Minnesota, are you tired of drinking of the same old, same old tiki drinks? Do you wish somebody would finally apply the from-crazy-scratch, all-killer no-filler ethos of top cocktail spots such as Eat Street Social to the tiki bar tradition? Well somebody is! And it’s Eat Street Social. This summer the patio to the west of the building is going to be a full-on destination tiki bar, with its own snazzy tiki glasses, fancy ingredients such as house-made orgeat (a flowery almond syrup used in drinks such as Mai Tais), and, yes, hot licks of fire. “Hell yes we’re going to light stuff on fire!” says Nick Kosevich, co-owner of Bittercube, the cocktail consulting company that owns a piece of Eat Street, and who is responsible for its stunning cocktail program. “Every year, we’re going to use that patio for a stand-alone exploration of a theme or an idea. We’d never theme inside [Eat Street] but this year we will do tiki out there—it’s a really legitimate, interesting world.” (Visit New York’s PKNY for a good example of modern good tiki, Kosevich says.) [caption id="attachment_1661" align="alignleft" width="322" caption="Nick Kosevich of Bittercube and Eat Street Social"]
[/caption] Then, when the summer, 2013 season comes to a close, we will all say goodbye to Minneapolis’ tiki bar. In the summer of 2014, maybe the patio will get another theme, perhaps 1920s Paris or contemporary Japan. What can we expect in new tiki? “When I think tiki I think citrussy—but with an appropriate balance of bitterness,” Kosevich says. “The main thing is, if you’ve had garbage, headache tiki drinks, you have to realize that cocktails are like food—garbage in, garbage out. And a lot of places use garbage.” Some non-garbage ingredients Kosevich plans for Minneapolis’ first hoity-toity tiki experience: homemade allspice dram, homemade falernum (a lime-accented syrup), and fresh-juiced pineapples. Are you ready, Minneapolis? Are you ready to plan your all-dorm Gilligan’s Island reunion party? If so, please know that Kosevich is prepared to dress as the Skipper every time he’s out there. Cap and all. But wait, there’s more! Northeast Social, the older sister restaurant to Eat Street, has gotten the right liquor license to roll out its own cocktail program this summer! That’s two, two, two new cocktail experiences of note for our fair city. And somewhere to go after you’re doing the northeast taproom crawl. If this sort of cocktail news is important to you, and you want more scoop, insider-ness, detail, and celebration of the great, and soon extra-tiki’d cocktail scene, come to our Tastemakers event at the Ritz Theater next Wednesday, March 13! Tickets are only ten bucks, and will get you access to an intimate conversation between myself, Mpls.St. Paul Food + Dining editor Stephanie March, Nick Kosevich, bartending legend Pip Hanson and other bartending legend Johnny Michaels. We’ll talk tiki, of course—and dilution, and local artisanal spirit making, and everything important as it pertains to drinking in the modern era. [caption id="attachment_1662" align="aligncenter" width="484" caption="Pip Hanson of Marvel Bar"]
[/caption] We will also drink in the modern era—our three wonderful bartenders will be pouring a cocktail each, for your sampling pleasure. More!—snacks, a chance to mingle before and after with the bigwigs, and the answer to the question, "Will the future hold interactive cocktails from space?" (Johnny Michaels knows the answer.) If you don’t have ten bucks, or just want to save your pennies for your cocktail fund, name in the comments below a favorite tiki anything—destination, flavor, episode of a television show, lamp, shirt, bring it on!—for a chance to win a pair of Tastemakers tickets. We’ll pick a random winner, announced in the comments below, Friday, March 8 at noon CST, and we’ll get the winner a pair of tickets. Procedural notes: Everyone attending must be 21 years of age or over with ID, no exceptions. Yes, you may enter this week’s contest, and last week’s. You may not win both, if the same random name comes up twice, we will draw again. So, enter, and get your friends to enter, and hopefully I’ll see you next Wednesday night—when all your additional tiki questions about the forthcoming Minneapolis tiki renaissance will be answered, over cocktails.