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Casino cocktails: MGM pairs with Two James on whiskey

Melody Baetens
The Detroit News

Casinos aren’t exactly the epicenter of hipster culture, but this month MGM Grand Detroit began offering something that appealed to both my locavore tendencies and love for whiskey.

Only at MGM Grand’s Wolfgang Puck Steak can you sip 3rd Street Whiskey, which is Two James Spirits’ Rye Dog whiskey that is aged for at least a year in oak barrels at the restaurant.

Because of the size of the barrels — one 15 gallon, two 10 gallons and two 5 gallons — the whiskey ages faster than in a larger barrel at the distillery. As the whiskey continues to age at the steak house, the flavor profile changes.

Opened in 2012, Wolfgang Puck Steak is an original concept developed for the Detroit market by MGM and the celebrity chef. Rye Dog whiskey is made about a mile away from MGM Grand at Two James’ Michigan Avenue facility using Michigan rye from Wing Farms in Ann Arbor.

The barrel-aged white whiskey is served the way you may imagine locally-sourced, barrel-aged craft whiskey to be poured: right out of the barrel, table side. I should note that a special cart has been commissioned to house and transport the barrels.

Crafted by local designer Taru Lahti, the cart holds the five barrels and is made from locally sourced maple and steel. A smaller cart is attached that allows for easier service.

3rd Street Whiskey, named after MGM’s Grand Detroit’s address of 1777 Third, is served neat, on the rocks or in a craft cocktail that is mixed tableside.

Wolfgang Puck Steak is open at 5 p.m. daily. Call (313) 465-1644 for reservations, which are recommended, but not required.

Beer notes

■A new Michigan-made beer is now available statewide. Lake Brothers Lager is brewed in Corktown using water from the Great Lakes. The easy-drinking craft beer is made by brothers-in-law Sean Farrell and Mike Grodecki.

■Also new: Beer-lovers in Oakland and Macomb counties should be on the lookout for products from Southern California’s AleSmith Brewing Co. Powers Distributing is bringing nine of the brewery’s labels to select areas of Michigan.

(313) 222-2402

Twitter: @melodybaetens