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The Violet Hour


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#61 daisy17

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Posted 22 September 2007 - 11:13 AM

Fantastic piece on TVH here on ABC7. Old school indeed.

Speaking of the TVH fall menu, Toby's fall Sazerac was profiled on the Gourmet food editors blog.

#62 eje

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Posted 22 September 2007 - 11:46 AM

There's a short piece about Dale DeGroff and the modern cocktail renaissance in the October Gourmet magazine.

The Violet Hour gets a mention, though not much type.
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#63 Alchemist

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Posted 22 September 2007 - 11:56 AM

The reader also gave us this mention on thier favorite things about Chicago.

http://www.chicagore...favoritethings/



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#64 kendix

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Posted 24 September 2007 - 02:37 PM

Toby, any chance we could get you to post a few paragraphs on how to make our own bitters and what types go well with what cocktails?

Thanks,
Kendall

Moderator's Note: Toby's reply has been moved to the All About Bitters topic. You can find it here.

Edited by TAPrice, 07 November 2007 - 06:18 PM.


#65 mrRed

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Posted 03 October 2007 - 10:49 AM

Just wanted to thank you for a great experience. I was in Chicago for business and decided to head to TVH for a round of cocktails, and I was duly impressed. Even though I've dabbled in some home made liquors myself and enjoy a well made cocktail, I was blown away. Really great job and congrats on nearly having a packed house on a Sunday night.

#66 plattetude

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 11:29 AM

Question for the esteemed Toby from an upcoming visitor, posting here because it's a topic that may be of broader interest: my wife and I will be spending a long weekend in Chicago next month for our fifth anniversary, and aside from our reservations, the only other major target for us is The Violet Hour.

(I'd actually had the pleasure of having you mix a few rounds at Pegu Club for me on several occasions, so I'm thrilled to see you spreading the cocktailian gospel to Chicago!)

Anyway, as I say, we're planning to sidle up to the bar sometime during our stay, but here's the question: with my wife several months pregnant, what sorts of interesting no- to low-alcohol cocktails might you or your staff pull together for her, given that she does like a well-crafted and well-balanced cocktail? I'm curious not only in this specific case, but more broadly (in which case, maybe this post should be in a new topic) -- is this a question put to bartenders often?

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#67 Alchemist

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Posted 05 October 2007 - 02:19 PM

I would have her have a mint/ginger virgin rickey. But all of the bartenders can whip something up for your wife. just explain and then tell them flavors you like.



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#68 insectrights

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Posted 16 October 2007 - 09:51 AM

this should be on the other thread but...I am ready to make a comprehensive line of bittres under The Violet Hour banner, is there a market for it?

View Post


In my opinion....yes there is, but I think it would be cool to start selling them there to see how well they do. As delicious as the homemade bitters were, that's not why I came here to post.

I just got back from a weekend in Chicago and the first stop as soon as we checked in to our hotel was The Violet Hour. The wait seemed too long as more people were leaving than being let in, but not knowing how things work for this establishment I could be wrong. My girlfriend and I both had 3 cocktails each, so we were able to work our way through most of the spirits that we like as well as a nice range of flavors and styles. Standouts were the Red Moon Fizz, Chi-Town Flip, Golden Age, and Lady Grey. The additions of the little sidecar extras that come with the drinks in cocktail glasses were added bonuses, but left me wondering how much booze you guys actually pour. The glass looked to me like it fitted 3oz or so, plus an additional 2 in the sidecar. Also, the collins glasses looked a lot bigger than the ones that I work with. Don't get me wrong, extra bang for the buck is always appreciated.

Now, onto the food...f'n amazing! The deviled eggs were ridiculously good and blew away all others that I've had(I'm southern). The PB&J was just so over the top, but so satisfying and also went very well with the Chi-Town flip. Had the waitress not pointed those two out, we would have missed out on two life changing appetizers. Our waitress by the way, couldn't have been more helpful and knowledgable. My only complaint of the service was that we were asked to leave by the doorman at 1:58am. I'm not sure the laws and policies of Chicago bars and restaurants, but I found it kind of rude considering I dropped over $100 in drinks and a little bit of food.

