La Belle Vie's Taking It to the House takes the chill out of winter

Taking It to the House $12

La Belle Vie 510 Groveland Ave. S., Minneapolis 612.874.6440; La Belle Vie website

Sitting in the lounge at La Belle Vie is always a great place to spend an evening: It's stylish, it's sexy, the music is always stimulating without ever being too loud, and most importantly the cocktails are quite possibly the best in town. The cocktail menu is made up of a number of drinks that are available all year, plus others that come and go with the seasons. A few of these seasonal offerings have become something to look forward to all year, and when the leaves start falling I immediately start to think about Taking It to the House.

This bourbon-based cocktail made with apple, ginger, and citrus is crisp and refreshing but still appeals as a warming winter or fall drink. A few fresh slices of apple fanned over the top of the glass add an aesthetic touch as well as teasing your sense of smell as you sip. The crisp ginger finish is what seals the deal for me. It's just enough ginger spice to make a hit on your palate, and then it slowly fades away.

Step out of the cold and into LBV's lounge--if you're lucky there will still be a spot by the fire. Either way, this cocktail will surely warm your bones.

(As a bonus for the home cocktail enthusiast, you can find the recipe and many more from LBV's Johnny Michaels in the newly released Northstar Cocktails. The book is the first of its kind, a collaborative effort from many of the best bartenders in the Twin Cities.)

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