Photos by James Eastman
With so many new craft cocktail bars opening, truly new drink experiences are growing fewer and further between. But swirling a slice of fish through a drink and enjoying it, well, that’s a new one for us.
“The Minnesota martini—that’s what I’m going for,” says Jourdán Gomez, head bartender at Constantine. He balances a skewer of pickled herring on the rim of our cocktail glass. “We want to make people’s heads spin a little bit, make people question what they’re drinking.”
Constantine, the cocktail lounge beneath Monello at the Hotel Ivy in downtown Minneapolis, is decorated like a gothic chapel meets hunting lodge: taxidermy, stained glass, dripping candles, plush leather booths. Our cocktail is named for St. Martin, who is remembered for cutting his military cloak to give half to a poorly clad beggar in the deep of winter. We can anticipate nestling into one of Constantine’s cozy enclaves as soon as the chill arrives.
The cumin syrup makes this drink work. The sugar makes up for the drier spirits, while the spice accentuates the nuttiness of the sherry. The dill aquavit contributes a vaguely pickled feeling. Despite being a collection of powerful flavors, the cocktail is impeccably balanced.
Martinus & The Cold Beggar
- 1⅓ ounces Gamle Ode Dill Aquavit
- ⅔ ounce Tattersall Gin
- ½ ounce dry vermouth
- ½ ounce fino sherry
- Bar spoon of cumin syrup
- Dash sarsaparilla bitters
Stir all ingredients until well-chilled and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a skewered piece of pickled herring. Squeeze a swath of lemon zest over the herring.
Substitute sarsaparilla bitters with Angostura or other dark spicy bitters. Cumin syrup recipe: Toast 2 tablespoons of whole cumin seed in a dry pan until fragrant. Add 1/2 cup water and 1 cup Demerara sugar and boil until the sugar dissolves. Strain out cumin seeds and let cool.
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