photos by Steve Neuharth
The Mango Tonka Bean Sazerac
The Strip Club
378 Maria Ave., St. Paul
At The Strip Club you know each time you stop by the drink-masters will have gone all ape sh*t making potions and elixirs with ingredients both fresh and unexpected. And they are most generous and friendly when sharing their new creations.
When I visit "The Club," it is my custom to ask the bartender to make whatever is new and dee-licious. They will not steer you wrong. Recently, they created a bevy of new bitters, and shrubs (simple syrup made with vinegar instead of water) and a butternut squash-infused rye-- velvet textured, the squash flavor barely a hint--the choices are all so tempting, making it extra cool to go with a friend and sample a couple of creations.
Being a huge fan of the Sazerac, I was stoked when our bartender Bill made us a Mango Tonka Bean Sazerac. Lovely rosy-orange in color, it is lightly scented licorice with absinthe-- in a traditional Sazerac recipe you merely rinse the glass with it, this drink also using it sparingly. Mixed with rye whiskey, mango tonka bean bitters, apple cardamom shrub, and garnished with a sparkling fresh lemon wedge, this drink recalls the days of yore, yet is totally new. The warming quality of the rye works harmoniously with the chocolate/vanilla essence of the tonka bean and the mango and bitters' spiced candied fruit.
The Strip Club's speakeasy vibe (a secret knock to enter would not a surprise), high on Dayton's Bluff, with the lights of Downtown St. Paul shining below, not only makes swanky drinks, it also is the perfect atmosphere to have a sip.