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Repeal Day 2010

Others may have written about it before me, but this year I thought I would do my part to promote this day of celebration. Repeal Day, otherwise known as December 5th, marks the anniversary of the 21st Amendment to the United States Constitution.

Not everyone went to law school, but some of us know that in January of 1919, the 18th Amendment was ratified prohibiting the sale, possession and consumption of alcohol. Making it illegal may have done more to promote the allure of the cocktail than to squelch it, but it simultaneously destroyed distilleries and microbreweries throughout the nation, not to mention the effect it had on the innovative craftsmen behind the bar. Thirteen years or so later, the 21st Amendment was ratified, repealing our "Noble Experiment". December 5th, 1933 became known as Repeal Day and it is still celebrated to commemorate our legal right to drink alcohol.

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Bittercube, The New Bitters in Town

A few weeks ago I had an opportunity to zip over to the Wine Thief where Bittercube, the award-winnng mixology duo Ira Koplowitz and Nick Kosevich, were presenting their new line of cocktail bitters. It was nice to see Nick in action, as it had been a long time since I had seen him while he was still at the Town Talk Diner. I didn’t figure he would remember me, but I sure remember those cocktails! Of course, this wasn’t a social visit—I was there to try some new Bittercube Bitters. When it comes to cocktail bitters, most people recognize Angostura even if they aren’t sure what to do with it. Better bars might also have Peychaud’s which could mean they know how to make a Sazerac. Next on the list is probably some version

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Spirit tasting and fan clubs

I would hardly call myself a wine expert, and yet I think I know enough to navigate a decent wine list. More important is getting to the point of knowing the flavors you like so you can ask the right questions and get what you want. It's about having confidence in your ability to narrow the choices as opposed to buying a bottle based on its price. But it doesn't come without experience, and the best way that I know to gain valuable knowledge about wine—or any kind of beverage—is to take the time to taste them.

Last week was a busy one for tasting whiskey in the Twin Cities. A few weeks ago, the world saw the release of Maker's 46, the new bourbon whiskey by Maker's Mark. As the bottles were arriving at the local shops, I got word of a Maker's 46 release party being

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The Happy Gnome: Avoiding the crowds at Firkin Fest

Craft Beer at The Happy Gnome

I suppose it's not really a fair review of the Third Annual Firkin Fest held in tents outside The Happy Gnome in St. Paul, because I didn't actually attend. However, I did get pretty close. I had hoped to experience the festival this year after just missing it last year, but by some strange cosmic coincidence I was already planning to meet some friends at The Happy Gnome to simply enjoy some good beer on a Saturday afternoon.

The Happy Gnome has one of the most diverse selections of craft beer anywhere in the Twin Cities. If you are a fan of odd, seasonal microbrews or strong, fruity Belgian ales, this is the place for you. Most drafts are served in their own special glassware and are pulled fresh from one of 70 taps. The fun does not end

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Cheeky Monkey Deli—great food, good beer

While it’s not the same beer-drinking experience as The Happy Gnome across the street where there are dozens of tap beer choices (including several Belgian ales at any given time), the Cheeky Monkey Deli has a good selection of bottles as well as several on draft. The nice thing for me was that they keep their taps clear of Standard American Lagers (that means no Bud, Miller, etc. on tap, folks)! I seriously appreciate a restaurant that has a small but decent beer selection in a time when there is just no excuse for places that have a dozen versions of only one style. I can’t even begin to guess how many times have I asked a server to recite their list of draft beers only to hear, “Bud, Bud Lite, Mich, Mich Lite, Miller

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