The Art of the Cocktail

Mixology Workshop with Jesse Held



The Art of the Cocktail


by Kevin Masse

Thank you to Hotel Ivy & Bar Constantine for sponsoring this article - all opinions are our own!

Photo by Daniel Resnick

When we found ourselves headed to Minneapolis for a weekend as a team, we knew we had to dive head first into the city and find everything there was to eat, drink and see. We also wanted to spend as much time with our community as possible. What better way to accomplish this than by hosting a cocktail workshop with one of the best Mixologists in the Minneapolis area, Jesse Held at Bar Constantine!

Left to right: Jesse Held & Jesse Reilly (Photo by Daniel Resnick)
Nestled beneath the Hotel Ivy, Constantine actually occupies the sub floor of the historic tower that Ivy was built around. With a varied history, the tower was once a church and that theme has been carried throughout the space - from the pulpit in the front to the vintage church pews & the organ installation in the back - the ambiance is dark, mysterious and gorgeous.
The Organ Wall (Photo by Kevin Masse)
To celebrate our time in town we gathered a handful of our close friends for an evening that showcased the basics of making good cocktails and uncovered some of the mystery behind how to create them at home. For two hours, we and our guests had the chance to watch Jesse and his team create their signature classics and participate in what he called “the circle of trust” where no question was too stupid. He demystified some basics like why you strain a cocktail through a fine mesh strainer - which creates a cocktail that will not continue to dilute as the ice melts - it also removes small particles of fruit and herbs from any muddling that might have been done.
Photo by Daniel Resnick
The Recipes:

Constantine Signature Old Fashioned
Makes 1 Cocktail
2 ounces Knob Creek Bourbon,
1/4 ounce Earl Giles Piloncillo,
dash of Bittercube Orange,
dash of Bitterman Mole
dash of Earl Giles Sarsaparilla
Method: Combine all ingredients in a cocktail mixer with ice & stir briskly until chilled. Strain into a pre-chilled cocktail class with 1 large ice cube and garnish with a maraschino cherry and a slice of orange zest.

Classic Gimlet
Makes 1 Cocktail
1.5 ounces of Gordon's Gin or Pinnacle Vodka
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
3/4 ounce Simple Syrup
Method: Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake briskly for 2-3 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove all ice particles into a chilled coupe glass.

Classic Margarita
Makes 1 Cocktail
1.5 ounces Corazon Tequila,
3/4 ounce dry orange Curacao,
3/4 ounce lime juice,
1/4 ounce simple syrup
Method: Combine all ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake briskly for 2-3 minutes - transfer to a salt rimmed glass and serve (pro tip: rim only half the glass with salt - allows for those who do not want salt to avoid it!)
About Jesse Held: A veteran barkeeper of over 25 years, dad, and husband, Jesse commits himself to the craft of bartending by educating the next generation of bar professionals. Jesse is devoted to passing along the knowledge, experience, and passion necessary to succeed. Using his experience from being involved with some of the most influential and innovative cocktail bar programs in Minneapolis, including Town Talk Diner, Marvel Bar, Eat Street Social, Parlour Bar and Constantine, he has built his own standard-setting cocktail and restaurant bars. Sacrifice, hard work, and strong passion for the craft of bartending has led to many accolades and accomplishments over his lengthy career. None are more important than creating two platforms for all bartenders to benefit from: the Iron Bartender Championship and the Northstar Bartenders Guild.