Photo by Katherine Harris
Why does The Prairie Tap House—attached as it is to Eden Prairie Center and a Bobbsey Twin to The Lyndale Tap House—deserve some shine? Because I would bet that in a five-mile radius, it’s the only place that has Fernet Branca on the back bar, and that’s because of Chad Larson. A 2011 regional winner of the coveted Bombay Sapphire Most Imaginative Bartender title, a member of the NorthStar Bartenders Guild, and a mixologist who has banged around some of the best bars in town, Larson is the lead bartender at Prairie Tap and designed the bar menu for this location.
Does this mean super craft cocktails in a meat ’n’ beer suburban bar? Kinda. It means that there’s a drink called Civilized Leisure with Bulleit Bourbon and yellow Chartreuse on the menu. It means that he’s introduced the PTH75 (basically a French 75) to new fans who may just be learning to venture beyond Kinky-tinis. And, my god, there’s a Negroni (and, maybe more importantly, someone who doesn’t look at you like an alien when you order one). Plus, in a bar like this, which is packed from happy hour onward, leaving no time for fussiness and 40-minute drinks, it seems to have the right ingredients and the right timing.
The other good news is this: Larson was part of the opening team behind Prairie Ale House, so he knows what he’s getting into (and lives not too far away). So shine on, suburban shoppers and moviegoers who are looking for something a little sharper, a little more delicious, and a little more sophisticated than appletinis and mojitos. There’s a new barman in town, and he gets you. 8251 Flying Cloud Dr., Ste. 3030, Eden Prairie, 952-217-4054, theprairietaphouse.com
2 oz. Prairie cucumber-flavored vodka
.75 oz. St. Germain
.75 oz. lemon juice
.25 oz. simple syrup
2 drops rose water
Combine ingredients into a mixing tin, add ice, shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Top with champagne and a cucumber garnish.