Tracker Pixel for Entry

2015 Cocktail Showdown

by Sabrina Hornung | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Cocktail Showdown | October 14th, 2015

Usher's House, Mezzaluna and Boiler Room are Week 1 visits


It’s the dawn of the seventh annual HPR cocktail showdown. With at least 30 participating bars seeking the same goal and asking the same question: Who makes the best drink in town? Where the drinks are stiff and the competition is stiffer. Three fearless judges enter the ring judging one shot and one cocktail at each establishment rating them 1-10 in three categories: presentation, flavor and creativity. It’s a tough job but someone has to do it.

During week one we visited Andrew Hardy at Usher’s House, Todd Snelling at Mezzaluna and Davin Henrik with Nick Harr at The Boiler Room and this is what we were presented with.

Usher’s House

Usher’s house is located at 700 1st Ave. N in Moorhead in a beautiful WPA-era stonework building along the mighty Red River. Usher’s not only features one of the area’s most picturesque patios but also utilizes two separate unique dining areas. Their menu features not only dinner options but also pub fare including shepherd's pie, fish and chips, an array of appetizers and many other options. Their cocktail menu exhibits a collection of signature and seasonal cocktails, signature martinis and a mighty fine wine list.

The shot: The Notorious

The creator: Andrew Hardy

The Notorious gets its name for the Dublin-born MMA fighter Conor McGregor who is also known as The Notorious. The shot contains Pernod absinthe, Drambuie, Frangelico, Chambord and orange juice, and had a pleasant anise heavy aroma. Hardy’s shot lives up to its name because after a few it’s sure to knock you out.

The Drink: LaLaurie

The Creator: Andrew Hardy

The LaLaurie was named after the New Orleans-born socialite cum serial killer and sadist Delphine LaLaurie. If the name sounds familiar, she was portrayed by Kathy Bates in the third season of the television show “American Horror Story.”

This cocktail was inspired by a visit to New Orleans while Hardy was on his honeymoon. For this smoky classic cocktail, Hardy used a smoking gun and filled a decanter with hickory smoke for a more pronounced flavor. The overall preparation was a treat in itself to watch. The cocktail utilized orange juice squeezed before our eyes, Chartreuse, Patron, clove syrup, honey, angostura bitters and a “shrub” created by Hardy.

A shrub is an acidulated beverage and originated prior to the use of refrigeration. It was a way of preserving fruit long after it had been picked. Hardy’s shrub contains blackberries, sugar and apple infused in a cider vinegar. We must also add that it is garnished with a roasted pear to enhance the smokiness.

Mezzaluna

Mezzaluna is located at 309 Roberts St. N. They boast fine artisan cocktails and fare. They feature both a dining menu and a superb list of Alley Fare for both late night and happy hour specials, featuring their fine hand-ground burgers, baked brie, savory soup and more. The building itself has a fine urban aesthetic in which you can enter from the street or alley. The decor is classic yet contemporary with its signature clamshell booths. Be sure to check out their signature cocktails and impressive wine list.

The shot: Ala Louisiana

The creator: Taylor Snelling

Ala Louisiana was inspired by the Sazerac, which some claim is America’s oldest-known cocktail. The main ingredient is Bulleit rye. Add angostura bitters, Peychaud’s bitters and a theatrical absinthe flambe flourish that will leave fellow barflies open mouthed and awed. The name came from the origins of the main ingredient, Bulleit rye ala New Orleans, La.

The Drink: Nectar d’or

The Creator: Taylor Snelling

The name of Nectar d’or came from the gold coloration and palette-pleasing sweetness and also serves as a play on the use of a honey-based simple syrup. The drink contains Opihr (a spiced oriental gin), Licor 43 (a Spanish liqueur with hints of citrus and vanilla), Benedictine, basil, yuzu puree, honey simple syrup and a chartreuse rinse and a basil garnish. This particular cocktail was inspired by “The bee’s knees,” a cocktail that is one of the house’s signature cocktails. Nectar d’or is served in a coupee glass to prevent dilution.

The Boiler Room

The Boiler Room is located at 210 N Broadway. Whether you enter through the front or back alley, you’re getting to the bottom of Broadway. If you opt to enter through the alley the patio is definitely worth noting in the warmer months. The Boiler Room has an extensive menu starting with breakfast and ending at late night. The drink menus are equally impressive and the beer list is as long as the wine list, and do we dare mention the roster of signature cocktails?

