Northstar Bartenders Guild celebrates New Year's Eve just a bit late

​The bummer about working in the hospitality industry is that while all your buddies are out having fun, you're left working the party.  That's why a week after the actual holiday, the Northstar Bartenders Guild threw its own New Year's event. 

What exactly happens when the Cities' cocktail masters all gather in one place? Well, chances are someone is going to lose their pants.

​The event was held in the penthouse at the Marquette Luxury Apartments in downtown Minneapolis.  It's a joint nice enough that there's a bench in the elevator. Very posh.  Guests checked in with IDs before being ushered into the room and into the waiting smiles of Nick Kosevich and Ira Koplowitz from Bittercube Bitters. A flute of champagne had a cube of raw sugar dropped into the glass, and it was topped with a drizzle of their signature bitters.  We're fast becoming convinced there's no liquid that these sassy little droplets can't elevate.  Seriously, try some in a glass of club soda.  The Vanilla Cherry Bark is a nice stand-in for Chanel No. 5 perfume--it's a Ronco infomercial waiting to happen.

DJ's Mad Mardigan and Dudley D were bumping some '90s-style, feel-good beats courtesy of Salt n Peppa and Heavy D.  There was ample dance space, a bar in front, and another, featuring Bombay Sapphire, in the back.

A few guests took advantage of the pool table while others grazed on munchies provided by chef Philip Dorwart's Create catering.  Dishes were tiny, crispy rissoto cakes; sliders with slices of pork, chilies, and a spicy mayo on buttery, soft buns; and little gnudi with sun-dried tomatoes with shaved Parmesan cheese--all great foods for soaking up the booze.

Two of the organizers, Jesse Held and Ben Quam, circulated greeting friends and guests. Other guild members took turns working the bar, each with their own cocktail.  Held served his take on a Hot Buttered Rum. Karin Wheeler of Meritage (who rocks the most bad-ass hairdo in the biz) served an elegant take on the classic French 75, champagne with gin and lemon.  Jourdan of Bradstreet Craftshouse used 2 Gingers whiskey to create his drink, garnished with a fat hunk of candied ginger, zesty, spicy and sweet.

As the night progressed the dance floor filled.  Friends copped poses as professional photographers snapped pictures.  Guests drifted out and in from the breathtaking deck.  The view of downtown Minneapolis was nothing short of stunning.  The glittering city lights shimmered in half-full glasses on an unseasonably warm winter evening. 

Inside bartenders started goading one another. A bit of friendly smack-talking led to a declaration of a pants-free bar.  Apparently, it's a business concept at least one member of the guild is in full favor of, as he briefly dropped trou to illustrate the comfort level. Like a news anchor, would we notice if our bartenders served sans pants? We laughed until our drinks dangerously licked the edges of our barware.

​Soon Quam grabbed the mic from the DJ and led everyone in an unofficial official countdown.  It looks to be a happy new year, indeed.

​Follow Northstar Bartenders Guild on Facebook for information on future events.

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