People generally associate premium vodka with distillers in Poland, Russia, or Sweden. But Mastermind Vodka is changing this preconception with a fine American vodka that’s truly local.
In a custom-designed still that resembles a giant martini glass, they mix small batches of the locally grown grains with water purified by a filtration system they designed themselves. The result is a clean, crisp drink that won a gold medal in the 2012 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. The emphasis on local sourcing extends beyond the liquor as well, with nearby manufacturers supplying the glass bottles and obliging townies offering to taste-test each fresh batch.
Grant's Farm has been home to two titans of the US?one a general and president, the other a brewer who forever changed America's bar scene. The first of these was the farm's namesake, President Ulysses S. Grant, who in 1885 built a four-room cabin, needing only a few days, the help of some loyal friends, and an '80s-style montage. After a few transitional owners, August Busch Sr. bought the farm in 1907 and had that same cabin restored to its original condition.
While visitors to Grant Farm can still view that historic cabin today, the grounds have grown into much, much more. More than 280 acres host over 900 animals from 100 unique species, one of which has starred in commercials for decades: the Budweiser Clydesdales. A behind the scenes tour of the Clydesdale Stables reveals more than 50 of these stallions, from weanlings to full-grown, six-foot-tall equines. Meanwhile, Zebras, Black Buck Antelope, and other exotic animals roam across Deer Park, and Tier Garten hosts interactive elephant shows and goat feedings.
Back indoors, the bauernhof (farmstead) stands as a 19th-century relic with antique stables and carriages. It also houses non-antique bartenders, who pour complimentary samples for of-age visitors. They can also point families to more complete dining locations, including Grant's Farm Deli.
The modern flourishes on Copia's menu are globally-inspired but grounded by an American culinary tradition. Brought to you by chef Zach Fiorimondo and property director Derrick Collquett, dishes such as chilies and champagne-goat-cheese cream take off from Midwestern classics, such as slow-roasted rotisserie chicken, house-smoked trout, and pork-rib chops.
Aided by a wine market whose bottles pour into the dining room at retail price, the downtown eatery aims to shuttle city dwellers directly into wine country with 18,000 square feet of exposed brick walls, wood-beam ceilings, and white tablecloths. Elsewhere within the rambling complex, natural light pours into an atrium garden, a glass waterfall neatly partitions off the bar to prevent diners from impulsively ordering every dish and drink they see, and stainless-steel vats age several of Copia's own wines. Much missed after a fire shuttered its initial incarnation, Copia was roundly welcomed back onto the St. Louis scene in 2010: among other praise, St. Louis Magazine called its calamari "as crispy-crunchy delectable as any seafood you?ll find in a New England clam shack" and its smoked ribs "the best upscale version of barbecue in the area."
At Pottery Hollow, kids and adults alike find inspiration to create ceramic works of art from a fanciful story about a potter in need of an apprentice to help him and his fairy friends adorn ceramic mugs, platters, and knickknacks with colorful paint. Guests enter the potter's enchanted hollow?complete with twisted tree trunks and brightly colored chairs?to work on the unpainted pieces stored deep beneath the forest. While guests create their masterpieces, staffers keep them supplied with paints and brushes and take finished pieces to be baked in the kiln.
In addition to walk-in sessions, Pottery Hollow's three locations host parties and events such as mommy-and-me sessions, bridal showers, and corporate events. And on Friday nights until 9 p.m., ladies can create beautiful works of art while sipping on their favorite BYOB drinks. Staffers also craft custom pieces in one to two weeks, which can be given as gifts, kept as future heirlooms, or offered as sacrifices to the home-decor gods.
Within a historic Victorian-era house built in 1863, a friendly staff, an amiable cat, and a documented ghost oversee The Book House's selection of more than 350,000 books. Culled from hundreds of collections, auctions, suppliers, and rogue librarians in the past 25 years, the books range from new to rare to out of print. They nestle into every nook and cranny of the store’s nine rooms and three floors, which are connected by winding staircases. Thrifters and fans of alliteration can venture down to the Bargain Basement to discover discounted reads, and other bookworms search the first and second floors for tomes about any subject from history and philosophy to science fiction and children's books.
A portion of each purchase goes to support the Second Chapter Life Center, which helps young adults with developmental disabilities. The Book House also accepts used-book donations any time during regular business hours.
When Alive magazine publisher Elizabeth Tucker first thought about LASIK surgery as an alternative to the glasses she had worn since second grade, she didn't think it was an option. She feared the cost, worried about the time off work, and was unsure about how safe the procedure would be. Luckily, numerous friends told her about the transformative effects of their own procedures, and she finally decided to take the plunge at Crown Laser Center. There, a team of seven board-certified ophthalmologists, optometrists, and surgeons put Elizabeth and other clients at ease as they correct corneas with trained hands and cutting-edge equipment, boasting a 99% surgery-success rate. Elizabeth is now glasses-free and doesn't regret a thing. "It's been life-changing for me," she says in a video on the laser center's website, "I would recommend it to anyone."