So my three questions for you Alchemist are

1)How do you make your maraschino cherries?

2)Do you give more alcohol than the standard 2 or 3 oz pour?

3)What's up with the last call/get your ass out of here policy?

Again, thanks for the amazing food, drink and service to boot.

#69 kvltrede

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Posted 17 October 2007 - 04:07 PM

The Violet Hour is mentioned in a food section article in today's Sun-Times. The article isn't anything special but Toby's quoted and there's a nice big photo of one of the VH bartenders on the section's front page.

I found this quote from a bartender at Moto to be rather odd: "Because American bourbon is [often] aged in oak, it has a vanilla-like character," Chizeck added. "So, peaches and strawberries also work well."

I assume the "[often]" was added by the writer or a misguided editor but I don't understand why. It certainly wouldn't have taken much googling to find out that bourbon isn't bourbon if it's not aged in a charred oak barrel. As for "American bourbon", well, I don't always speak so good neither so I shouldn't criticize but I guess I'd expect a bartender at such a fancy-schmancy restaurant to know that he was being redundant.

On a lighter note, the Fall drinks menu at the VH is fantastic. I may have over-indulged somewhat during my last visit a couple weeks ago so I can't offer a lot of detail but the Chi-Town Flip was a stand-out.

Kurt
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#70 Alchemist

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 08:27 AM

this should be on the other thread but...I am ready to make a comprehensive line of bittres under The Violet Hour banner, is there a market for it?

View Post


In my opinion....yes there is, but I think it would be cool to start selling them there to see how well they do. As delicious as the homemade bitters were, that's not why I came here to post.

I just got back from a weekend in Chicago and the first stop as soon as we checked in to our hotel was The Violet Hour. The wait seemed too long as more people were leaving than being let in, but not knowing how things work for this establishment I could be wrong. My girlfriend and I both had 3 cocktails each, so we were able to work our way through most of the spirits that we like as well as a nice range of flavors and styles. Standouts were the Red Moon Fizz, Chi-Town Flip, Golden Age, and Lady Grey. The additions of the little sidecar extras that come with the drinks in cocktail glasses were added bonuses, but left me wondering how much booze you guys actually pour. The glass looked to me like it fitted 3oz or so, plus an additional 2 in the sidecar. Also, the collins glasses looked a lot bigger than the ones that I work with. Don't get me wrong, extra bang for the buck is always appreciated.

Now, onto the food...f'n amazing! The deviled eggs were ridiculously good and blew away all others that I've had(I'm southern). The PB&J was just so over the top, but so satisfying and also went very well with the Chi-Town flip. Had the waitress not pointed those two out, we would have missed out on two life changing appetizers. Our waitress by the way, couldn't have been more helpful and knowledgable. My only complaint of the service was that we were asked to leave by the doorman at 1:58am. I'm not sure the laws and policies of Chicago bars and restaurants, but I found it kind of rude considering I dropped over $100 in drinks and a little bit of food.

So my three questions for you Alchemist are

1)How do you make your maraschino cherries?

2)Do you give more alcohol than the standard 2 or 3 oz pour?

3)What's up with the last call/get your ass out of here policy?

Again, thanks for the amazing food, drink and service to boot.

View Post


1. The maraschino cherries are actually a combo of “brandied cherries” and Maraschino cherries. We soaked cherries in a combination of Mathusalem rum, Rirrenhouse rye, citrus zest, and a couple of other things. Let that sit two weeks. Add maraschino. Let macerate until soft.

2. All the cocktails have 2.0 oz Spirit + other liquor. Martinis and Manhattans have 3 oz booze+1.5 oz vermouth.

3. The law as far as I understand it is everyone but employees has to be out by 2:00. We kill the door at 1:20am and last call is 1:40. We really try not to rush people. If we do last call at 1:30People complain that last call is so early, if we do last call at 1:45 people complain that they are asked to gulp down their drinks.