The Shot: The Midorable

The Creator: Nick Harr

The Midorable came about when Harr was experimenting with the melon-flavored liqueur Midori. The Midorable contains Cock n’ Bull cherry ginger beer, Skinos (a Mediterranean aperitif), lemon juice and cranberry juice. The shot is served in a 4 oz cocktail glass and is a shot to sip on. It is a layered shot and the Midori sinks to the bottom -- not only is it sweet-tart-n-tasty but it’s cute too. Hence the name.

The drink: Bizon Refresher

The creator: Davin Henrik

The Bizon Refresher pays homage to our hometown heroes … the Bison. It contains 2 Docks vodka, Midori, lemon juice, lime juice, simple syrup, mango syrup and a shot of water to smooth out the syrup. It is garnished with an oh-so-slightly smoked basil leaf to add a bit of aroma and is served in a tall glass. It lives up to its name with the classic green and gold coloration and serves as Henrik’s take on the classic mojito.

Recently in:

AMHERST, SOUTH DAKOTA – Four days before TransCanada anticipated obtaining permits for the Keystone XL project, the company’s older pipeline leaked, spilling more than 210,000 gallons of Canadian crude oil into the South Dakota…

The Transgender Day of Remembrance memorializes the trans individuals who have lost their lives due to violence this year. It is a day where we read their names and remember them—not how they died, but how they lived. This is also…

Thursday, November 16, 7-9pmUnglued, 408 Broadway N, FargoProof Artisan Distillers and Unglued present a craft party with four distinct projects and help from artists Ashley from AENDEE and Nicole Rae, not to mention a special…

“The experience of all ages has proved that the people constantly give away their liberties.” - John Adams“Man’s dishonesty with himself is his greatest enemy. When he makes a mistake, his memory admits, ‘I have done…

The thoughts and prayers of politicians will finally be answeredWe have had 307 mass shootings (four kills or more) so far in 2017, including the last one in Sutherland Springs, Texas, where 26 mortals attending church, aged 18…

For the third week in a row, our panel of judges were out on the town with a thirst for cocktails and a focus on presentation, flavor, and creativity. This week’s adventures took us to a couple of hotspots in south Fargo, as the…

Colder weather, changing leaves, pumpkin spice and more are some of the few things that come to mind when many think of fall. But fall is about much more than sugary lattes and scarves, and you can fully indulge in fall flavors at…

I’m told that there is nothing quite like a live Green Jelly show, where anarchy and foam puppets reign. So perhaps it’s in the spirit of the upcoming show that my intended interview with the mastermind and vocalist behind the…

On Tuesday, November 14 at 7pm, the Fargo Theatre hosted a screening of “The Mission of Herman Stern,” a feature-length documentary chronicling the remarkable humanitarian efforts of the North Dakota businessman and founder, in…

Would you like to escape your stressful daily life with a relaxing arts event? Do you like to meet with old friends and make new ones? Or maybe you would like to start your Christmas and Holiday shopping early. FMVA has the event…

Ted Larson introduced me to Chris Jacobs one evening at Weld Hall in the late 1980s. I was in high school then, but Chris recognized fellow film fanatics, and we would chat a little bit each week. I learned quickly that he loved…

Humor

​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through…

Believe it or not, “The Holidays” are upon us. If you’ve been to Target lately, and I know you have, you may have noticed that the Christmahanakwanzika stuff is already up (if you’re unsure of that term, Google it).In fact,…

Essential oils. They are all the buzz lately. It seems everyone has heard of them or is purchasing them. Some people know how to use them; others are just interested in the wonder of their complex scents.Essential oils are as…

Live and Learn

​The other shoe

by HPR Contributor

By Elizabeth Nawrotnawrot@mnstate.eduI look up from my hotel lobby breakfast astonished to see a framed print of Wassily Kandinsky's "Mit und Gegen,” a masterpiece of color and composition that just happens to be my favorite…

By Anthony Paul [Editor’s note: This piece contains language that some readers may find offensive]It has been all over social media and the news lately, how our president and commander-in-chief called and spoke with one of these…