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This week I was hanging out in Superior and stopped in at a place I frequent regularly. The Dugout Lounge was owned by Forrest Rieder for over two decades and then recently was handed to Josh Roux as the new owner. As the new owner, Roux has made a few changes. One of the main things is focusing more on quality cocktails that can’t be found at a lot of the bars on Tower Avenue that lean more to just beer a shots. If you’ve been out in Superior on a weekend, you probably know what I’m talking about. If you’re a bartender or know one that has a good cocktail, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll try to stop in.
Featured Bartender: Josh Roux. As mentioned, Roux is the new owner of the Dugout Lounge. Forrest is now semi-retired and spends his time fishing, golfing and going out to concerts but still can occasionally be found working at the Dugout on a Thursday or Friday night.
Interests & Activities: As a new business owner, Roux has been focused on running the Dugout. Roux does play some video games when he isn’t doing something for his business, but he has kept himself pretty busy as the new owner. Overall, when the entire strip of Tower Avenue is dead, there’s often a few people at the Dugout. The Dugout can be described as the most laid back sports bar in the Twin Ports. There’s an old school juke box and it’s usually free to play.
Favorite Music: System Of A Down, Beastie Boys and Weezer
(specifically the Blue Album).
Featured Cocktail: The Dugout’s Old Fashioned. First off, there’s the glass. Roux has purchased a number of glasses from Italy specifically to serve up some of the more fancy cocktails that he’s been offering (perhaps more notable is the copper mugs for the Moscow Mules). It’s a nice square sturdy glass with rounded edges. This might not be impressive in the Twin Cities or at some more high end bars in Duluth, but is certainly a rare sight on Tower Avenue in Superior.
The first thing Roux did was muddle the orange in a shaker and then he added Fabbri Amarena Italian black cherries and worked that in as well. He then adds in a few splashes of bitters along with around two ounces of Maker’s Mark. This is mixed in with some simple syrup. He strains the mix through a cocktail shaker which limits the amount of pulp from the muddled orange and cherries. A little bit of cherry juice is added on top of the mix.
How is it?: The Dugout’s Old Fashioned has an orange hue due to the orange that has been muddled into it and a little bit from the whiskey and bitters. You can tell that there is a hint of bitters in it, but it’s just a hint. I’m glad because I don’t usually love bitters (who does?), but it sits well on top of what is happening. The Maker’s Mark is present, but it is also not overpowering and there’s a reason for that. The sweetness of the simple syrup holds the backbone of the drink and blends with the mix of orange and cherry flavors. It lifts those up just enough where it diverts the drink from being too whiskey flavored. Everything sits just right. It’s not too sweet and it’s not too boozy. Overall, it’s an easy drink to put down and a tasty twist on the good old Old Fashioned.