Latin-Minnesotan Margarita, Anyone?

By

Lisa Elbert
Will Blunt
Wecking Ball: Tequila Blanco, Rhubarb Shrub, Bonal, Grapefruit Bitters, and Seltzer
Wecking Ball: Tequila Blanco, Rhubarb Shrub, Bonal, Grapefruit Bitters, and Seltzer

Sip on some shrub at Hola Arepa, where Co-owner Birk Grudem boils and blends Latin flavors into his Minneapolis-based cocktail program. Lucky for the residents of Minne-SNOW-ta, Grudem has found a way to help them escape those seemingly endless, harsh (way, way harsh) winters.

The tequila-based Wecking Ball is built on a classic base, but pulls from Latin and Midwestern ingredients. Grundem starts with a shrub of 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup chopped rhubarb, 1 teaspoon salt, and the zest of 1 orange. He then boils the cépage to break down the rhubarb, and strains through a chinois, and voilà.

Grudem builds the cocktail with 2 ounces blanco tequila, ½ ounce Bonal Gentiane Quina, 1 ounce rhubarb shrub, and 3 dashes grapefruit bitters. Served Collins-style in a Weck canning jar (hence the name), the mixture goes over ice and is finished with soda and a lime wheel. “With our cocktails, food, and atmosphere, we always hope to transport people—hopefully to a palapa on the beach or to a small expat cafe on a hot day,” says Grudem.

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