• Cole L.

Skaalvenn Distillery | Eppa SupraFruta Sangria


Skaalvenn Vodka placed on a tree stump
Skaalvenn Vodka

Locally owned and operated Skaalvenn Distillery has all the sensibilities of a high class, metropolitan cocktail lounge, with the attitude and flavors of homegrown Minnesota magic. Founded by Mary and Tyson, the husband and wife super-duo who don't let adversity stop them. Mary comes from a family of Cambodian refugees who came to the US in 1979. She is a full-time esthetician when she is not doing tastings, HR work, and wearing many other hats at Skaalvenn. Tyson enlisted in the US armed forces and has been serving for over 12 years. When he is not on active duty he is spending most of his time at the distillery doing everything from distilling, to photography, to packing product to send out to the Minnesota market.


Skaalvenn Bourbon being grabbed off a ledge
Skaalvenn Bourbon

Skaalvenn recently opened their new cocktail lounge which is open Thursday through Saturdays. The luxurious interior of the cocktail lounge was inspired by Japanese distilleries that spoke to Tyson and Mary while visiting the country. The space has an atmosphere of elegance and grandeur. Skaalvenn's masterful bartenders are ready to serve you a unique and intriguing cocktail made completely with product from in house. These cocktails pack a delicious taste you won't find anywhere else. While they take walk-ins if space is available, your best bet is to place a reservation through Resy on their website to guarantee your spot.


Skaalvenn Rum in a tree
Skaalvenn Rum

When it comes to the distilling of their product line, Skaalvenn stays true to their Scandinavian roots, while using local grains. Skaalvenn developed their own modern take on Aquavit, bottled at Viking strength (100 proof), this aquavit stands up on its own, with the tasty warmth of caraway, orange peel, and three different types of oak. One of the smoothest rums one can find in Minnesota comes from Skaalvenn, distilled with unrefined cane sugar. This rum is perfect for daiquiris, hurricanes, or any of your favorite rum cocktails.


Skaalvenn Vodka sitting on some rocks by the river
Skaalvenn Vodka

All distilleries need a good, solid vodka. Skaalvenn is no different, their vodka is smooth and crisp, with a nice clean finish. The story of Skaalvenn's staple Vodka started from a craigslist want ad, when they were looking for a wheat supplier. The response to the ad came from Lee's Seed Farm in Benson, Minnesota, and Skaalvenn has been using their wheat to produce their vodka ever since.


Skaalvenn Bourbon in a forest
Skaalvenn Bourbon
 

Eppa SupraFruta Red Sangria In a tree
Eppa SupraFruta Red Sangria

Eppa Sangria is a party in a bottle. This festive and fruity little sangria was crafted by a group of friends whose sole goal was to share their love of a good time with the world.


Eppa SupraFruta Sangria on a tree stump in a forest
Eppa SupraFruta Sangria

EPPA is produced in Hopland, California, which is in Mendocino County and regarded as one of the premier organic regions just North of Napa Valley.


Eppa SupraFruta Red Sangria on a tree stump
Eppa SupraFruta Red Sangria

Certified organic, Eppa uses a blend of super fruit juices including pomegranate, blueberry, acai, and blood orange; creating a deep red color and robust and fruity flavor, plus, with nearly twice as many antioxidants as other red wines, you can feel good about what you’re drinking.


Eppa SupraFruta White Sangria on a tree stump
Eppa SupraFruta White Sangria

Eppa white sangria is made from an organic superfruit blend of mangosteen, peach, mango and blood orange juices. Eppa White has nearly 3x the antioxidants of white wine, which is the result of using these real organic superfruit juices.


Eppa SupraFruta White Sangria
Eppa SupraFruta White Sangria
 










  • Spencer B.

Gracias a Dios Mezcal | Recanati Winery



100% Mexican owned and operated in Oaxaca, Mexico. Gracias a Dios translates to Thank God, a phrase that owners, Pablo López, Enrique Jiménez, Xaime Niembro, and Oscar Hernandez heard throughout their childhood. A deep commitment to family values & Mexican culture underline their approach to producing handmade, ultra-premium quality mezcal and agave gin.


Gracias a Dios Mezcal in an agave plant
Gracias a Dios Mezcal

Gracias a Dios values its people and the environment, employing eco-friendly practices that include water conservation, solar energy, recyclable materials & proudly offering local employees fair wages.


