Drink of the week: The Strip Club's Mango Tonka Bean Sazerac


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.