Photo by Caitlin Abrams
I’ll be honest in that I only endeavor to holiday shop when I know there’s a lovely libation reward at the end of it. And if I’m going to haul my keester through a marathon day at the Mall of America (affectionately known as Hugedale in my house), you better believe that I’m going to find a cold and potent potable to celebrate a job well-done. Here are some top tipples if you’re with me.
North Garden, 1st floor between Nordstrom & Sears
Nobody in the mall makes a dirty martini like the boys at this clubby bar. Their signature martini is made with both gin and vodka and comes with blue-cheese-stuffed olives, which are a reward in and of themselves. Also, half bottles of wine for when one glass is not enough, but you still have shopping to do.
SHOP TIP: It’s in the middle of Teen-Land amongst Hot Topic, Journey’s, and Bath & Body Works. Knock those off your list, earn a martini.
South Ave, 3rd floor in food concourse
The drinks here were originally designed by Johnny Michaels, and they’ll still rock your socks off. The Double Precious is a sparking jasmine gin martini with elderflower prettiness, and the D. Lo has mango-infused vodka with mango juice kicked with a bit of jalapeno, and there’s a nice round of NA mocktails that refresh equally well. Also, the best sushi and hot bowl of ramen in the zip code.
SHOP TIP: After a few sips, pop down a few doors to Ragstock’s Ugly Holiday Sweater Store. Ugly is in the eye of the cocktailer.
South Ave, 2rd floor by skyway to Radisson Blu
You cross over the light bridge skyway just far enough away from mall walkers to be relaxed. The rustic bar is THE spot to grab local craft beers on tap, plus there are a few pool tables if you have to leave some shoppers (read: husbands) behind. For cocktails, the Split Rock Cider is made with apple brandy, St. Germaine, and bit of bubbly for a better-than-cider seasonal, or try the Tequila Old Fashioned made with Patron Anejo.
SHOP TIP: Shop all day, drink a lot, get a room and start again the next day. No judgement.
South Ave, 3rd floor next to Macy’s
I know, right? But listen: There are some high-class cold sakes on the list (in glass/carafe/bottle), plus Japanese Shochu, and Yamazaki single malt whisky. Plus there’s a fresh tasting yuzu margarita and something called the Blue Ocean Punch Bowl loaded with the goods (and multiple straws). which might halt you in your tracks.
SHOP TIP: After a Blue Ocean Punch, you may want to lock down your credit card or you might be feeling generous enough to get junior that $300 Star Wars Lego set just two floors down.
West Market, 1st floor between Macy/Nordstrom
Haven’t been since you were a tween? Given them a second look, they’ve remodeled and spiffed it up. They have one of the best by-the-glass wine offerings in the mall, plus half off bottles on Sundays/Mondays. Cocktailers should try the Eastside refresher with gin and cucumber, but don’t forget you can still get the Ruby punch by the pitcher like your mom’s girlfriends did.
SHOP TIP: This makes a great base camp easily accessible to those running to the parking ramp or Nickelodeon Universe.
PRO TIP: Vom Fass is a store where things are aged in casks and you can “taste” them. You know what’s aged in casks besides olive oil and vinegar? Whiskey! Rum! Brandy! Just pop in for a little sip to take the edge off.