Situated behind Diamonds Coffee Shoppe off of Central Avenue, Tattersall Distilling is one part steampunk one part Kenwood manse.
Gauzy curtains and a grand twinkling chandelier offset the steely masculinity of the custom Vendome distilling equipment, works of art unto themselves. A plaid (Tattersall plaid, naturally) couch allows you to kick back with a cocktail among it all.
Tattersall operates as restaurant for cocktails, which would sound pretentious if its ownership weren’t so down-to-earth.
It’s been my experience in this field that if the hospitality is on-point, the quality of the product will correlate, and vice versa. Tattersall proves that rule.
Dan Oskey is the hospitalitarian here (there’s really no other way to describe him). You may have known and loved from behind the bar at Strip Club and Hola Arepa, two places where quality and hospitality come together in perfect unison. He and partner Jon Kreidler and their crew of thirty or so (who they hold in very high esteem) have experienced tremendous growth in the less than two years since they’ve been open. Countless prestigious industry awards have them striving for new heights, including five from the recent San Francisco World Spirits Competition, which is like the Oscars of the drinking world.
Right now is an ideal time to head over, because they have just rolled out their new summer menu. We got a little sneak peek, and when I ask barmen Bennett Johnson and Timothy Leary to comment on how they came up with the new menu, they defer. It was a team effort. So, we were forced to pick our own favorites, tough job though it was, and collect tasting notes on each. Here they are in order of preference. Happy drinking (pretty much a guarantee at Tattersall).
Rum, hazelnut falernum, coffee bitter orange, pineapple, banana bitters
My personal favorite out of this whole lineup, the Jungle Book is like the one kid in class who you keep angling to sit next to because he’s the funniest and the most charming and before you know it you’re best friends. Not usually a rum drinker, this thing bewitched me because it is the very essence of Jamaica. If you’ve ever drunk rum in that country, your palate will be forever stamped with that sense memory. It’s impossible to capture here with regular label bar swill. Oskey tells us that’s because the best Caribbean rums are made with pure molasses, and, you guessed it, that’s how Tattersall makes their rum, too. Next to all of the tropical fruits in this magical cup, paradise is but sips away.
Bourbon, fernet, maple, aromatic bitters
One of the benefits of drinking at Tattersall is the smoothness of the product. The Toronto offers a strange but welcome pure-tasting fluidity I’ve rarely tasted in bourbons except in the finest Pappy Van Winkles. The maple in question was harvested from Johnson’s Taylor’s Falls family farm, a point of interest and purveyor of exceptional flavor.
Weekend at Bernie’s
Toasted coconut aquavit, peach, lemon, hazelnut falernum, rooibos-lime cordial, black walnut bitters
Satisfying as cinnamon toast with more grownup ginger and coconut swapped out for the cinnamon, this buttery and lightly sweet mixture is pure adult candy. Tattersall is exceptionally proud of their aquavits (basically a clear spirit that’s been infused) and they deserve to be. Toasted coconut? It works. A candied ginger garnish picks up where the liquor finishes off.
Snap pea-infused barreled gin, Americano, amaro, lemon, mint gomme, smoke tincture
If you don’t think you want peas in your drink, think again. Made with another infusion, sweet springtime peas proffer a light sweetness, along with gomme, like a simple syrup but with the addition of a natural emulsifier that improves the smoothness. But highly herbal amaro and a back-end kick of smoke has the drink taking a fascinatingly bitter turn. So good.
Aquavit, carrot juice, ginger, lemon, salt, dill
I pressed Johnson to choose a favorite, and this was his. In spite of the brilliant color (which looks even more brilliant against his sweet turquoise hand jewelry) this is a relatively subtle drink, nicely savory for those of us who shun sugary stuff. Inspiration was taken from a restaurant by the same name in Chicago, which according to Johnson is the sort of vegetarian food that sneaks up on you because it’s so good. Just like this drink.
Rum, admiral spice, egg white, lime, amaro, habanero bitters
Leary’s pick for a headliner, the Cobra Sigh was the most understated recipe in this lineup in my opinion, in spite of the addition of habanero. He likes it because it’s spirit forward, a little spicy with baking spice, and a little spicy with chile, but “doesn’t totally bombard you.” I can’t help but draw a parallel between that sentiment and all of Tattersall, when Leary concluded with his thoughts on the whole enterprise:
“We’re just regular people making really good drinks.”
The new drinks menu is now available.
1620 Central Ave NE., Minneapolis