Fruit and Mezcal mixed together to form a cocktail
Cocktail made with Gracias a Dios Espadin

In 2008, Gracias a Dios started as a speak easy mezcal bar in Querétaro, México. The bar sold mezcal produced by different Maestros Mezcaleros from various Oaxaca state regions. After two years of traveling Oaxaca, owners Pablo López, Enrique Jiménez and Xaime Niembro met Oscar Hernández in Matalán. They were blown away by Oscar’s mezcal. In fact, they believed that Oscar’s products were the best mezcal they had ever tasted – Thank GAD!


Espadin Mezcal in agave field
Gracias a Dios Espadin Mezcal

Aside from quality products, their love for mezcal making extends to the environment and their workers. GAD is adamant about eco-friendly practices, which span from water conservation, to solar energy and recyclable materials. Approximately 60% of the water used for production is collected from rain, accumulating to 180,000 liters per year. Moreover, they take pride in working with locals for fair wages. They provide all employees with the 25% above the standard daily salary in Matalán, insurance, hot water and dorms for their workers.


Pechuga Mezcal surrounded by meat and spices
Gracias a Dios Pechuga Mezcal

The first planting of agave was in 2011, followed by production in 2013. Today, the brand produces a wide variety of agave-based products, including traditional, wild agave limited editions, flavored and special editions. This incredible collection is all handmade by Oscar Hernandez (4th generation) and his nephew Milo Jimenez (5th generation).


One of the owners of Gracias a Dios
Agave field at Gracias a Dios

 


The story of the Recanati Winery, a producer of high quality Mediterranean wines, begins with a profound bond with the Land of Israel coupled with a passion for fine wine. With the creation of the winery in 2000, Lenny Recanati's life-long dream to produce truly world-class wines reached fruition.


Wide shot overlooking Israel
Israel, home of Recanati

The Recanati winery is today the sixth largest winery in Israel and its wines can be found in the U.S., the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, and Japan. Located in Israel's Hefer Valley within the Upper Galilee. the newly built Recanati winery obtains its grapes from some of the area's finest high-altitude vineyards, which enjoy a climate similar to that of California's Napa Valley.


Warm days and contrastingly cool nights, together with ideal chalky-gravelly soil conditions and limited rainfall, create an ideal environment in which to nurture these classic varietals. Recanati wines are certified Kosher.


Israel Cab Sauv Wine
Recanati Cabernet Sauvignon
Israel Cab Sauv
Recanati Cab Sauv

 




  • Cole L.

High Heaven Vintners | Gosling's



High Heaven Vintners, based in the beautiful Columbia Valley of Washington State, strives to craft creative and homegrown wines. The vineyards are located in an ideal climate for grape growing, protected by the Cascade Mountains from harsh weather. With a vineyard-first philosophy, High Heaven believes a wine can’t be perfect if the grapes aren’t ideally suited for winemaking. First-class technology and a deep understanding of the area allow the winemakers at High Heaven Vintners to craft beautiful and delicate flavors.


A pristine bottle of High Heaven Cab Sauv
High Heaven Cabernet Sauvignon

Take their Cloud Mountain Chardonnay, for example: best served between 45 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit, with a silky smooth texture and delicious notes of apple, pear, and brioche; the ideal wine for white sauce pastas or salmon. If you prefer a red? Perhaps the Roaming Elk Red Blend: woody, spiced, and deep notes of raspberry and cranberry; perfect for dark chocolate or that steak with plenty of pink in the middle. No matter which side of the color wheel your wine preference lands, High Heaven Vintners offers a mouthwatering array of reds and whites alike, for any occasion.


A High Heaven Riesling in its natural habitat
High Heaven Riesling
A mouth-watering pair of High Heaven wines
High Heaven Wines

 


The world famous Gosling Black Seal Rum has been around for over two hundred years. Founded by the Gosling family after being stuck out at sea for close to three months, they finally settled into St. Georges, Bermuda. The Gosling family has been producing its World Spirit Award winning Black Seal rum since the 1800s.


Gosling's Gold Seal Bermuda Gold Rum
Gosling's Gold Rum

In my opinion, no company has put out two more perfectly paired products, each ideally suited for the other. Between the rich, deep, Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and perfectly spiced Gosling’s Ginger Beer, Gosling’s created a match made in heaven. The two staples of Gosling’s actually make up the national cocktail of Bermuda, the Dark ‘N Stormy. Just drop some ice in a glass, add 4 or 5 ounces of Gosling’s Ginger Beer, top it with 1.5 ounces of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum, add a lime wedge, and you have one of the most delicious cocktails this side of the Atlantic!


Gosling's Bermuda Rum
Gosling's Black and Gold Rums
Black Seal Bermuda Rum Gosling's
Gosling's Bermuda Black Rum