I almost never go out to places in my home state of Minnesota that offer great craft cocktails or have a great whiskey selection. Mostly because I live in the outermost ring of suburbs and most of those places are a half hour to forty-five minute drive away into one of the two Downtowns. Plus, we don’t have a great taxi system and I’m too much of a luddite to have an Uber account.
Well, that has changed. A couple months ago a new restaurant opened in Savage, MN called Whiskey Inferno. As a bar, it is a whiskey and craft cocktail bar. As a restaurant, it serves steaks, BBQ, and seafood. Last night was my first visit and it certainly will not be my last.
The atmosphere is relaxing in a dark wood and leather upholstery sort of way. There are Edison bulbs that supply accent light and at least one gas fire to supply ambiance. The whiskey selection is vast and drinks are the focus of the menu. There are two pages of craft cocktails that include riffs on many classics such as the Negroni, Old Fashioned, Whiskey Sour, Sazerac and Toronto cocktails among others. There is a two-column page of bourbon, a page of beer, a page of wines, a page of scotch, a half page of rye, a half page of “other” whiskeys and a page of non-alcoholic drinks. They also have quite a few whiskey flights on the menu, though I was a bit confused by the inclusion of Four Roses Single Barrel in a “Wheated” bourbon flight.
And of course, there is food. Out of the eleven pages in the dinner menu, only two are devoted to food. But I wouldn’t count that as a bad thing. With entrees including five different cuts of steak, ribs, brisket, fried chicken, and a selection of seafood based dishes there is something for everyone. Well, everyone who will eat meat that is. I didn’t notice a vegetarian selection as even the salads had egg or seafood on them.
So enough about what we could have had, what about what we actually did have? To start, my wife and I each ordered a cocktail. My wife had a Smoked Manhattan made with Maker’s Private Select. It arrived in a smoke-filled box emblazoned with the Maker’s logo. It was a pretty cool presentation and, since the snow kept a lot of customers home, many surrounding customers were enticed to inspect the box on its way back to the bar. I had a barrel-aged riff on the Toronto cocktail which they call the End of the Line. Both were delicious and their remnants paired well with our entrees. For food, my wife had cornbread and a cup of Texas chili which she said was better than her two previous favorite chilis (her own and Silver Dollar). I had their fried chicken with garlic mashed potatoes and smoked gouda mac and cheese. The fried chicken was delicious and the sides were very good. Prior to leaving we each had a pour off of their bourbon list. My wife had Blanton’s while I had a pour of their private barrel of Old Forester. We were asked “would you like those neat?” which is much nicer than having to request it that way. Neat pours were served in Glencairn glasses with the option of one or two ounce pours.
I had a great time at Whiskey Inferno. Though this was my first visit, I will certainly be back. The food was great and I can’t wait to try some of the other entrees. And I seriously can’t wait to work my way through the cocktail menu.
Whiskey Inferno is online at: WhiskeyInferno.com
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