The Cold Fashioned


Paul Whyte

Since Labor Day weekend is over I figured it’d probably be safe to head down to Canal Park on my quest for cocktails this week. As I approached Vikre Distillery down by the Lift Bridge, the bridge started to go up to let a boat pass. I was relieved I wasn’t on my way to Park Point. Once inside I noted that the bar isn’t very big, but there is plenty of space besides the bar for people to sit in the upper area. The large copper stills have an awesome steam punk look to them behind the floor to ceiling glass panels. Since I needed to talk to the bartender to do this column, it was kind of a necessity to be seated at the bar. After a brief wait and perusing the drink menu, I found my seat.   

Featured Bartender: Jessica Liszewski. She has around 20 years of bartending experience, seven of those serving in the Twin Ports.

Interests and Activities: She is the former curator and owner of Ochre Ghost gallery. She hopes to continue featuring local artists at a different location in the future.

Favorite Music: The National, Nite Jewel and Angel Olsen.

Featured Cocktail: Cold Fashioned. It starts with a dash of bourbon barrel maple syrup. From there, I was in for another unique cocktail experience with a few drops out of a blotter of fig-saffron bitters added into the mix. If this wasn’t already a one-of-a-kind drink, Jessica poured in the Cognac cask aged Voyageur Aquavit. This spirit is similar to whisky, but takes another direction. It’s spiced and very aromatic with hints of vanilla, honey, caraway and licorice. It is finished off with some Fabbri Syrup, which is derived from little sweet Italian cherries. The mix is then stirred for 15 seconds (exactly) and served in a lowball style glass.

How is it?: Upon the first taste there was a complex mix of flavors. For me there was a definite taste of anise or licorice, probably due to the Aquavit. The maple syrup that was aged in bourbon barrels plays off the fig-saffron. The drink is sweet from the Fabbri syrup and some of the other ingredients, but it’s not overwhelming. Everything about the drink has something special and quality about it. Unfortunately you won’t be able to get something quite like this at a dive bar or at a dive bar price. Vikre is the place to go when you’re looking for something well crafted, out of the ordinary, and made right here in Duluth.