I am very, very sorry that you felt rushed. I know that it can harsh the wonderful mellow you have been cultivating all evening. If you have any suggestions on how not to have that happen I am listening.

Toby



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#71 insectrights

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 09:39 AM


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View Post



I am very, very sorry that you felt rushed. I know that it can harsh the wonderful mellow you have been cultivating all evening. If you have any suggestions on how not to have that happen I am listening.

Toby

View Post



Since I was visiting from NC, I had no idea about the policies and figured that it was a legal issue, but I just had to make sure. My only suggestion would be to explain that when you know people who aren't native to the area or when the doorman is asking them to "find your way to the door" to include that in his suggestion. If I had known ahead of time I would have been a little quicker in my drinking pace. Thanks for the quick reply and explanation, it's great to see owners that really care. I think your bar just might trump your former employers if you ask me. Cheers.

#72 Darren72

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 10:00 AM

1. The maraschino cherries are actually a combo of “brandied cherries” and Maraschino cherries.  We soaked cherries in a combination of Mathusalem rum, Rirrenhouse rye, citrus zest, and a couple of other things.  Let that sit two weeks.  Add maraschino. Let macerate until soft.


Just a quick follow-up. When you say "add maraschino," do you mean the liquor or something else? If the liquor, why do you add it two weeks later than the others ingredients?

Thanks.

#73 Alchemist

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 02:48 PM

I will meet with my doormen in late Oct when I'm back in Chicago and we will try to find the right verbage. Without bordering on logoreah (sp) it is tough to explain the in's and out's of the law to a group of people riding high and wanting to order another round, a sleeping bag and a change of adress form.


I macerated the cherries with booze to give them a deep, rich flavor. If you as the Luxardo maraschino the "funk" (which I love) will be too overpowering. Think like dry rubbing ribs then slathering them with sauce while cooking.



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#74 Mayur

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 11:40 PM

this should be on the other thread but...I am ready to make a comprehensive line of bitters under The Violet Hour banner, is there a market for it?

View Post

Actually just popping in from NYC to check out this thread, but my answer would be:

IMHO, maybe.

To raise brand awareness, position for growth (i.e., maybe opening another branch or two, possibly in cities other than Chicago), or simply have the driver for a project that keeps you thinking flexibly and thus at the top of your game as a bar manager/beverage director/mixologist? Sure. As a sui generis money maker? I dunno.

I was just recently speaking with a craft bitters maker who puts together excellent product, which I'm hoping to incorporate in an upcoming venture, but I just don't see the money there. Few bars, and potentially fewer liquor or grocery stores (since bitters are a grocery item in most jurisdictions anyway) will be willing to stock a bitter outside of Angostura or maybe Peychaud's, Regan's, or Fee's (and two out of those three have a major liquor distribution channel). The bars that stock them simply won't use enough of the product to generate substantial revenues (how many bottles of Hermes orange bitters or house-made Abbotts or summer bitters do you go through in a month?), and home users will always be few and far between, even if the cocktail trend assumes Starbucks-level proportions.

In all likelihood, every single good bar in NYC will take your bitters because every. single. bartender. I've ever met at the craft cocktail bars in NYC respects and admires what you do. The same probably would apply in San Fran, Seattle, etc (although I don't really know those environments). Your best bet probably would be to offer them for take-away sale out of those bars in the same way that Regan's, Peychaud's, and pomegranate molasses have been sold out of Pegu to retail customers. (Maybe ask Audrey for input?) But I just don't see any scale (or good margins, relative to labor cost) there. To my mind, it's either a labor of love (which is extra-cool, don't get me wrong!) or a means of promoting your bar and the related concept, which is a real business tool IMHO, and could yield real return on investment.
Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"

#75 Mayur

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Posted 18 October 2007 - 11:47 PM

