The wind whips down the corridors between skyscrapers in downtown Minneapolis. Autumn has arrived with blustery force and it’s time to haul out the cableknit, cashmere, and thick down blankets. Reports have winter arriving earlier than usual this year, with a ridiculous amount of snow, and we all need a plan of attack. Or, if you’re at all like me, a plan for retreating. I don’t plan on pulling on snowpants if I can help it. Rather, I’ll station myself atop a cranberry-colored barstool and order a little liquid warmth.
Brasserie Zentral is built for those long nights that start when the sun goes down at 3 p.m. The cocktail menu is filled with plenty of sultry brown spirits, promising cozy thoughts and a rosy blush on your cheeks. The entire staff that works inside this space is operating at full speed, with expert skill, but if you want to make it a perfect night, pull up your stool when Trish Gavin is pouring drinks and request a Sexy Sadie.
Gavin has worked behind the bar at Heidi’s, Coup d’Etat and others. She’s garnered a loyal following of tipplers who are happy to find their glasses filled with whatever she so chooses. (She’s currently studying wine and her astounding palate pairs flavors and food brilliantly.)
The Sexy Sadie is 1 1/2 ounces of George Dickle Rye, 3/4 ounce of Art in the Age Root liqueur, 1/2 ounce Amaro Nardini and a fat 1/4 ounce of Carpano. Stirred with ice, Gavin serves this cocktail in a Glencairn glass. Over the seductive lines of this container, she twists an orange rind, expressing the juice over it.
The taste is a cacophony of complex bitter notes with an unmistakable rootbeer nose. The Root liqueur contains all of the herbal, subterranean, and bark flavors from the memorable drive-in soft drink, but without the cloying sweetness. It plays beautifully with the spicy rye and bitters. The resulting cocktail is irresistibly perfumed, and comes in a modest-sized container filled with voluminous flavors that are all soft edges and deeply cozy. Like snuggling into a mink coat, it protects against the dreariness of a gray day.