Cocktail culture comes to Rochester - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Cocktail culture comes to Rochester

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -- For years classic cocktails like the Negroni, Old Fashioned or Rob Roy have been considered your grandfather's drinks.

But now cocktail culture is back in a big way with bartenders across the country offering long-lost prohibition era recipes and unique takes on old favorites.

We got the first look inside a new bar bringing that to Rochester.

Aynsley Jones and his team are putting the final touches on the Doggery, an underground speakeasy on Historic Third, and it's not like anything we've seen in Rochester. So we got a one-on-one lesson on what it's all about.

There are plenty of unique bottles behind the bar at the Doggery, but there are a few things you won't see.

"No citrus vodkas or flavored liqueurs," Jones said.

That's because for a new group of cocktail connoisseurs, it's about taking as much care with your drink as you would with your meal.

"A craft cocktail has fresh ingredients and is just a simple balanced cocktail," Jones said.

And that care goes down to every last step -- small batch spirits, fresh squeezed citrus, specialty bitters -- even the ice is different

But why all the effort?

"The liquid culture is changing," Jones said. "People want to know what they're drinking. They want to try good things."

It's like making the change from Bud-light to craft microbrews, but with Boston shakers, jiggers, eye droppers, and Hawthorne strainers, and Jones' thinks Rochester is ready for the basement bar with a different kind of charm.

"I think there's enough culture, enough people in this town that are looking for a new experience and not just the same old bar scene," Jones said.

If you're just getting started in the world of craft cocktails and not quite ready to sample Jones's favorite Old Fashioned, he recommends maybe starting with a name you recognize for a taste you might not.

"A Daiquiri would be a good way to start," Jones said. "Just rum, simple syrup, lime juice. Simple drink. Everyone thinks it has to be blended or all this other stuff, but that not how it's intended to be made."

The Doggery is set to open on Monday, Sept. 23.

Jones has his menu set up, and says he's willing to guide cocktail newbies into the world of craft creations.

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