Must-try cocktails in Fargo-Moorhead

Not to sound like a lush, but I love everything about cocktails. I love learning about their history, their art, their science, each bartender’s different methods, and (obviously) trying new cocktails.

I tend to lean heavily on the classics: Manhattans, Mint Juleps, Old Fashioneds, Sazeracs, Whiskey Sours (I’m clearly a whiskey-person). However, some of my favorites are new takes on old cocktails. This is something that the mixologists in the FM area do very well.

When I am not concocting my own cocktails at home (because, amateur hour), I like to hit up some of the local restaurants and test out their mad [mixology] skillz.

These are some of my favorite cocktails (by restaurant) that you should probably get to know a little better:

Sazerac Alley
If you’ve never had a classic Sazerac, obviously this should be added to your to-do list. It’s a little sweeter than most Sazeracs I’ve had, but it’s a great introduction to the New Orleans’ official cocktail. (Fun fact: the Sazerac is sometimes claimed as America’s oldest cocktail, although more than likely it emerged in the 1880s or 90s.)

Sazerac Ingredients: Rye whiskey, absinthe, Peychaud’s bitters, sugar cube, lemon peel

Sazeracs not your thing? Try a Pimm’s Cup instead. Sazerac Alley does a Pimm’s Cup really well, with muddled cucumber and mint that is super refreshing on breezy summer evenings.

Pimm’s Cup Ingredients: Pimm’s #1, cucumber, mint, strawberry, ginger liqueur

The Boiler Room
The Boiler Room is always a good bet for cocktails, and their menu is ever-changing, which cocktail enthusiasts can appreciate! My favorite cocktail to get here is the Manhattan. Not too sweet with a slight spiced tang, this Manhattan is absolutely worth trying.

Manhattan Ingredients: Whiskey, sweet vermouth, bitters, orange peel, brandied cherries

Usher’s House
First of all, you need to try Usher’s bar-made ginger ale. I’ve never been blown away by ginger ale, but this one knocked my socks off. (Fun fact: It’s made with bitters, so legally you need to be 21+ to try it.)

Usher’s is also great at rotating their drink menu seasonally, so for the summer I’d suggest the obvious candidate: the Summertime. I’m a sucker for anything muddled with cucumber; add some bitters and I’m sold.

Summertime Ingredients: Muddled cucumber, bitters, Jameson, bar-made ginger-ale

The HoDo Lounge has some pretty fantastic cocktails; it’s hard to choose between them. The Up in Smoke is delightful. Nothing quite screams “summer” like tequila, and they use a reposado that adds depth and a flavor punch. Include some brown sugar and orange juice, and it’s practically heaven.

Up in Smoke Ingredients: Reposado tequila, blood orange triple sec, agave syrup, OJ, brown sugar, bitters

HoDo (3)

Vinyl Taco
If Moscow Mules are your jam, try a Mexi-Mule from Vinyl Taco to shake things up a bit. These are delicious because they have a zappier flavor than a traditional vodka Mule. Another favorite is their Lavender Lemonade. Super refreshing, super tangy, and super duper.

Mexi-Mule Ingredients: Reposado tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, ginger beer

Lavender Lemonade: Lavender-infused silver tequila, lemonade, muddled blueberries

Vinyl Taco (1)

I’m definitely a fan of Mezzaluna’s ever-rotating cocktails, and it’s impossible to not find something to your liking. I’ve currently got my eyes locked on their Hibiscus Highball (hibiscus + basil + black pepper = a taste explosion) and their Naked and Famous (mezcal + chartreuse).

Hibiscus Highball Ingredients: 2 Docks vodka, Fresh-brewed tea, lemon, hibiscus, basil, black pepper

Naked and Famous Ingredients: Mezcal reposado, yellow chartreuse, aperol, lime

Toasted Frog
The TF does a mean classic cocktail. It was there that I fell in love with the Scofflaw. (Surprise! Yet another whiskey drink!) If you’re not a fan of whiskey, try a gin-based Aviation. The crème de violette with lemon is a charmer.

Scofflaw Ingredients: Whiskey, dry vermouth, lemon juice, grenadine, orange bitters

Aviation Ingredients: Gin, maraschino liqueur, crème de violette, lemon juice

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention our downtown distillery. Proof currently has 2 Docks vodka, Minions gin, a barrel-aged gin, cream and coffee liqueurs, and whiskey on the way. I’m a big fan of their Minions Mule, as well as their Reserved Old Fashioned, made with their impressive barrel-aged gin.

Minions Mule Ingredients: Minions gin, ginger syrup, lime juice, ginger beer

Reserved Old Fashioned: Minions barrel-aged gin, simple syrup, bitters, maraschino cherries

Proof Distillery (5)

Whatever your poison, be sure to tag us #northofnormal and #ilovefargo so we can see your photos!

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