At Dampfwerk Distilling in St. Louis Park, MN, they aim to produce European-style spirits with a modern American twist. Looking to history and tradition is just as important as looking to who and what are around you right now, and it’s clear that this mindset has influenced the ways in which Bridgit Loeffelholz has seen herself personally and professionally through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Q: What was it that first got you into cocktails?
Bridgit Loeffelholz: My parents’ cooking: the melding of flavors, group dynamics, and trying a plethora of different wines, beers, and spirits as I came of age.
Q: What new cocktail discoveries are you exploring right now?
BL: My passion in cocktail creation revolves around finding old world recipes and modifying them to fit the need/bill of consumers today.
Q: Why do you think people at home might be intimidated by making cocktails?
BL: The prep. Reading a recipe and thinking that you need to have inventory of each ingredient at your home bar. Substitutions are a thing, and that’s why we have so many delicious riffs on cocktails!
Q: What are some of your favorite cocktails to make at home?
BL: I’m a traditionalist and love a Negroni with bitters and garnish modified to fit the season. Otherwise a spritzer of sorts!
Q: What do you take to a party?
BL: Ha! I’m typically bringing the funky stuff, but that’s expected of me. I rely on my friends to bring the wine, so I usually come prepared with the digestive/late night sippers like an amaro or herbal liqueur.
Q: Where do you think the cocktail and bar industry is headed?
BL: Hmm, that’s a very multifaceted question. Overall, I think it’s headed toward simplification and a focus on supporting local. The industry itself is going to continue to evolve, hopefully to the benefit of those working within the industry. I think that there’ll be a divergence in the cocktail scene; people are itching to get out and have an “experience” and that experience could be the simplest one, so we may see cocktails simplifying and moving away from tiki style with 15 ingredients and garnishes. I also hope that bars open their doors further to small producers. Rising tides float all ships, and supporting your local producers by including their flavors into your trade only furthers the relationship for both!
Q: What has the pandemic taught you?
BL: Is it cliche to say many things? But I think that this pandemic has made me more clear with what I need for myself. Working through these regulations, it’s been heartwarming to see how understanding people can be, but most of it is because I humanized myself. Before COVID I would try to make sure that everything was perfect, even myself. But no one is! Not me, my staff, or those who decide to imbibe in our lounge. Once I made my intentions clear - within my personal life as well as to those who walked through those cocktail doors - that I wanted to keep a safe, comfortable environment, it made it easier to enjoy the experience! Order your favorite drink, wear your mask, and be kind to those that you cross paths with. Really, it’s a mantra that we can all take forward!
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