Food & Drink :: A cure for the winter funk

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December 20, 2010
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie
Maybe you’re suffering from the post-blizzard blues, bummed about the Dome’s deflation and need a little nudging to get into the holiday spirit.

The dazzling lights of the Holidazzle might do the trick or a shopping spree on Nicollet Mall. Perhaps something to warm the belly is the best bet on a cold, dark December night to get you out of your Scrooge-like winter malaise.

Nothing does the trick like a nice shot of whisky. You’ve got plenty of options in that department if you find your way to the new Whisky Park in the old Lodge bar at 15 S. 5th St. (Note: the bar has dropped the “e” on whisky to conform to the Scottish and Canadian spelling.)

Whisky Park reportedly has the largest selection of whiskies in the city.

The stuffed animal heads are gone from the Lodge bar days. Instead, a Johnny Cash portrait with the legendary rocker flipping off the camera adorns the wall along with a poster of country music legend Willie Nelson. If you’re a sports fanatic, there are TVs near the bar tuned to football and a giant screen in the back of the bar to watch games.

Gene Suh of the Lyndale Tap House is behind the whisky joint, which opened in late October. On a recent visit for happy hour, the bar was quiet and peaceful — a sharp contrast to the scene on the weekends when a mechanical bull entertains a rowdier crowd more typical for the Downtown club scene.

Some of the whisky cocktail options sound mischievous: Ring of Fire (a shot of Jack Daniel’s mixed with tobacco sauce for $6), the Dolly-Would (Southern Comfort, Dekuyper Peachtree, orange juice and a little bit of ginger ale for $7) and the Bull Rider (Jim Beam Red Stag, Red Bull, orange juice and a splash of grenadine for $8).

I went for a more classic cocktail without a dangerous moniker — the Manhatten — and ordered a couple of delicious tacos (pulled pork and chicken).

Next time I’m going to pay tribute to Cash and order one of the bar’s specialty drinks: The Folsom Prison Blues. The $8 cocktail is a blend of Sauza Blanco Tequila, Blue Curacao, sweet-n-sour and Triple Sec. Then I’ll close my eyes and take an imaginary vacation to Mexico.

Whisky Park 
//  15 S. 5th St.  //  545-5235  //
Hours: Wednesday–Friday: 4 p.m.–2 a.m.; Saturday, 7 p.m.–2 a.m.