Every Saturday, Mike Augustyniak helps kick off the weekend by checking out some of the best cocktail recipes from bars in the Twin Cities. In the spirit of the holiday season, Mike went to 6Smith on Lake Minnetonka to learn about their take on two classic winter cocktails.

Hipster Toddy
Ingredients:
1 ½ oz George Dickel Rye
1/3 oz Frenet
1 dash orange bitters
1 ½ oz demerara simple syrup
Hot water

Directions:
Combine the rye, Frenet, bitters and simple syrup in an Irish coffee mug. Top with hot water. Garnish with an expressed orange peel.

Taste Test
Frenet is the bitter Italian digestif that’s very “of the moment.” When sampled neat (on its own, with no ice or mixers) you may taste notes of eucalyptus, wood, tobacco, leather or myrrh. Bottom line: it’s potent stuff. What’s amazing about this toddy, though, is how well the bitter Frenet blends with the other ingredients, resulting in a smooth, drinkable cocktail. I think this one is even easier to sip than a classic toddy, and it’s certainly one of the more approachable ways to try Frenet this winter.

Champagne Cocktail
Ingredients:
1 Demerara sugar cube
2 Dashes Angostura bitters
1 ½ oz Laird’s apple brandy

Directions:
Chill the apple brandy by stirring over ice. Strain into a flute, to which you’ve already added the sugar cube and bitters. Top with Prosecco. Garnish with an expressed lemon peel.

Taste Test
This is a of a seasonal twist on the standard Champagne Cocktail, originally created in the mid-1800s, and made famous by Hollywood in films like “Casablanca.” The original cocktail is made with straight cognac or brandy; Marlon’s version at 6Smith uses a seasonal apple brandy, like Landy’s or Calvados. He has also chosen Prosecco instead of Champagne for a slightly sweeter flavor. The sugar cube will dissolve with time as the cocktail sits, making it sweeter and sweeter.

This cocktail is easy to make non-alcoholic; simply substitute sparkling apple juice for the brandy and Prosecco.

6Smith is located on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, in Wayzata. On the first Saturday of each month, they host a Classic Cocktail Class, which you must be 21 or older to attend. You can learn how to make several cocktails, sample the individual ingredients and snacks and learn basic mixing and stirring methods. To learn more, and to purchase tickets to their event on Jan. 2, click here.

Mike Augustyniak

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