Inside a funnel-shaped glass, purple plumes swirl together like a tornado then morph into the blue of a clear and tranquil sky. This isn't a meteorological phenomenon, but an Aviation: a cocktail crafted with gin and crème de violet, invented in 1916 when the world was swept up in the magic of flight. It's also an inspiration for modern barkeeps such as Charles Joly, chief mixologist at The Drawing Room. Today's Reserve selection invites you to sample this magical potable during a four-course dinner with three sample-size cocktails, plus a table visit from a resident mixologist. Choose the following from a seasonal prix fixe menu:
- A first dish
- A second dish
- One entree
- One dessert
- Three drink samples: the Manhattan, the Clover Club, and the Aviation
Beneath Rush Street's cacophony of taxis and footfall, diners unwind in low-slung velvet chairs. Though this laid-back lounge is underground, its ingredients are top shelf. Executive Chef Nick Lacasse and chief mixologist Charles Joly, a James Beard Award semifinalist, often roam farmers' markets together, selecting the freshest fruits, veggies, and herbs for their signature creations.
Global travels—including a recent adventure on Bravo's Around the World in 80 Plates—inform Lacasse's latest menu, which brims with Japanese-inspired tempura mushrooms and Amish chicken with farm-fresh goat cheese. Appetizers such as beef tartare with spicy pineapple and green gazpacho with creamy avocado underpin four-course feasts, which unfold amid cream-colored pillars and golden candlelight. Entrees range from Mexican-style flank steak with roasted poblano salsa to herbed polenta cakes with black kale and white wine sauce. To end the meal on a sweet note, guests may choose between artisanal Black Dog gelato and a milk-chocolate mousse with seasonal fruit compote and a chili-spiced churro.
During the meal, an award-winning master bartender will stop by to dispense and discuss three pre-Prohibition cocktails, all made from small-batch spirits and house mixers. The brief crash course will revolve around the history and ingredients of the Manhattan, the Clover Club, and the Aviation. Afterward, the bartender will distribute complimentary recipe cards. After sipping a miniature glass of each cocktail, students may order full-size versions from the bar for an additional charge or pick up their own bottles of whiskey, bitters, and sweet vermouth and head home to fill their swimming pools.
The Drawing Room
Since Esquire named The Drawing Room one of America's best bars in 2011, the subterranean den has undergone changes that have only added to its air of elegance and tradition. Chief mixologist Sergio Serna has ceded his mixers and martini glasses to apprentices Owen Worley and Will Patton, whose culinary cocktails evince a level of artistry that goes far beyond mere competence.
There’s no one secret to the bartenders’ craft, but one might boil it down to an essential three: fresh ingredients, house-made mixers, and small-batch spirits. Whether crafting an MadHattan with Templeton Rye and Punt e Mes, or mixing a Hemingway daiquiri with the barrel of an elephant gun, they gladly walk guests through the process. Chef Brian Beverly shares his counterpart’s obsession with fresh ingredients, crafting progressive American dishes with seasonal inspirations. The bar’s décor lives up to the food and drink with its shaded chandeliers and velvet chairs that slide together to form cushy loveseats.
Near North Side
937 N Rush St.
Chicago, Illinois 60611