From fashion to tech to entertainment, every month Minnesota Monthly editor Amy Nelson reviews a roundup of new products, events, and odds and ends she finds interesting. Have an idea? Reach her at email@example.com.
Red Locks Founders Edition Irish Whiskey
Dry January is finished, so it’s time to sample some booze (as well as a non-alcoholic shot) for this month’s Editor’s Picks column.
Kieran Folliard is basically royalty in Minnesota, especially the Twin Cities. The native of Ireland, who moved to Minnesota in 1987, has had his name on restaurants, food halls, a signature whiskey, and a pub. His latest endeavor is a whiskey that follows his popular 2 Gingers double-distilled Irish Whiskey, which became an instant classic cocktail with ginger ale when it debuted in 2011. Red Locks, in keeping with the theme of Folliard’s redhead relatives, launched this fall with Ireland-based distiller Noel Sweeney. Despite the Irish designation, this whiskey is squarely aimed at the American palate. Slightly sweet with notes of honey and vanilla, this liquor is a smooth, subtle sipper that tastes great neat or with drier mixers like club soda. My sample bottle was delivered to my door (lucky me!), and I discovered my local Total Wine hasn’t stocked it yet, but you can support another local business by buying it online from Surdyk’s. Whiskeys are having a moment—whether bourbon (produced solely in the United States), rye, Irish, or otherwise—and many of us seem to be in the spirit for this spirit. $23.49; redlocks.com
So Good, So You Happy Juice Shots
For those of us looking to extend the buzz of alcohol-free cocktails, or just enjoy a pick-me-up shot, the Minneapolis company So Good So You is happily mixing up healthy probiotic juice shots and bottled, pressed juices.
Company founder Rita Katona highlights the role of “adaptogens” in setting her juices apart from other health drinks. Simply put, adaptogens are products that adapt to what your body needs or is craving for a healthier life and better balance. Gut health and the digestive system can be a main target, while stress relief or better sleep are other focuses. One adaptogen is the medicinal herb ashwagandha, which is the star ingredient of So Good So You’s blood-orange-and-guava juice shot, titled Happy.
The company offers other flavor combinations and targeted benefits, too, such as Detox, Immunity, and Energy. These 1.7-fluid ounce shots won’t fill you up—and may set your budget back a bit if you are drinking them daily (there are mocktail recipes featuring the shots all over Pinterest). But they are a tasty way to treat yourself and possibly get peace of mind from a plant-based product.
$3.99 per shot; sogoodsoyou.com
Just in time for Galentine’s Day (or Valentine’s Day if you’re game), these novelty fake eyelashes are a fun, easy way to add some sparkle. I’m strictly a mascara-only makeup user and didn’t even have the adhesive needed when these samples arrived in a signature bright-pink box that looks like a cellphone. Luckily, my college-aged daughter had the right gear and right attitude to apply these lashes for a photoshoot. She reported they were easy to apply and remove but she was surprised they didn’t also require additional mascara to stay in place. With different holiday-themed decals like bats for Halloween and red hearts for Valentine’s Day, the company claims these sets can be applied up to 10 times. As an accessible, Instagram-worthy gift that equals the cost of a few drugstore tubes of mascara, these lashes are a blast.
Be Nice. The End. book
We get a lot of books to review, from poetry to cookbooks, and many memoirs in between. The recent news of attempts to ban children’s books across the nation sent me looking for a recent title in the pile of reader copies at our office. The title and cover of this children’s book we received a few months ago made me smile, and I wanted to find it again. It’s a command but also a simple way of living: Be Nice. The End.
This pandemic project is the brainchild of author Bryan Skavnak, a golf pro and Brooklyn Park youth golf coach, whose first storyline was Be the Nice Kid, and illustrator Wendy Kieffer Shragg, who previously created several Playground Kids. They teamed up to create this book that “celebrates diversity, kindness, honesty, and simple wisdom of children.” The book is separated into seven chapters with one-word values such as “Courage,” “Empathy,” and “Inclusion.” Beautifully drawn children’s faces peer out at the reader on each right-hand page while simple concepts and sentences grace the left-hand page: “Be anything you want. Just be something positive” and “Make kindness a habit.” The approach and concept is simple, but this book will make you think—which is always nice.