Cupid’s New Pad for Vodka Lovers
Valentine Distilling Co. sets stage for a spirited time.
Before there was the Valentine Distilling Co. cocktail bar, there was the creation of Valentine Vodka. Founder Rifino Valentine has handcrafted some world-class vodka that, in truth, has stolen this reporter’s heart.
“About eight years ago, when I really started working on this company, I spent four years developing the recipe and the brand,” said Valentine, who asked aloud, “‘Why can’t we make a world-class vodka in the U.S.?’”
The cocktail bar opened its doors last May offering up some great cocktails featuring fresh ingredients and tantalizing vodka infusions. We were told that all the ingredients used in the infusions and drinks are fresh from the farmers market — plus they grow herbs onsite. The atmosphere is warm and intimate with plush couches, dark wood high- and low-top tables and bar seating.
“This is a distillery that happens to have a cocktail bar attached to it,” Valentine points out. “The cool thing about it is that you can come here and experience the whole handcrafting liquor process, and have a real handcrafted cocktail at the same time.”
The flavor infusions featured on the night we went included include apple cinnamon, cucumber, spiced pear, cherry, pineapple and strawberry.
Two of its signature cocktails include the “Cucumber Chill” and the “Detroit Dirty.” The former is made with the cucumber infused vodka, muddled cane sugar, lime and fresh mint topped with soda.
The latter is a spin on the “dirty” martini where they use pickle instead of olive brine, with the juice imported from our own backyard courtesy of McClure’s pickles, and garnish with a piece of pickle.
For a unique evening at a local distillery — and a killer cocktail — Valentine Vodka is the place to be.
Bar Fly Hit Parade
• On The Spot Impression: “I liked the music they were playing, the whole atmosphere of the building with the dim shadowy lighting and the rustic bricks,” says Kris Bischak of Royal Oak.
• Drink Cost: Most cosktails cost between $6 and $9 per drink.
• Clientele: Early 20s and up. It’s a classy joint and most of the clientele was semi-dressed up on the night we went. Nice jeans: Yes. Ripped jeans: No.
• Music: Everything from alternative to soul.
• Bar Appeal: Great for a date. Not too loud but just enough background noise.
• Accessibility: Metered street parking.
• Queue Factor: Arrive early if you want a seat. After 9 p.m. the place was packed until last call.
• Location and Hours: 161 Vester, Ferndale (there is no sign out front, just a red light and an address plaque); (248) 629-9951; Wednesday – Saturday
4:30 p.m. – 2 a.m.