World explorers cherish fond memories of the places they have visited – many of which include liquor. For what is liquor, after all, if not a distillation of the very civilization which created it?
The founders of Flying Dutchman Spirits share this sentiment. Like their ancestors who darted across uncharted seas on fluyt ships in search of exotic spices, they love nothing more than taking wing to faraway lands where they can enjoy outstanding spirits.
Today they offer that same cosmopolitan experience to anyone who would join them at their cozy cocktail room in Eden Prairie. But if you would rather have any of Flying Dutchman’s seven libations from one of the hundreds of Twin Cities liquor stores, bars or restaurants which carry them – or take home a cocktail kit, so you can concoct lovely restoratives at your leisure – then owners Brandon Thornton, Marc Tullemans and manager Mackenzie Yurich certainly encourage you to do so.
“We started out with a fair deal of brewing experience, and I studied chemical engineering in college,” said Brandon. “A distiller essentially makes beer. They just make it out of very weird things, like agave and corn, and they then take extra steps to enhance its potency. Once we had perfected the science of distillation, all we had left to do was master its art.
“We handcraft all of our liquors right here in our distillery. Our high-accuracy Hungarian-made Hagyo still gives us total control over each small batch’s character. We source our ingredients locally whenever possible, but to keep our liquors faithful to their countries of origin we also import. Our agave is grown in Jalisco, Mexico, and the sugarcane we use to make rum is shipped in from Columbia.”
My passion for authentic journalism is nearly as great as my thirst for liquor, so with my arm thoroughly untwisted I visited Flying Dutchman Spirits in person. I am accustomed to drinking industrial-grade solvents with Cyrillic warnings printed on their labels. My palate was not prepared for such exquisite liquors.
Flying Dutchman’s popular Mediterráneo Gin is fashioned in the Spanish tradition. Its indescribable interplay of olive, thyme, basil, rosemary and citrus performed the muiñeira on my tongue. Their Nas-dro-via Vodka, brought to life from a mash of Peruvian potato and Minnesotan corn, tastes bright and clean without the faintest hint of sterility. Their Frontera Norte Blue Agave balances hints of pepper, chocolate and fruit on a nearly imperceptible puff of smoke, and their Sailor’s Rantsoen Rum goes down smooth as a furrow in the glassy Caribbean Sea.
I feared to taste more lest I’d forget how to pilot a Jetta. Marc sensed I was in ideal condition for a tour of the cocktail room.
“Two things set Flying Dutchman Spirits apart from other craft distilleries,” said Marc in the same Dutch accent spice traders once carried across the world. “The first is our commitment to creating authentic and internationally inspired spirits. The second is our sizable 4,400 square foot facility and cocktail room which you see before you. Our recent remodel created an intimate setting with comfortable seating for groups of all sizes next to the industrial chic manufacturing area.”
Marc motioned to the distillery itself, dominated by a triple-peaked still with a porthole to heaven in its center. “That is where the magic happens,” Marc continued, “but our patrons add plenty of magic on their own in our lounge, which has a lively speakeasy vibe. Here our guests can enjoy over 50 different seasonal farm-to-table cocktails mixed with our craft spirits, freshly squeezed juices and homegrown garnishes. We host live music on Fridays and Saturdays, as well as trivia nights every Wednesday. Hungry guests can purchase Heggies Pizza, popcorn by The Mad Popper and Nothing Bundt Cakes. And with spacious seating for 100 guests, the Flying Dutchman makes a marvelous destination for any social occasion, private party or corporate event.
“We had to watch our gathering space sit empty for far too long during the pandemic. Thankfully our gracious community kept us afloat during that time by purchasing our cocktail kits to enjoy at home. We prepare these with 375 ml bottles of liquor, the same fine ingredients we keep at our bar, and simple instructions. One kit makes cocktails for eight (or eight cocktails for you) wherever your travels take you.”
If you are looking for a fun night out, please visit Flying Dutchman Spirits at 6801 Flying Cloud Drive. You may also visit flyingdutchmanspirits.com to order cocktail kits online and view their calendar of upcoming events.