With twenty plus years’ experience in the service industry in Colorado, San Francisco, Chicago and New York, I am opening a cocktail bar in Chicago. The construction and an arduous fifty hour training program are nearing completion and The Violet Hour will have its soft opening on Thursday, June 28 at 9 pm.
As The Violet Hour’s Head Intoxologist, I have put together a diverse cocktail list of the classics with a modern twist, and some creations, which with modestly downcast lash, we must admit are originations of our own. We will boast an eclectic selection of over 150 spirits, with an emphasis on gin, rum, rye and esoteric liqueurs. I’ve spent innumerable hours concocting a variety of house made bitters, including lemon, lime, Hell-Fire, peach, summer. I’m putting the final touches on my fall bitters and about to embark on my winter bitters (does anybody know a good cooper?). Our bartenders will be utilizing 8 different kinds of ice, fruit juices squeezed daily and other weird and wonderful ingredients. And while we make a killer Manhattan, The Violet Hour is also still at its heart a bar, where bon vivants will meet for adore, laughter and witty repartee.
House cocktails include:
Daisy17 (rye, lemon juice, house-made grenadine and bitters, with a flamed orange twist)
Blue Ridge Manhattan (rye, Carpano Antica, Noilly Prat, Peychaud bitters, house-made peach
bitters, rinse of Laphroig)
Summer Sidecar (cognac, lemon juice, Cointreau, house-made limoncello, orange bitters)
Iron Cross (pisco, lemon, egg white, orange flower water, house-made summer bitters)
Spanish Margarita (tequila, lime, orange curaçao, Licor 43, house-made Hell-Fire bitters)
Chapulin (crème de cacao, crème de menthe, pisco, heavy cream)
Executive Chef Justin Large, an eight year veteran of Blackbird and Avec (currently also sous chef at Avec) has constructed a menu featuring elevated bar food like chorizo stuffed croquetas with roasted garlic aioli and a pressed Cuban sandwich of roasted pork, black forest ham, Kosher dill pickles, Gruyere and mustard on Pullman bread. Another outrageous sandwich is a brioche filled with peanut butter, banana and bacon, rolled in panko and deep fried and served with wildflower honey.
We wanted to inform eGulleters first.
The Violet Hour
1520 North Damen
Opening Thursday, June 28, 9pm
By the way, “The Violet Hour” is a literary reference to “The Waste Land” by T.S. Eliot and Bernard DeVoto’s ode to the martini, The Hour.
At the violet hour, when the eyes and back
Turn upward from the desk, when the human engine waits
Like a taxi throbbing waiting . . . .
At the violet hour, the evening hour that strives
Homeward, and brings the sailor home from sea
T.S. Eliot, “The Waste Land” (1922)
There is a point where the marriage of gin and vermouth is consummated. It varies a little with the constituents, but for a gin of 95 proof and a harmonious vermouth it may be generalized as about 3.7 to one. And that is not only the proper proportion but the critical one; if you use less gin it is a marriage in name only and the name is not martini. You get a drinkable and even pleasurable result, but not art’s sunburst of imagined delight becoming real. Happily, the upper limit is not so fixed; you may make it four to one or a little more than that, which is a comfort if you cannot do fractions in your head and an assurance when you must use an unfamiliar gin. But not much more. This is the violet hour, the hour of hush and wonder, when the affections glow again and valor is reborn, when the shadows deepen magically along the edge of the forest and we believe that, if we watch carefully, at any moment we may see the unicorn. But it would not be a martini if we should see him.
Bernard DeVoto, The Hour (1949)
Edited by Alchemist, 23 June 2007 - 05:00 PM.