by Joy Summers, Star Tribune
The only reason this drink order was placed was at the urging of Elusive's co-owners Lee Egbert and Jeff Rogers; an icy Minnesota night hardly had me in a tropical mood. But I was won over by their naked enthusiasm.
This was a drink that's been nagging at the back of Rogers' creative brain for years as he tried to unlock a true banana flavor. Most drinks and spirits that purport banana flavor end up tasting cloyingly artificial. Now, I was the weird kid that reached for the bottom of the Popsicle box for the yellow-flavored discards, and I've been known to enjoy the oblong Runts. But it just wasn't a flavor I wanted in my grown-up glass.
After I ordered, both men took time to offer me lengthy, astute explanations of the chemistry involved in extracting actual banana flavor — using the acids in green bananas and the honey sweetness of the too-ripe-for-banana-bread fruit. This drink is a peek behind the curtain of what these two are doing at their cocktail lounge that's also a bit of a lab, where they dig deep and share knowledge about spirits and the craft of distilling.
For the drink ($13), it was indeed true banana flavor: alternately bright and caramelly, structured and an easy-sipper. Definitely a top-banana cocktail. (Joy Summers)
1620 Central Av. NE., Suite 152/Dock 10, Mpls., 612-354-3021; dashfire.us/cocktailroom