On the Wednesday before the 4th of July, in the slightly secluded “back room” of Rosey’s Bistro and Bar, a Whiskey and Wine Bar popped up almost without notification.
The small but comfortable 20 seat space features exposed brick, both painted and unpainted, and is augmented with filled in doorways and adorned with prohibition-era photographs. The bar shelving is simply made from repurposed wood and the bar top itself appears to be of the same style and appropriate for the tone of the room: simple, functional, and classy without being flashy.
While the black curtains that were half opened at both entrances give it a sort of illicit “speakeasy” vibe, the drink menu features wines from the Rosey’s Bistro wine list, in addition to its central focus: expertly crafted cocktails from one of the region’s premier mixologists, Elijah Larson.
And while the room may have some of that prohibition vibe to it, the drinks served are most certainly not the sugary sweet concoctions that buried the gut rot spirits of the old days. The menu features quality beverages and a focus on making your cocktail an experience in a glass.
For cocktail aficionados, like myself, all of the details that really matter in a top notch cocktail bar are readily apparent from the moment you sit at the bar. Customers will more than likely first take note of the vast selection of American whiskey that ranges from soft and smooth bourbons that are perfect for sipping neat or with a splash of water, to 100+ proof selections that are ideal for creating spirit-forward cocktails.
They also offer a handful of Scotch options, aged rums, tequilas, cremas, aperitifs and gins, as well as a couple of vodka options.
My discerning eyes always take note when mixologists use only fresh citrus and housemade ingredients, and Elijah knows how to do this better than most anyone in town. A close look quickly reveals a wide array of housemade simple syrups, mister bottles for proper infusion of aromatics, vessels filled with freshly squeezed citrus juice, and dropper bottles of bitters.
Bitters in droppers are absolutely essential for not only proper consistency of flavor but in the skilled hands of a professional like Elijah, very useful for attractive and aromatic garnishing.
There are several things that are intentionally absent from their offerings and normally I wouldn’t make note of what an establishment doesn’t have for ingredients, but in this case it is worth mentioning. What immediately caught my eye was the absence of flavored vodkas or sugary schnapps and as previously mentioned, this is completely intentional and means that any flavoring added to the cocktails is done through the use of bitters, fresh juice, or by doing true flavor infusions with the base spirits. House made syrups and fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice means you will also not find any corn syrup-based bar syrup or sour mix from a gun.
All of these very simple but important details are often overlooked by many local establishments but at Rosey’s Whiskey and Wine bar, it’s these details that make your drink experience exceptional and a great example of why Elijah was most certainly the best choice for this style of cocktail bar.
Aside from an incredible cocktail, customers are also already heading to Rosey’s Whiskey and Wine Room for instruction and inspiration. During my second visit last week, there were some adventurous cocktail enthusiasts picking his brain for tips, recipes, and opinions on ingredients.
As someone who enjoys educating his customers, Elijah was more than happy to oblige them with insider info and helpful hints. “I want to get people excited about the idea of asking their bartender about the drinks they are interested in, and I enjoy sharing knowledge with them,” he says.
He also is up for the challenge of recreating drinks, regardless of where they were first enjoyed, and revels in the opportunity to mix up the menu and feature new drinks every weekend.
The first of last week’s feature drinks that he sat in front of me was the Old Grand Dad sour, a New York style sour with a blend of Syrah and Cabernet floated over the fresh lemon juice. The egg white foam was garnished with a rosé that was drawn by using the aforementioned dropper bottle and a toothpick. The tannins of the red wines together in this sour added a complexity and depth while augmenting the mouthfeel in a pleasing way that seemed to soften the bite of the fresh citrus.
The second feature drink was a deliciously simple gin and tonic made with Opihr gin and a housemade rosemary simple syrup and served “sangria style” in a wide-mouth wineglass. The rosemary and fresh citrus juice mingled perfectly with the notable spiciness of the gin and the fairly heavy orange citrus notes in the gin sat comfortably in the backseat as the botanicals and aromatics took me for a ride. Nearly paper-thin slices of lime were sliced off for each drink ordered and carefully slid into the glass with a tweezers, before a sprig of fresh rosemary is used to finish the garnish.
Elijah’s focus on the details that matter has continued in even the most simple garnishes and though he served it with a straw, he kindly suggested I consider drinking it without, so that the wine glass he chose to serve in delivered a robust nose that really drew me into the drink.
Rosey’s Whiskey and Wine Room is now open Wednesday through Saturdays from 4pm to midnight. Starting out with just the 20 seat main level room, there is a possibility of expanding into the upstairs area as well as expanding days of operation.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
Rosey’s Whiskey and Wine Room
212 Broadway N, Fargo
4pm to midnight, Wednesday through Saturday
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