810 West Lake St., Minneapolis
Need someone to warm you up, now that fall has clearly taken up residence in the Twin Cities? Bryant-Lake Bowl has the brown-liquor pal for you.
Sitting in the crowded, woody interior of the BLB as the wind whips down Lake Street truly calls for something more solid than a vodka tonic. The Imaginary Friend is a fine combo, with a base of Maker's Mark that echoes the winter to come and a splash of all that just-past summer fun in the form of limoncello. The two elements are bridged by the Fernet Branca, an Italian digestif made from a variety of herbs and plants that include rhubarb, aloe, gentian root, and galanga (among many others).
A small slice of lemon peel sets off the drink, which comes on the rocks, in our case, with two straws. It's one of the new feature cocktails on the revamped BLB drink menu, which also offers traditional faves like the Aviation and Martinez. However, we felt the need to find a friend, and the imaginary kind fit the mood well. A hint of citrus, a glance of unsweet licorice-like aromatic spirit, and a full pour of bourbon--what could be better? We nursed our sorrows at the passing of the season and vowed to wear a jacket for our next visit to see our new Imaginary Friend.