage with me and Stephanie March to talk about:
- Twin Cities cocktails!
- Where they are!
- Where they’re going!
- What’s gotten out of hand and silly?
- What hasn’t been considered seriously enough?
Of course, we’ll also sample cocktails, one from each bartender, mingle, snack on appetizers, and generally have a good old time. Come! Tickets are only $10. What, you say you don’t have ten bucks? Well, then: We’re going to give away some tickets too! Enter a comment below naming something delicious you’ve drank in the Twin Cities, alcoholic or non. We’ll pick a random winner, announced in the comments below Friday, March 8 at 12 p.m. CST, and we'll get the winner a pair of tickets. One more thing: To attend you must be 21 or older, with ID, because as mentioned, we’ll be sampling cocktails. Cool, fun cocktails, with a side of good conversation. That’s a Wednesday night to remember.