Strip Club's Drinking Gourd: Fall in a glass

Drinking Gourd $8.50

The Strip Club Meat & Fish
378 Maria Ave., St. Paul
651.793.6247; website

Every chef knows changing menus with the seasons is important. Palates change as the weather changes, and so does the availability of local crops. Many bartenders have narrowed the gap between themselves and their counterparts in the kitchen and have brought this philosophy to the cocktail menu as well. One person I wouldn't hesitate to call a chef of liquids is Dan Oskey, who runs the bar at St Paul's Strip Club Meat and Fish (in addition to Joia Life, the new all-natural soda company he has started with Boundary Waters Brands.)

On a cloudy, chilly, windy night, we sought refuge in the Strip Club's dimly lit bar and tried a few libations, along with the ever-amazing food. One drink on Oskey's list caught my eye right away. It's called Drinking Gourd, and it's made with squash-infused rye, Yellow Chartreuse, and Amaro Averna (a bitter Sicilian liqueur). This cocktail, perhaps more than any other I have ever tried, tastes like someone took all my memories of fall and liquefied them. The squash flavor in the rye is really there but not overwhelming, as it is balanced by the lighter, sweeter Yellow Chartreuse and the bitter, complex Averna (which is on the lighter side of Amaro liqueurs). It's an incredibly well-balanced cocktail, and one that complements the weather perfectly. Swing in to the Strip Club and try one.

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