A sip of whiskey, a taste of gin, and 40 cupcake flavors. Let’s head to Northfield, MN for my last foodie stop on the Minne-Roadtrip.
Foodie Stops on the Minne-Roadtrip in Northfield
I will fully admit. I’m smitten with people who not only grow up in small towns but decide to live there, start a business and invest themselves in the community. So, I think it’s safe to say when my local guide took me to Loon Liquors distillery owned and operated by Simeon Rossi and Mark Schiller―who were Northfield high school friends―I was hooked.
For first-timers, Loon Liquors might be a little hard to find as it’s in a business warehouse type of building. Once you see the sign outside (see pic), enter through the doors behind it and follow the corridor until you find the distillery and cocktail room. What I liked about their location is that the cocktail area is in their distillery space, which means you can see their copper still, grain silos, and everything else it takes to run a distillery. And, if Rossi and Schiller are there and not busy working their libation magic, they’ll most likely be happy to chat.
The cocktail space exudes warmth and craftiness with bar and table seating. Guests can sit and chat, play board games, bring their kids, and if you get hungry, they do have a few menu items.
Now, let’s talk drinks. If you are a whiskey lover, or even if you are not, the Loonshine Ginger is a must. In my younger years, I used to drink whiskey and have since then sworn myself off. But, when I heard they made a concoction with their whiskey and house-made ginger ale, I had to have a taste. It was smooth, gingery, fizzy, and very drinkable.
The drinks we ordered that night were the Rosemary Fitzgerald and the Strawberry Pineapple Gin Fizz. Both are made with their Metropologin, which you can probably guess is their gin. I was pleasantly surprised by the very light pine flavor, which is usually heavy-handed in most gins. The reason theirs is lighter has to do with when they infuse the botanicals during the process of distilling. The result―a very smooth gin with a fuller floral bouquet.
Cool fact #1: In November 2013, Rossie and Schiller were the only people in “Southern Minnesota to receive Federal permission to produce spirits in over 100 years.”
Cool fact #2: In 2014, Loonshine won the silver medal in the light whiskey category at the Washington Cup Spirits Competition.
Where: 1325 Armstrong Road, Suite 165 Northfield, MN 55057
What: Whiskey, Gin, and house-made non-alcoholic drinks like ginger ale and root beer, and a handful of small plate fare.
Hours: Thursday to Friday 4 p.m. to 12 a.m., and Saturday from 2 p.m. to 12 a.m.
“There is nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with cupcakes.”
~Wise words on the wall at CakeWalk~
By the end of my Minne-Roadtrip, I didn’t think I could eat another morsel, but with 40 cupcake choices at CakeWalk like Black Velvet, Raspberry Mascarpone, Chocolate Caramel Mocha it’s a good thing I always make room for dessert. What did I choose? Blueberry Streusel. The cake is vanilla bean and filled with blueberry. The top had a cheesecake icing and a sprinkling of cinnamon streusel. The cupcake had a light, almost airy texture, which reminded me a little bit of angel food cake, and a sweet almond flavor, which is basically all of my favorite things.
Where: 303 Division Street, Northfield, MN 55057
What: Cupcakes, Cookies, Tarts, Desert Bars, Cakes, Pastries
Hours: Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. 2 p.m.
Travel Tip: Northfield is a 41-minute drive from the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport.
What’s Next on the Minne-Roadtrip?
There is more to come from my Minne-Roadtrip travels, like visiting a historic bank designed by the famous Louis H. Sullivan, SUP’ing down the Cannon River and touring the last bank the Jesse James gang robbed. Along the way, I’ll drink healing water, play hammerschlagen, sleep in a historic hotel, and make other foodie stops. I hope you’ll swing back by to check out my small town travels.