Well, crap. I originally went to this thread just to read it, and to ask two totally different questions of TVH's Alchemist:

1) You mentioned that you're doing some specific cocktails during "slow hours" only? Is there a slow shift at TVH, and is it remotely possible that said shift (or specific time in shift) might occur during a hypothetical visitor's stay from a Friday afternoon to Monday evening? :)

2) Will you be back in Chicago by this weekend, or not quite? Would love to see your mad skilz behind the wood, as I've seen those absurd videos (though sadly missed you through years of visits at Pegu & especially M&H!).
Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"

#76 Mayur

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 02:29 PM

Sadly, looks like Toby will still be in NYC this weekend, so no chance for him to be behind the bar if/when I visit TVH. Oh, the irony! Still, I'm sure the place will not disappoint...

[EDIT: FWIW, you can't get bitters at liquor stores in NYC, the singular exception being LeNells in Brooklyn. I thought it might have been a legal thing, actually; something about selling grocery items in a liquor store. However, I haven't checked in on code.]

Edited by Mayur, 20 October 2007 - 02:31 PM.

Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"

#77 san

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Posted 24 October 2007 - 06:22 AM

came in last night and had hands down the best manhattan i've ever had. hands down.

my wife and i agreed that the speakeasy type theme is totally nailed... the all-but-hidden front door, the entryway that consists of unpainted drywall and a concrete floor, and the night and day transition into an elegant series of 3 'rooms' seperated by huge hanging curtain dividers, oversized chairs, and chandeliers. it was much more elegant of an atmosphere than we were expecting (we wished we would have dressed up a little more). the music was almost strictly Johnny Cash, which fit the mood perfectly (although we did hear 3 or 4 songs twice in the 2 hours we were there). the service was noticeably slow at first (took about 20-25 minutes to sit and it took almost that long to get a drink order), but once we sat our hostess and server both were much more apologetic, sincere, and friendly than we would have expected. Once we got our first round and tasted the drinks we fully understood the 10-12 minute drink time and realized that these bartenders really mean business. we happily attributed the initial hiccup to the bar being busy and left agreeing that this place is as great of a bar as we've been to in Chicago, or anywhere else. we can't wait to go back and try the rest of the menu.

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#78 Chris Amirault

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 11:11 AM

Friday night, three friends and I put ourselves in the hands of Michael and the other able bartenders at VH for two very enjoyable hours.

We arrived at around 9:00p and were seated almost immediately. Throughout the evening, the room seemed full but never crowded; we surmised that the doorman kept only enough people in the bar to fill the number of available seats, and never saw anyone standing extra at the bar, for example. That leant a subdued air to the place, as did the carefully chosen soundtrack featuring end-of-a-busy-week Tom Waits, Johnny Cash in his final, Rick Rubin years, and the like.

We ordered family-style, in three rounds. (This listing of drinks is an approximation; the other guests can correct my recollection if theirs is less hazy.)

1 Iron Cross, Poor Liza, Daisy 17, Lady Grey

I tried the Iron Cross because I was hell-bent to taste as many of the house bitters as possible. It was a work of genius and quality ingredients, with the bitters, orange flower water and egg whites standing out in particular. It showcases the remarkable grapefruit bitters extremely well, which play throughout the drink, not just at the top or finish. I didn't catch the pisco used; Toby, can you let us know?

The Poor Liza was another perfect drink, just the choice for your non-cocktail-nut friend who wants to be wowed and then surprised when they learn that they're drinking Chartreuse and Peychaud's. Of course, if you think that those two ingredients, lemon, and pear brandy sounds vile, you should try it, too.

The Daisy 17 did a remarkable job of blending the Wild Turkey 101 with a fine house grenadine. I would have liked more of the orange bitters to offset the sweetness of the drink, though a non-cocktailian companion thought that was silly.

The Lady Grey was a nice drink, but we all agreed it didn't place the tea in a particularly prominent role, and, as such, wasn't as compelling an elixir as Audrey Saunders's Earl Grey Marteani at Pegu Club, the drink on which it's based.

