Cocktails Without Borders: Rabbit Hole's Bar Takes You on a Round-the-World Tour

At the Rabbit Hole, even a seemingly classic cocktail is made with a few unique ingredients that take it in a whole different direction.

The bartending duo of Daniel Guerrero and Erik Van Waes have put their own stamp on the Twin Cities cocktail scene. True to the Rabbit Hole's gastropub/Korean street food/local dive bar roots, the duo, along with owner Thomas Kim, are turning wild global flavors into remarkably balanced and delicious libations.

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Like Rabbit Hole itself, which was practically built by hand by Kim and his wife Kat, Guerrero and Van Waes each came to the job with lots of wholesale bartending chops, but almost no mixology experience.

Under the tutelage of Kim, both bartenders have built their creative cocktail repertoire with delicious results. For proof, look no further than the "Cocktail du Jour" which they make from scratch to suit whatever creative whim they might have. We dropped in on the pair to ask our favorite question "What's in your glass?"

Assistant bar manager Daniel Guerrero is all about global fusion -- a little of this, a little of that and suddenly you have five countries in your drink.

He's been with Rabbit Hole since they opened. Originally from Jalisco, Mexico, Guerrero embraces the tastes and flavor profiles of many cultures, from his native Mexico to his adopted Minnesota (where he's been since high school).

He blends flavors with the goal of balance and yumminess. Borders are irrelevant! The Cabra Vieja blends tequila from his home state of Jalisco, the Italian artichoke liqueur Cynar, homemade fermented wild raspberry Korean Bokbunja syrup (often made by Thomas Kim's mother), and rhubarb bitters (go Minnesota!).

It's like a margarita that just got off a round-the-world tour.

A Massachusetts native, bar manager Erik Van Waes came to Minneapolis a few years ago. He worked at both Republic and Lake and Irving before he landed at Rabbit Hole nine months ago.

Originally more of a beer guy, Van Waes takes his new bartending roll very, very seriously. Try his favorite cocktail, the Ryebak, named after our beloved former Minneapolis mayor, R. T. Rybak. The Ryebak is a classic Sazerac flipped on its head with the addition of Gomme syrup, a sweet, thick syrup that adds a silky mouthfeel that mellows out the rye. That Ryebak is one sexy-smooth Sazerac.

What's in your glass? Daniel Guerrero: Cabra Vieja

Cabra Vieja

Ingredients: 2 oz Hacienda Blanco Tequilla 1/2 oz Cynar 1/2 oz Lime Juice 1 oz Bokbunja Syrup (Fermented Wild Raspberry Syrup) Rhubarb Bitters Orange Flower Water Lime Wheel

In a cocktail shaker with ice add tequila, Cynar, lime juice and Bokbunja syrup. Shake. Pour into ice-filled rocks glass. Top with a few drops of rhubarb bitters, a couple sprays of orange flower water and float a lime wheel on top.

Note: You can make your own Bokbunja syrup by picking wild raspberries in the summer, mixing them with lots of sugar, and leaving them to ferment in your kitchen.

What's in your glass? Erik Van Waes: The Ryebak

The Ryebak

Ingredients: 2 oz Bulleit Rye 1/2 oz Gomme Syrup 10 Drops Peychauds Bitters Absinthe 2"x1" Strip Orange Peel

Instructions: Wash a rocks glass with Absinthe and set aside. In another glass add ice, rye, Gomme syrup and bitters and stir to combine. Strain into Absinthe-washed glass, neat. Twist the orange peel over the drink and add peel to glass.

Note: Can't find Gomme syrup? Check online for Gomme syrup recipes to make your own.

Rabbit Hole The Midtown Global Market 920 E Lake St., Minneapolis

Happy Hour: Bar only, 4 p.m. - 6 p.m. Monday to Thursday: 4 p.m. - 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday: 4 p.m. - 11 p.m.

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