Drink of the Week: Sophisticated Funk at Saffron

Saffron’s new barman rolls out a fall cocktail menu.

Saffron, the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern restaurant in the Warehouse district is known for the delicious dishes that arrive on the table courtesy of chef and owner Sameh Wadi. It also has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best places for a cocktail in the Twin Cities. Until recently, the bar was manned by Robb Jones. A celebrated bartender and award-winning drink mixer, he’s left to pursue dreams of a perfect Cosmopolitan at the forthcoming Merchant (more on that on another date).

Now running the bar is Nikola Govich, who arrives from Eat Street Social and Meritage before that. Trained at Bradstreet Craftshouse with a background in New York City dive bars, he’s a perfect mix of talent for downtown Minneapolis.

My first encounter with his new fall drink menu was filled with subtle, nuanced flavors and bash you over the head powerhouses. I can’t wait to get back and drink my way through the whole thing.

The drink possibly best suited for kicking off a night of fabulous dining is the Sophisticated Funk. This cocktail was actually created by Nikki Schultz (this modestly sized bar is just dripping in talent). The cocktail is an alluring mix of gin, Cardamaro, and Salers Apertif wine, finished with Angostura bitters.  The wine is unlike anything I’ve ever tasted before, redolent with herbal flavor. The first sip begins bright and clean with a thread of sweetness that twirls around a curly lemon twist before into a light, low bitterness. It would pair beautifully with the little lamb sausages in bright lemon sauce on the menu. 

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