Wednesday, May 29, 2013

New cocktails at Bub City!

The spring 'warm weather' cocktail menu at Bub City is in full effect as of this very minute.

Menu workshopping.

  • Crosstown Rivals - Corazon Blanco Tequila, Del Maguey Vida Mezcal, Green Chartreuse, lime, watermelon
  • Whiskey Tango #2 - Wild Turkey Rye, sweet tea, peach, lemon
  • North to Alaska (served frozen!) - JW Dant Bourbon, blackberry, lemon, mint
  • Ponderosa Pine - Letherbee Gin, rhubarb, ginger ale, rosemary
  • Claim Jumper - El Dorado White Rum, pineapple, lime, Hellfire bitters
  • County Line - Old Heaven Hill Bourbon, Punt e Mes, strawberry, lemon
  • ‘Member the Maine - Rittenhouse Rye, Carpano Antica, Cherry Heering, absinthe
  • Old Fashioned - Very Old Barton Bourbon, demerara, smoked peach bitters

Monday, May 13, 2013

One Night Only: RJ Grunt's, The Fern Bar!

Here's a (hopefully) cool alternative to all those Chicago Craft Beer Week events: On Monday, May 20th, from 9pm-2am, I'll be serving a fern bar cocktail menu at an actual fern bar!

With the opening of Three Dots and a Dash a little over a month away, I realize I've got a little rust to shake off before I start bartending full time again. My first full night behind a bar since last February will be much like my first full night behind a bar ever: filled with Tequila Sunrises, Harvey Wallbangers, and Sloe Comfortable Screws. You can even shout 'Woo Woo!' at me, and I'll make you a shot.

See you next week at RJ Grunt's, untouched since 1971: 2056 North Lincoln Park West.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Whiskey Flights at Bub City

Some beautiful photographs of the whiskey flight presentation at Bub City, by the talented Anjali Pinto.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Day Drinking at Paris Club (and other wholesome Easter weekend activities)

Brunch service is starting at Paris Club this weekend. Paris Club is definitely one of those restaurants that flies a little under the radar, and though I haven't tasted any of the brunch menu, I'm excited to see what Doug and Alex have up their sleeves. 

When making my liquid contributions to the menu, I look for light, lower alcohol content cocktails that will accentuate the food without overpowering. Fruity, citrusy, and sparkling are the flavors and textures I crave the morning after a night out. And while we'll definitely be able to make mimosas, I hope you'll try some of these less popular brunch classics: 
  • The Clipperton (Pimm's #1, Dry Vermouth, Raspberry, Sparkling Wine, Mint) and Parasol (Lillet Blanc, St. Germain, Honey, Lemon, Sparkling Wine) are both from the evening cocktail menu, but translate well to daylight hours.
  • Champagne Punch, c. 1862 - Pineapple, Raspberry, Lemon, Sparkling Wine. Originally from Jerry Thomas's Bartender's Guide, 1862, and rediscovered by me after reading David Wondrich's Punch, Champagne Punch is a straight forward adaptation of a 19th Century crowd pleaser. 
  • Bramble - Beefeater Gin, Creme de Mure, Lemon. Dick Bradsell came up with this classic in the mid 1980s at Fred's Club in the SoHo neighborhood of London. An excellent brunch cocktail: refreshing, bright berry notes, crushed ice, yum.
  • Bloody Mary - Grey Goose Vodka, Tomato Juice, Spices; served with a Kronenbourg back in a mini pilsner glass. There's a reason pretty much every brunch menu includes a Bloody Mary. Most people drink it with vodka, but Bloody Marys are awesome with a bunch of different spirits: Scotch, Aquavit, Gin—all of which are available for you to call at Paris Club. I raided the dinner menu's charcuterie board for the appetizer-sized garnish: horseradish glazed-carrot, radish, cured meat, cornichon, pepper. 
Plus, RPM is doing brunch this weekend for Easter, and I added two classics just for the occassion: Clover Leaf (Beefeater Gin, Dry Vermouth, Raspberry, Lemon, Egg White) and Cocchi Spritz (Cocchi Americano, Sparkling Wine, Soda). For the Cocchi Spritz, instead of just combining soda and Cocchi, I added a little Prossecco. Fancy! 

However, in my opinion, the best Easter drink is the Welcome Back, which is a play on a Corpse Reviver #2… you can find it on RPM's cocktail menu every day as the Lower Door (Broker's London Dry Gin, St. Germain, Cocchi Americano), which is named after a Tibetan zombie-safety tip: Legend says zombies can't bend at the waist, so if you lower the height of your front doorsuch that you have to stoop to enterzombies won't be able to get into your house and eat your brains (or drink your cocktails).

Monday, December 10, 2012

Bub City!

Tonight is our first 'practice party' at Bub City—the time to iron out kinks and do things like spellcheck the menus (don't worry, Letherbee Gin, I'm on it!) before we open our doors to the public.

The bar looks amazing and we've got it stocked with tons of whiskey, including three of the barrels I picked up along the Bourbon Trail this summer (look for 'Bub City Barrels' of Four Roses, Jack Daniel, and Weller 107.)

Bub City via A Drink With Chicago
I've also put together a cocktail menu that I think perfectly suits Bub City's country-western dive-vibe. All three- or four-ingredient riffs on classics, including one I'm particularly excited about: a Mexican Firing Squad Special straight out of a French Quarter-worthy frozen drink machine. 

Bub City will be my homebase for the next few weeks, so come by and say hello!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Drinking Vinegars, Meet Daiquiri.

Drinking vinegars are where it's at this fall—they're the perfect way to get dead-of-summer fruit tastes when the dead-of-summer is long gone.

Someone sent RPM's executive chef Doug Psaltis some samples of Pok Pok Som Drinking Vinegars, and he passed them on to me suggesting I give them a whirl behind the bar. I liked the pomegranate and pineapple so much that I ordered two full-sized bottles. At almost $19 a whack, they're pretty expensive, but because I'm only using a quarter of an ounce at a time, I feel like I'm really getting my money's worth.

I added some of Pok Pok Som's Full Strength Pineapple Drinking Vinegar to my daiquiri recipe, and the result was awesome. It's almost like adding salt to chocolate chip cookies; the vinegar just opens up all the subtle flavors of the cocktail. The aroma in intensified, you taste a level of pineapple acidity that isn't possible even with the freshest pineapple juice, and the finish is a pleasant, lingering one.

These vinegars will also make great 'mocktails': just add one part drinking vinegar to four parts soda.