Nightcap at the Turtle River Chophouse

Amy Rea / Heavy Table

If you happen to be in Turtle River (north of Bemidji) and wander off main Highway 71 onto Old Highway 71, you’ll find that the longtime red-barn dive bar known as the 71 Bar and Grill is gone. It’s been replaced with a cleaner, brighter eatery called the Turtle River Chophouse, which makes food from scratch and doesn’t depend entirely on a deep fryer to do so, unlike its predecessor.

It also has a considerably longer list of cocktails and nightcaps than the earlier incarnation, many of which have creative, quirky names: Parsley a Cocktail, Mostly Delicious is one example.

But when it comes to an after-dinner libation, there’s really no choice but to order the drink with a name that leaps off the nightcap menu and slaps you in the face: the Duck Fart ($7). Where to start with this? Do ducks even fart? And if they do — never mind, it’s better we don’t go down that road. But why is the duck the only being that gets a drink touting its means of expelling gas? Are there no other woodland creatures deserving of nightcaps named after their effluvia and eructations?

Alas, our server was not able to answer our questions and didn’t know how the drink ended up on the menu in the first place, or who named it and why. But, she assured us, it’s a good drink and very popular. Undoubtedly.

To be safe, we ordered one to share. When it arrived, it didn’t look like much more than a glass of iced milk. But the first sip clearly indicated this was no snooze of a drink. Comprised of Crown Royal, Kahlúa, and Bailey’s Irish Cream, this was akin to a White Russian, but with more punch to it. The sweetness of the Bailey’s is the first taste you get, followed by a bracing, powerful taste of whiskey.

Our table was divided. Two of us liked it — a lot — while one person only shrugged, and the last person hated it, felt it was too assertive. Yet those who liked it pointed to that assertiveness as a positive. If you like your nightcaps a bit tamer, this one may not do. But if you’re on Old Highway 71 and in the mood for a bit of a kick, go ahead — order the Duck Fart.

Turtle River Chophouse, 468 Bemidji Road NW Turtle River; 218.586.5827. Wed-Fri 3 p.m.-midnight; Sat-Sun noon-midnight

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