Tuesday, April 27, 2010

the oregon trail

With a couple days to spare I am pleased to announce the arrival of spring cocktails at Perennial. Based on popular demand, and threats from Emily and some other Boka group employees and guests, some of the cocktails have been carried over that remain seasonally relevant. I ended up keeping one of my faves on the list as sort of a 'happy trails' listing. The inspiration for this one came after my last trip to Portland, which ultimately has lead me to pick up and move there. I look forward to immersing myself in the local culinary and cocktail scene, which is quite progressive, as well as working hands-on at some of my favorite distilleries and wineries. So with that in mind here's a tasty concoction that I hope to prepare for tipplers in the Pacific Northwest very soon.

Oregon Woods

1.5 oz Ransom Old Tom gin
.75 oz Zurbenz Stone Pine liqueur
1 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz simple syrup
dash angosturra bitters
egg white

add white of one egg to shaker tin, building syrups and juices first followed by potables and bitters. dry shake for 5-10 seconds with whisk from hawthorne shaker. remove whisk, add ice, and shake vigorously until a nice frost appears on outside of shaker tin. strain into coupe glass and garnish with three drops of angosturra bitters and one smacked sage leaf.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

ides of april

Well spring has hit Chicago, and as the weather climbs above 40 degrees we see locals flocking to outdoor watering holes for libations en masse. I've been working on Perennial's cocktail list and think I have it pretty well nailed down. The Lincoln Park clientele is equal parts adventurous gastronome and underexposed tippler, so bridging that gap can be a delicate tightrope walk. The restaurant gets their fair share of trixies who love a bright pink foo-foo 'martini' in their hand, and understanding this venue wasn't ready to be a full fledged cocktail bar took some time for me. I hadn't shaken a martini in years, unless a Bradford was properly ordered, so it took some time for me to get over my pretensions and give the people what they want. After all, the clients are what keep this industry moving, not the culinarians as much as we'd like to think so. So finding a happy balance of innovative beverage options with a few classics mixed in that could appeal to both adventurous and conservative imbibers has been my mission. So far people have taken notice and the beverage culture has made great strides in exposing the clientele to more interesting spirits than Effen black cherry.

Next step, having conceptualized the menu and applied some recipe platforms that work on paper, is testing. I have my sodium alginate, calcium chloride, geletan, and all kinds of other goodies en route so we should be able to launch next week without issue. The list is the most ambitious to date for Perennial, and though there are some 'safe' plays there is at least an underlying theme of artisan ingredients in everything produced. And as any craft barman will tell you, at the end of the day that's what it's all about. Here's hoping the thirsty Chicago crowd agrees.

Village Idiot

1.25 oz Del Maguey Chichicapa Mezcal
.75 oz Combier
2 heaping barspoons of Clearbrook farms strawberry preserves
1 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 oz simple syrup
shake and strain into double old fashioned glass over large irregular ice block
served alongside amuse spoon of blood orange espuma (gelatin foam)