Politics with a Twist

You've just had a hard day of democracy—what do you want most? That's right, a stiff drink. Most days, any alcoholic beverage will do, but a national convention is a special occasion, and it calls for a special drink. Luckily, the Twin Cities are loaded (so to speak) with celebratory, one-of-a-kind alcoholic concoctions. Here are some of the best and most unusual—all guaranteed to take the edge off after a long day of conventioneering, protesting, news gathering, or just plain being an informed citizen.

Minnesota Martini
Dakota Jazz Club, $10.50

Instead of vermouth, this martini is made with ice wine—in this case, ice wine from Alexis Bailly Vineyard in Hastings. The dessert wine is made from grapes frozen on the vine, and hence has more concentrated sugar. When combined with Opulent vodka, an orange twist, and fresh mint, the result is a delightfully drinkable cocktail. Cheap? Nope. Tasty? Absolutely. (1010 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis; 612.332.1010)

Point Beer's Nude Beach
Common Roots Cafe, $3

Nude Beach was the official beer of the American Association for Nude Recreation's annual convention this year in Michigan—but it's a drink even the family-values crowd will love. Point's seasonal summer wheat beer isn't particularly risqué, but the light, citrusy brew is perfect for warm weather—and its low carbonation makes it drink dangerously like water. You'll find it on special between 4 and 6 p.m. (2558 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.871.2360)

Mexican 3-Way
Chino Latino, $11

Start with three shots of Sauza Hornitos Reposado tequila, triple sec (orange-flavored liqueur), lime juice, and tamarind (a tart, tropical fruit). Mix it all in a generous pint glass, and fancy it up with a sprinkling of nuts, rim salt, and three little plastic donkeys. Why donkeys? Because if you have more than one, you'll become an ass. (2916 Hennepin Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.824.7878)

Slap Yo' Mama
Stella's Fish Cafe, $9

This hits-the-spot cocktail tastes the way summer citrusy drinks should: Absolut Citron, the increasingly trendy pomegranate juice, fresh mint, and fresh lemonade, served with big chunks of citrus fruit crammed into a pint glass with lots of ice. You'll smack your lips (not your mom). (1400 W. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612.824.TUNA)

Vanilla Bean Martini
Al Vento, $10

Deep in the softly lit recesses of Al Vento's elegant dining room, this subtly sweet and beautifully mixed concoction may be the perfect accompaniment to the surroundings—and between 4 and 6 p.m. it's even half off. Al Vento's magicians of mix have hand-infused their Stoli with the warm touch of vanilla bean, then added coffee liqueur. The results are astonishing. Instead of the roiling sea of saccharine we've come to expect from the fruit-tini crowd, vanilla and coffee flavors frolic together in a fresh spring of vodka, while a light dusting of sweet coffee powder around the rim eliminates any bitterness. Welcome back, flavored martini. You're lookin' good. (5001 34th Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.724.3009)

Prince Albert
La Belle Vie, $11

For this elegant cocktail, La Belle Vie ingeniously infuses gin with Earl Grey tea, so that hints of bergamot marry with juniper to give the drink an aroma of aristocracy. If $11 seems steep, know that La Belle Vie pours 'em strong. (510 Groveland Ave., Minneapolis; 612.874.6440)

The Silly Rabbit
Town Talk Diner, $11

Town Talk Diner's Silly Rabbit gets its name from the saccharine, Trix-sprinkled richness you can only find where anisette commingles with vanilla ice cream and three fruity Marie Brizard liqueurs in a 16-ounce goblet topped with whipped cream. Think of the remaining milk from a bowl of Trix, only frozen. And with booze. (2707 1/2 E. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612.722.1312)

Bett's You'll Like It
Lucia's Restaurant & Wine Bar, $9

The place has "wine bar" in the name, but don't let that deter you; Lucia's pours a killer cocktail. One favorite is the Bett's You'll Like It. It's nowhere near as frou-frou as the name suggests; it's made from Crown Royal, iced tea, and a splash of ginger ale over ice. This is a no-nonsense beverage with an old-fashioned glamour that will never be matched by a chocolatini. (1432 W. 31st St., Minneapolis: 612.825.1572) 

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