Restaurants

'Bartender of the Year' bottling favorite cocktails

Saturday, September 21, 2013

There are hundreds of spirited options to choose from at the sprawling Binny's Beverage Depot in the South Loop, but tucked among the whiskey and vodka, a new player, with a local origin. Crafthouse is truly the first high-quality bottled cocktail.

"We've taken a few of our favorite classic cocktails and built them just the way that I would as a bartender at the bar, scaled 'em up so you have a ready-to-go, just pour over ice cocktail," said Charles Joly.

Joly should know. He recently won "American Bartender of the Year" at the Tales of the Cocktail event in New Orleans, and works as Beverage Director at The Aviary in the West Loop.

As with any drink, the key is balance. In the Moscow Mule, that means high-quality, all-natural ingredients, like ginger beer, fresh lime and vodka, lightly carbonated.

But imagine: fresh-pressed lime juice; simple syrup (that's bascially sugar water); fresh ginger juice and great vodka. Given a hit of carbonation, it's not something just anyone could do at home.

His Southside is a little different. Fresh mint, lime juice and sugar syrup are very gently muddled with gin..

"Same thing if you're making mojitos and things like that, you just want to release the oils, you don't want to shred it," he said.

Then he strains out the mint, and shakes the liquid with some ice, until well-chilled. The final drink is strained over fresh ice and garnished mint and lime.

"A gin-based sour cocktail - gin and citrus with mint - so both really refreshing, bright, light, accessible," said Joly.

The Moscow Mule and the Southside are available in stores now all over Chicago, but Charles says the tequila-based Paloma should be showing up in stores over the next couple of weeks.

Crafthouse Cocktails

Available:
Binny's (various locations)
http://www.binnys.com/

Olivia's
2014 W. Wabansia Ave.
773-227-4220
http://oliviasmarket.com/

Mariano's (various locations)
http://www.marianos.com/Default.aspx

Joly is the Beverage Director at The Aviary
955 W. Futon Mkt.
312-226-0868

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