New Northstar Cocktails book is a home bartender's best friend

The logo on the cover of Northstar Cocktails, the new cocktail guide by local cocktail superstars Johnny Michaels and the North Star Bartenders' Guild, could be suitable as a super cool rock band logo; this is no coincidence--the guys and gals who created the recipes in this extensive guide are local mixology rock stars, pushing the boundaries of cocktail culture, taking the classics and adding their own unique riffs.

The North Star Bartenders Guild is made up of the cities' most cosmically talented barkeeps including the Strip Club's Dan Oskey, two time Iron Bartender winner Jesse Held, and Peder Schweigert and Pip Hanson from Marvel Bar. Micheals is the playful narrator, with the guild members contributing their signature recipes.

It's no secret that cocktail culture has modeled important aspects of the culinary world, including the use of sparkling fresh seasonal ingredients, and artful presentations with a medley of carefully balanced flavors. But this book not only explores modern spins on the craft, it also gives a nod to the classics and covers the basics like proper tools and glassware.

The book includes a short but sweet look into Twin Cities cocktail history dating back to Prohibition days before moving on to the recipes broken down by individual spirits and nonalcoholic selections.

You will find recipes for many perennial favorites like Barrio's Enter the Dragon (margarita with hot pepper and cava), or La Belle Vie's Parlez Vous (raspberry-pineapple martini with passion fruit foam) with gorgeous photos by Kate N.G. Sommers. 

This guide is suitable for all skill levels, with easy beginner recipes like simple infusions, including cucumber vodka (cucumbers + vodka) or chamomile gin (chamomile teas bags+ gin). You will also learn how to make homemade bitters, syrups, and lovely garnishes like cherries preserved in sweet vermouth and brandy.

Although some of the recipes are quite complicated, requiring multiple tinctures and mixes, this will only increase your appreciation for the craftsmanship required of your bartender--not to mention a perfect way to impress dinner guests. There are also complex scientific-looking formulas like homemade vermouth created with wormwood, angelica, and red cedar chips for the advanced mixmaster, and all recipes include bartender's notes.

This book is one that is easy to imagine becoming dog-eared with pages stuck together from repeated use, an ideal guide for entertaining, or just to create that perfect end-of-the-day cocktail. All this for a good cause, too: All royalties from the sale of the book are going to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals International.

Celebrate the release of Northstar Cocktails, Thursday, November 10. Find all the details here.

Northstar Cocktails by Johnny Michaels and the North Star Bartenders' Guild
$19.95. Borealis Book (an imprint of the Minnesota Historical Society Press)

A recipe from Northstar Cockails
Life in the Afternoon Created by Adam Harness

2 ounces London dry gin 1 ounce cucumber-mint-chamomile syrup* ¼ lemon, squeezed cava long lemon twist

Shake gin, syrup, and lemon juice with ice. Strain into white wine glass and top with cava. Garnish with a lemon twist.

*Cucumber-mint-chamomile syrup

1 cup sugar 2 cucumbers, chopped but not peeled or seeded 1 cup water 1 chamomile tea bag 1 mint tea bag

Place sugar, water, and cucumbers in a medium pot and heat until sugar fully dissolves. Remove from heat and steep mint and chamomile tea bags. As it cools, taste until syrup has reached desired flavor. Remove tea bags and strain syrup through a fine-mesh strainer. Bottle and keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.

Sponsor Content


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >