Mixing it up: the five best cocktails downtown

SELENA YAKABE Lifestyles Editor

As part of a food and alcohol series, I and other reporters will test out various foods and beverages to let you know which five we think are the best. 

To some extent, this is really just an excuse for us to stuff our faces and get a little buzzed. 

This week, I decided to find the strangest mixed drinks that downtown Brookings has to offer, and that led me to one place: The Old Market. 

I sat down with Laura Johnson, the general manager for The Old Market, and discussed some of the bizarre mixed drinks they offer. 

“A lot of the drinks, people like them, so we just kept them over the years,” Johnson said. “We try to add new ones every once in awhile … it’s fun to come up with something weird and be like ‘that’s actually good.’”

Though only five strange beverages are included in this edition, The Old Market offers a variety of other mixed beverages as well as seasonal mixed drinks, so be sure to check them out. 

All the drinks featured in this column, in my opinion, don’t have an overwhelming taste of alcohol, so they go down pretty smooth. But don’t let that fool you because they definitely do have a lot of alcohol in them (which is just something to keep in mind).

St. Basil

A signature drink of The Old Market, St. Basil is one of the more popular mixed drinks on the menu. The cocktail includes basil, simple sugar, gin and grapefruit juice. This has been around since the restaurant’s beginning in 2011.

Johnson’s take: “It’s a really savory cocktail. A lot of times martinis tend to be sweet, and it’s bright green which kind of catches people.”

My take: Don’t get me wrong, I love basil in my food. But when I first heard of the 

combination of basil, gin and grapefruit juice, I did not expect great things. Surprisingly, this drink was very tasty and refreshing — almost earthy (but in a good way), and that’s saying something because I hate gin. It’s definitely worth giving a try.


A dessert drink through and through. This drink features marshmallow vodka, creme de cocoa, bailey’s and even a roasted marshmallow on top.

Johnson’s take: “Whenever someone orders it, you can smell toasted marshmallow throughout the entire bar.”

My take: I am a big fan of s’mores, and this was probably my favorite out of all the 

mixed drinks. But forewarning, it has a little more of an alcohol kick than the others, so it will keep you warm in the winter. It’s perfectly creamy, and the roasted marshmallow was a very nice touch, which includes a mini blowtorch show.

Key Lime Pie

Another dessert beverage, this drink offers a refreshing combination of vanilla vodka, Triple Sec, pineapple juice, lime juice and cream.

Johnson’s take: “It’s just so refreshing — lime juice and pineapple juice. It’s a really good mix. I love key lime pie.”

My take: A great summertime drink. Words I would use to describe this drink: milky, frothy, creamy and not overly boozy. It’s one of those dessert drinks you sip out on the patio at sunset during the summertime.

East of the River

The only mixed drink on the list that isn’t a “marketini,” this libation includes gin, pineapple juice and Moscato. The drink can also be spiced up with your choice of raspberry, strawberry or cherry grenadine.

Johnson’s take: “I like it because you can add your own flavor to it or you can just do it as is.”

My take: I tried the classic variation (with no added flavor) of this beverage. I am by no means a food or drink expert, so the only thing I can say is that this drink has a sort of “zing” to it — it’s tangy. Just try it and you’ll know what I mean.

Caramel Appletini

Last, but not least, the third dessert marketini includes Apple Pucker, Butterscotch Schnapps and caramel sauce.

Johnson’s take: “[This] is exactly what it sounds like. If you like sour apple, that’s a good one.”

My take: Every caramel lover’s dream. This is basically the perfect combination of sour apple and caramel. With fall right around the corner, this is the perfect “marketini” for the season.