Another Summer Cocktail: It’s Sweet, It’s Bitter, It’s a Negroni!

NegroniSticking with the Italian theme of my previous post, the Negroni has to be near the top of the “simplest cocktails you can make” list.  It’s equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and Campari.  The Negroni is refreshing, easy to make, and packs quite the wallop.  More than two of these and you’re asking for trouble.  I find a Negroni prefect for sitting out on the patio on a warm summer evening with a bowl of salty peanuts waiting for Cheryl to come home from work.  Hey, she knows when cocktail hour starts around here! (more…)


A Cooling Cocktail for 4th of July – Bittered Gin Sling

Happy 4th of July!  Happy Birthday America!  Ridiculously hot here today in Chicago so Cheryl and I have been doing the most American of things today: taking advantage of central air conditioning and watching the Tour de France and Wimbledon from our couch.  We’ve got a picnic to attend later when it’ll hopefully be cooler, so while waiting I thought I’d have a cocktail.  Looking into my copy of Eric Felten’s “How’s Your Drink?” for inspiration I found the Bittered Gin Sling.  Apparently, slings were a popular drink in the beginning days of our republic.  If Bittered Gin Slings were good enough for early Americans then it’s good enough for my Independence Day cocktail! (more…)

A Hot Christmas Cocktail

Cheryl’s parents are retired and live in Florida and the weather always seems to turn colder whenever they visit.  I don’t know how they do it.  So far we don’t have any snow here in Chicago so they’re pretty happy but it is a little…um…chilly.  More than they’re used to at least!  One of my appointed tasks during their visits is to keep them warm with hot drinks.  Normally I whip up a hot toddy for them but since it’s Christmas I thought I’d do some digging and find a more Christmas-y drink.  The one I came up with was the Tom and Jerry. (more…)

Thanksgiving Cocktails

Nothing wrong with wine and beer for Thanksgiving but why not jazz things up a bit.  It’s a holiday, get some more holiday cheer flowing.  Heaven knows you sometimes need all the help you can get when dealing with family (not mine, they’re all saints, at least when viewed through the bottom of a cocktail glass they all have halos).  Two favorite cocktails of mine are the Old Fashioned and Manhattan, and I think they fit in well with the holiday.  One is made with rye and the other with bourbon.  Both have a touch of sweetness to them but not too much, and rye is a little spicier and has more grain and earthy flavor than bourbon.  With the heavy, salty, food you’re bound to nosh on you need a drink that will cut through it all.  What could be better on the All-American holiday than some potent potables made with good old American bourbon or rye whiskey?  Ok maybe not better but they’ll definitely help pass the time as the turkey cooks. (more…)

Eater 38 – Maude’s Liquor Bar

This week the Eater 38 club took a stab at another one of Chicago Eater’sEater 38” restaurants.  The choice: Maude’s Liquor Bar.  Not only is Maude’s on the Eater 38 List but it’s also on the newest Michelin Bib Gourmand list, so I was a little excited about it.  Unfortunately that excitement wore off fairly quickly.

Let me say this right off the bat, I thought their frites were some of the best I’ve had.  Perfectly fried, thick sticks of potato with a solid, crisp outer shell, encasing a light fluffy center.  They smelled and tasted like they were fried in duck fat which may explain it.  The frites were so good they didn’t need the aioli which accompanied the order.  Not as much a fan of the other appetizer we ordered, the French Onion Fondue (caramelized onions and melted gruyere).  As far as melted/broiled cheese appetizers go I wasn’t wowed.  Best to leave this type of dish to the Argentine and Mexican restaurants.  (more…)