Top 5 drinks of 2010

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A year of cocktails...
​This year in beverages saw a wealth of cocktail options across the Twin Cities. There were the fruity, the fragrant, and the fierce--in other words, something for every kind of drinker. We highlighted the white liquors in summer, the brown in winter, tasty brews and even a mocktail or two.

So after 12 months of weekly missives, the Hot Dish is proud to declare our five favorite drinks of the week for 2010. It was a tough field, with the craft cocktail trend in full swing and new bars taking on the challenge each month. However, we whittled down the list and present the tastiest pours from this year's files.

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by Michelle Leon
Bradstreet's trademark
1. Bradstreet Cocktail

$10

Bradstreet Craftshouse

601 N. First Ave., Minneapolis; 612.312.1821

At Bradstreet they take drink-making very seriously. With five types of ice, house-made syrups and bitters, and drinks mixed so precisely that they measure some ingredients with eyedroppers. In this dimly lit den of heavenly spirits, we had to find out what their namesake cocktail would taste like.

The Bradstreet Cocktail is made with Jim Beam, jasmine syrup, egg whites, and its signature bitters containing jasmine, ginger, and secret ingredients. The result is a complex and balanced cocktail, starting with lovely floral scents, accompanied by herbal flavors--a regular botanical potpourri--and the bourbon root of the drink bringing warmth and depth. The egg whites, we were told, are used to cut the sharpness of the spirits, carry the alcohol, and create a soft mouthfeel. We were also told that bitters were used in drinks in olden times not only for flavor but also because the glycerol alcohol they contain was cheaper than spirits. So you have a fantastic cocktail, in a dreamy atmosphere, with a mixology lesson to boot. A full-on win. --Michelle Leon

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by Michelle Leon
This has house-made curry bitters.
2. Curried Pisco

$8.50

The Strip Club

378 Maria Ave., St. Paul; 651.793.6247

Always on top of the latest drink trends, Dan Oskey of  the Strip Club has taken on the flavors of the Far East with this new creation. Pisco, a centuries-old Peruvian grape liquor, is the base, which is complimented by Velvet Falernum, a liqueur with hints of almond and vanilla used in many rum drinks,  Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, and, finally, house-made curry bitters.

The curry and ginger are both very aromatic and complementary of each other, and they're the notes that stand out most. The pisco brings a warmth, the Falernum a gentle sweetness. Really complicated stuff here, yet in the expert hands of Oskey--Best Bartender 2010, the flavors find a harmony, with a lovely sweet and spicy melody. --Michelle Leon


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