The Living Room Re-Imagines Bar Offerings
It’s a whole new era in Twin City’s cocktail culture. From bespoke oak-aged creations to boldly reinterpreted classic libations, the new cocktails at the Living Room are destined to make as big an impression on the Minneapolis lounge scene as the W Hotel itself has.
One of the most basic features of The Living Room’s new cocktail list is also one that guests most appreciate: a structure that groups drinks by their principal spirit.
“People have all sorts of preferences for their drinks, from sweet to bitter, and straight up or on the rocks, but the biggest factor in deciding what to order is the spirit itself. Our new menu enables whiskey lovers to zero in on their options, vodka lovers to find theirs, and so on,” says the new drink list’s lead creator, Paul Hoisser.
“Each category offers just three to five options, each a star in its own right,” he continues. “Our goal was to give our guests a truly curated selection. Instead of trying to cover all our bases and anticipate every guest’s preference, we created best-of-breed choices, using the highest quality ingredients, prepared to exacting specifications.”
The categories include gin, tequila, vodka, rum, whiskey, punches, and oak aged.
The new cocktail list currently includes four French oak-aged options:
- The Vieux Carré – Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Xante Pear Brandy, Sweet Vermouth, and Benedictine.
- The Bijou – Tanqueray Gin, Green Chartreuse, Sweet Vermouth.
- The Kessler – Jim Beam Bourbon, Amaretto, Sweet Vermouth.
- The Maximilian Affair – Sauza Tres Generaciones Plata, fresh squeezed lime, Grand Marnier.
“The impact of aging is really profound, and can be quite unexpected,” says Hoisser. “It deepens flavors, adds new shadings to them, and gives the drink a much mellower quality in many cases.
“A drink like the Kessler, with Jim Beam, amaretto and sweet vermouth, is sweet, but somewhat harsh before aging. Afterward, it gains a whole new dimension of flavor. And that’s true for all of our oak-aged offerings. Each is truly an experience unto itself.”
Hoisser ages the cocktails in-house and monitors each batch on an almost daily basis. “Attaining just the right flavor is both art and science – art because there’s a certain magic in the way disparate flavors converge, and science because the aging process demands accurate metering. For the Kessler, we determined that 18 days is an optimal time. Any longer than that, and the rewards begin to diminish – at first gradually, then precipitously.”
In crafting the new cocktails, Hoisser and team focused on broad appeal, but with a pronounced point of view. “We wanted the list to appeal to the breadth of our guests. At the same time, we wanted each drink to be bold enough to stand and make its mark,” he says. “You’ll find elderflower on the list, but no wallflowers.”
Hoisser also insisted on using the best possible ingredients in each drink. For assistance on that front, he teamed with Manny’s executive chef Josh Hill, who created a full complement of house-made extracts, infusions and purees, including the fresh ginger syrup, apple-cinnamon extract, rooibos syrup, and Earl Grey & rose syrup.
While offerings will change with the seasons, the debut list features the following selections – in addition to the above-listed Oak Aged cocktails:
- Blackberry Mojito – Don Q Limon, fresh squeezed lime, muddled mint, blackberry puree
- Rich Cuban – Bacardi 8, fresh squeezed lime, muddled mint, Roederer Estate Brut
- Diamond Cutter – Don Q Mojito, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, fresh squeezed lime, Chambord
- Ginger Rodgered – Don Q Limon, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, fresh squeezed lime, house-made ginger extract, kiwi puree
- Paid Companion – Johnnie Walker Black, crème de cacoa, Grand Marnier, fresh squeezed lemon, rooibos syrup, cardamom
- Straight to the Point – Tap 357 Canadian maple rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, house-made apple-cinnamon extract, bitter cube cherry vanilla bitters
- The Westie – Redbreast Irish Whiskey, Drambuie, Galliano, fresh lemon
PUNCH (for sharing):
- Cash Money – Sauza Gold, Red Bull, orange juice, Ruffino Prosecco, seasonal berries & fruit
- Bubbly Sex Pot – Ketel One vodka, blackberry puree, Roederer Estate Brut, pineapple juice
- Grape Gorilla – Belvedere vodka, Buddy’s grape soda, white cranberry juice, fresh lemon juice, Roederer Estate Brut
- An Epiphany – Grey Goose La Poire vodka, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, Roederer Estate Brut
- Illuminati – Grey Goose Citron, peach schnapps, agave nectar, white cranberry juice, aloe, house-made ginger syrup
- Bleuphoria – Stoli Blueberi vodka, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, fresh squeezed lime, fresh blueberries
- Behind the Green Door – Grey Goose La Poire vodka, Midori, lemon juice, pineapple juice
- Summer Lovin’ – Stoli Vanil & Grey Goose l’orange, cranberry juice, house-made Earl Grey & rose syrup
- Bloom’n Berries – Bloom Gin, freshly muddled strawberries, squeeze of lime, Ruffino Prosecco
- Wolf in the Woods – Death’s Door gin, Cointreau, white cranberry juice, muddled cucumber
- She Tried to Be Good – Death’s Door gin, Rhubarb Tea organic liqueur, lemonade, fresh raspberries
- The Fitzgerald – Bombay Sapphire Gin, agave nectar, fresh lemon, Angostura bitters
- Truth or Consequences – Jalapeno-Pineapple-infused Sauza Gold, Grand Marnier, torn cilantro, agave nectar, fresh squeezed lime. Served with a coronita
- Tequila Ricky – Sauza Tres Generaciones, fresh squeezed lime, agave nectar
- The Gigolotino – Tres Generaciones Plata, Kinky liqueur, blood orange puree, Roederer Estate Brut, fresh lime, agave nectar
- Sweet Naranja – Sauza Gold, orange juice, Marie Brizard orange curacao, vanilla extract, agave nectar, fresh squeezed lime