Cocktails in Chi-Town

This past Friday I returned from a 2-day trip to legendary Chicago – city of gangsters, fires, and deep dishes.  I conducted a cocktail demonstration at Macy’s Culinary Studio (bet ya’ didn’t even know a thing existed) on the 7th Floor alongside celebrity chef Rick Bayless.  Who is this Rick Bayless? He’s one of the first ‘celebrity chefs’ to enter the culinary scene with a program on PBS.  He now has numerous books and TV shows that highlight his Mexican cuisine.  What a treat it was to be alongside this gentleman, and to taste his delicious food.  Around 65 people showed up, and I created 2 cocktails especially for the event that I demonstrated to these fine foodie guests.  I’ve included photos from that evening, as well as the cocktail recipes below.  First I must give HUGE props to the folks at Belvedere Vodka and Navan who so kindly sponsored the event.  Two great spirits that raise the standards of any cocktail and are the absolute epitome of luxury:


I really enjoyed my time in this great city.  It’s got a New York feel to it, but only in the span of a few blocks which the natives call ‘The Loop.’  The rest of Chicago looks like the outer boroughs of NYC.


Macy’s on State St.- the old Marshall Fields building.


There I am, shakin’ up a storm.


The crowd is quite intrigued…


Me, Belvedere, and Chef Rick Bayless.  Friends forever.

The hotel I stayed in – The Raffaello Hotel:


Great boutique hotel.  Larger than I thought – about 16 floors!  No restaurant, though, but just across the street is the restaurant for the Westin, or Hilton – one of those.  Friendly staff, comfy bed, and nice bathroom. 

And now for the recipes:

Berry Caliente

1 whole strawberry, sliced

1 small slice jalapeno pepper

1 1/2 oz. Belvedere Vodka

1/2 oz. Navan

1/2 oz. each of fresh lemon juice and simple syrup

Directions:  In a mixing glass, muddle the strawberry and jalapeno slice in the lemon juice and simple syrup.  Add Belvedere and Navan and ice and shake well.  Strain into a chilled martini glass.

Garnish: Strawberry slice


Under the Mexican Sun

1 oz. Belvedere Pomarancza

1 oz. Pineapple Juice

1/2 oz. Yellow Chartreuse

1 tsp. agave nectar

Directions:  Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice very well and strain into an ice-filled wine glass.  Top w/ chilled sparkling water (optional)

Garnish: Salt rim and large orange twist


Many thanks to Dibbes who helped out tremendously during this trip! 


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