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Best dishes countdown #19: Bespoke cocktails at the Alchemist

The Alchemist brings intrigue to imbibing.

The Alchemist brings intrigue to imbibing.

At least one third of the charm of the Alchemist is its mysterious steampunk design. Here, labyrinthine twists and turns confuse and delight like an Alice in Wonderland panorama. There are privacy booths

decked out in gears and trinkets, staircases to nowhere, and flickering candles, the whole scene more enigmatic with every sip. 

Another third of its appeal is the strange yet absorbing charisma of the man himself: Johnny Michaels, the most storied barman in our midst. He's something like a poet laureate of the sauce; the most beloved consultant, constantly tasked with stamping a soulful signature on bars across the city. 

Of course the most important part of this equation is what Michaels mixes up, not mere cocktails but works of art. Whether they take their names from a lover, a breakup, or a wrestler, rest assured that Michaels has thought about these long and hard.

Live on the dangerous side with a "candyapplerazorblade," 100 proof apple brandy with slightly spicy apple and sour cherry bitters, plus Cava. Or be girly as a mall shopper with a "Forever 21," a sparkling martini with whipped cream vodka and something called "JazzBerry" sour. 

Or do what we do and plunk down with the man and just talk to him. Tell him what you drink and what you don't. But most importantly, tell him your story. No matter how sad, he'll come up with a delicious liquid equivalent of a somebody-done-somebody-wrong song. 

The Alchemist 

2222 Fourth St., White Bear Lake 

651-261-6662

thealchemistwbl.com

 

100: Caramel Bacon Puffcorn at Red Cow 

99: Pappadams from the Curry Diva

98: The Kingfield at Five Watt

97: Raspberry Cream Scone at Sun Street Breads

96: Bacon and Bourbon from 6Smith

95: Biscuits and Gravy at Ward 6

94: Burgers from Peppers and Fries

93: The Everything Bagel from Rise Bagel Co.

92: Bent River Camembert from Alemar Cheese

91: Two large pizzas and a pitcher of beer, Original Red's Savoy

90: Boiled Peanut Hummus at 4 Bells

89: Chaksuka from Shish

88: Fried Green Tomato BLT from Butcher and the Boar

87: Charcuterie Board at Surly Beer Hall & Restaurant

86: Quiche from Le Town Talk

85: Aloo Tama from the Himalayan

84: Caramelized Cauliflower at Libertine

83: Banh Mi Joy Dog at Prairie Dogs

82: Salmon Poke at District Fresh Kitchen & Bar

81: Savory Waffle at Birchwood Cafe

80: Kofta from Mim's

79: Medianoche at La Ceiba

78: Spicy Golden Tofu from Peninsula

77: Chicken Fantastic from Safari

76: Ramen at Zen Box

75: Puttanesca at Foreign Legion

74: Salted caramel hazelnut tart at Eastside

73: Pastas at Monello

72: Housemade sausages at Ox Cart Ale House

71: Indeed's Rum King

70: Pernil from Tinto Cocina + Cantina

69: Beef tartare at the Commodore

68: Dry rub chicken at Breaking Bread

67: The footlong burrito at El Taco Riendo

66: Eggs Benedict at Grand Cafe

65: Vanilla buttercream donut from Bogart's

64: Chicken and waffles at Bradstreet Craftshouse

63: Umeboshi sour at Tattersall Distilling

62: Lobster deviled eggs at Lela

61: Surly Darkness (2015)

60: Yellowtail with passion fruit from Il Foro 

59: Matzo ball soup from Nighthawks

58: Baby potatoes from Birdie

57: The Reuben at Tilia

56: Cocktail Flight at Tongue in Cheek 

55: Classic burger from Burger Burger

54: Chicken pot pie at the Draft Horse 

53: Sambusas at Afro Deli 

52: Duck Fat Brunch Potatoes at Meritage 

51: Pulled bulgogi jackfruit from LolaRosa's

50: Classic truffle from Legacy Chocolates

49: Simple breakfast at the Kenwood 

48: Panzanella salad from Burch

47: Thai drunken fish at Chino Latino 

46: Gyoza from Ramen Kazama 

45: Lemon Meringue Pie at Revival 

44. Sandwiches at the Bachelor Farmer Cafe

43: Teasers at Tongue in Cheek 

42: Green chile cheese fries at Halftime Rec

41: Brussels sprouts at Hola Arepa

40: Snapper ceviche at 4 Bells

39: Chocolate chip cookie from Black Walnut Bakery 

38: Cheese curds from Lone Grazer Creamery 

37: Thumbs Cookies

36: Poutine at the Rabbit Hole 

35: Pizza at Big River Pizza

34: Braised Short Ribs at Parella 

33: Limoncello mussels at Italian Eatery

32: Pizza rolls at Red Wagon Pizza

31: Fried chicken at Dixie's on Grand

30: Pho at Ngon Bistro

29: Duck meatloaf sliders at Spoon and Stable

28: Chilled blue mussels at Heyday

27: Swedish meatballs at Upton 43

26: Scallop crudo at Scena 

25: Pelmeni at Russian Tea House 

24: Yakisoba dog at Kyatchi 

23: Beef tibs at Shega Foods 

22: Curried goat at Smalley's BBQ 

21: Chicken dumplings at Rainbow Chinese

20: BBQ at Q Fanatic