BEST LOCALLY CREATED COCKTAIL - 2006
In the past decade, there has been a wealth of ingenious mixological creations in the Twin Cities. There's the tropical, citrusy, utterly debauched Kama Sutra Mama at Chino Latino. Martini Blu has a delicious signature drink, a mix of orange vodka, sake, blue curacao, and pineapple juice called the Martini BLU. Tiburón offers a surprisingly satisfying invention mixed from apple vodka and grenadine that they've dubbed the Minneapple. But none of these concoctions has the air of a classic about it—instead, they all register as flavorful novelties. Worse still, they have the taste of drinks mixed by people who are afraid of alcohol, which seems so dated. Anyone who has read the works of pioneering cocktail chef Dale DeGroff knows that the truly sophisticated bartender nowadays creates drinks designed to highlight the distinctive features of top-shelf liquor, not bury them with fruity additions. Fortunately, the Twin Cities can lay claim to one cocktail that has come to be viewed as a classic, and has exploded in popularity over the past decade. We speak of the Cosmopolitan, the favorite drink of Sex and the City, and an excellent cocktail nonetheless, as it features the pungent, distinctive orange flavor of triple sec or Cointreau. The Cosmopolitan was created in 1975 at a steak house in Minneapolis called the Cork & Cleaver by a bartender named Neal Murray—at least according to his version of the story. He says he was fiddling around with the recipe for the Kamikaze and decided to add a splash of cranberry juice. The first taster declared, "How cosmopolitan," and thus a legend was born. Everybody in Minneapolis seems to serve a pretty decent Cosmo, so, in keeping with the history of the drink, try enjoying it at a steak house. Our suggestion: Mancini's Char House on Seventh Street in St. Paul.