Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tippling Tuesdays: Cereal Milk Cocktail Trend, Vertigo's New Bartender Booth

PDT's Milk Punch whiskey cocktail via Serious Eats

Tippling Tuesdays differs from Thirsty Thursdays in that it goes deeper into the spirits and cocktail culture.

Admit it. You've sipped some cereal milk in your lifetime. Whether it was after a tasty bowlful of Kellogg's Fruit Loops or Post's Honey Bunches of Oats, you just wanted to savor that goodness all the way down to the last drop. And leave it to bartenders to make one of our guilty childhood pleasures into an adult beverage.

The Savoy's head bartender Deidre Darling got the idea from NYC hot spots PDT and Momofuku Milk Bar, which have been doing them for a few months.

The seafood-focused restaurant and lounge in Wicker Park only offers the booze-infused delights during brunch, and we're getting giddy just thinking about them. Darling's created three: Pebbles Loves Bam Bam (Cocoa Pebbles, Plantation rum, mole bitters), Magically Delicious (Lucky Charms, Powers Irish Whiskey) and This Morning's Milk (cereal box surprise). Make a note that Savoy is open for brunch 10am-2pm Friday-Sunday.

The retro-themed arcade lounge Headquarters Beercade also features a cereal milk cocktail on its menu. Cereal Killer is made with house-infused Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Old Overholt Rye Whiskey and walnut bitters.

The view from behind Vertigo's Bartender Booth; the signature Champagne Cocktail (Photos: 312 Dining Diva)

Vertigo Sky Lounge has taken the chef's table concept behind the bar and we were the first to experience it a couple of weeks ago.

The tiny Bartender Booth's perched in a sweet spot directly behind the bar, so the lucky four or so guests get the best VIP treatment in the entire room.

This is NOT for bottle service or for those whose idea of going out drinking is swilling on vodka and sodas. The Bartender Booth is for those willing to put their trust in Head Mixologist Raul Jaimes to work his magic.

Jaimes clocked in several months at Aviary, where he learned some sweet techniques such as whipping up bacon tinctures for his version of the Manhattan. The potions are progressive, starting with a sparkling wine cocktail and ending on a high note with a coffee concoction.

"All the ingredients are made in-house such as the syrups," Jaimes tells 312DD. "We're making everything from a seasonal and fresh approach."

When you're seated in the Bartender Booth, you've not only got the best seats in the space, but you'll also get the best aerial views of the neighborhood. One of the challenges, however, with such an ambitious program at a high-volume bar like Vertigo is that the craft cocktails take longer and not everyone wants to wait.

That's why Jaimes will likely only offer these particular cocktails on the earlier end of the evening to insure everybody gets the service they desire. Plus, Jaimes doesn't want to compromise the integrity of the new program by rushing to get those drinks out.

"We are balancing the integrity of trying to make good craft cocktails and service the environment in which we are in," he says.

In the meantime, if you do get a chance to experience the new cocktail program, I highly recommend the Champagne Cocktail. It's made with hibiscus syrup, Fortaleza Reposado tequila and compressed kumquat.

Additional highlights from the menu are the Lavender Sour (lavender syrup, fresh lemon juice, egg white and Leatherbee gin topped with a lemon twist and drop of Peychard’s anise bitters) and Man-Hattan (bourbon, Antica Carpano, Luxardo cherry, splash of Fees chocolate bitters and bacon tincture). It's $60 for a flight for five cocktails; a la carte cocktails are $12-$14.

How do you get reservations?! GET TO KNOW RAUL.

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