2 Blue Ridge Manhattan, Maloney Negroni, Hemingway Daiquiri, Irish Pirate

I went off-menu for what turned out to be the best drink of the night: the Blue Ridge Manhattan, which Michael very kindly made for me as I watched and chatted at the bar. When I asked for a drink to feature the house peach bitters, he built this fantastic cocktail while we shared complaints about the limitations of some existing products. He rinsed a glass with Laphroaig and then peach bitters, stirred up some Jim Beam rye, NP dry vermouth, Carpano Antica, and Peychaud's, and finished with a skilfully long lemon twist. (It's possible that I messed up this recipe, I'll admit; in a note-perfect moment of speakeasy theatricality, Michael dropped a wee dram of the peach bitters on his hands, rubbed them together, and held his palms up to my outstretched nose to inhale the magnificent aroma. I nearly swooned, and thus can't be held accountable for details on what immediately followed.)

We talked about this Manhattan for a long time at the table. It was such a deft twist on the drink's base that it had a lightness of being that none of us could quite articulate -- and the fact that the drink is built around rye, bitters, and smoky Laphroaig makes that lightness remarkable. It's a Manhattan like no other.

A companion got the Irish Pirate but didn't like it, so I help finish that fine drink up, which featured the autumn bitters. (The winter bitters were a few days away from being released from their barrel, sadly.) The Negroni and Daiquiri were both excellent. We suspect that the HD has the grapefruit bitters hiding in there, since the pink grapefruit juice surely could not have had the complexity it brought to that drink.

3 Nickle Manhattan, Hotel Nacional, Airmail, Autumn Sidecar

I tried the Nickle Manhattan for a comparison with the BR, and while extremely good it suffered a bit by comparison. Don't get me wrong, it's a fine drink, but the Gilka Kummel addition didn't transform the more standard Rittenhouse/Punt e Mes/Peychaud's base.

Indeed, we wondered if it had been omitted, as there was no significant caraway tone -- and we were pretty sure that the Autumn Sidecar lacked any allspice notes from the Pimento Dram. It's possible that both ingredients were there, barely, but as they are essential to the unique Violet Hour character of the drinks, we all felt that they should be featured prominently enough to add complexity to the other standard ingredients.

The Hotel Nacional was a very good but, again, slightly sweet version of that classic. I confess I can't remember much about the Airmail.

Out of that dozen drinks I'd say that well over half were spectacular, at the level of the best cocktails I've ever had, with the BR Manhattan, Iron Cross, and Poor Liza perfect. The others needed either extremely minor receipt-tweaking or a tad more care behind the bar (Toby was, I'll add here, in NY). Finally, Violet Hours's reputation for bitters brilliance is well-deserved, and any visitor should be sure to get their fingers under a glass of two that feature them.

A final point about the very good small plates. We devoured two plates of deviled eggs and could have eaten two more each, and we polished off a couple of sandwiches. But the heroes were the fine duck meatballs, which brought out some interesting notes in several of the cocktails, particularly the rye-based drinks.

All in all, a fantastic spot, and one that seems to be doing a great job of educating the masses. Walking around, virtually everyone seemed to be drinking one classic cocktail or another, with almost no white wines, beers, or Grey Goose & sodas to be seen. I'm no expert on Chicago bars, but Violet Hour is in another league from the several upon which I've placed my elbows.
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#79 avant-garde

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 12:41 PM

Chris -

Thank you for this great write up. I always like to hear what is going on at The Violet Hour. This thread has been defunct for quite a while, so this was a nice surprise. Just a couple responses...

re: I didn't catch the pisco used; Toby, can you let us know?

My guess would be: http://www.beveragew...hp?item_id=5112

You can watch Toby make it here (if you squint I think you'll agree that is the Pisco he uses):


re: We talked about this Manhattan for a long time at the table. It was such a deft twist on the drink's base that it had a lightness of being that none of us could quite articulate -- and the fact that the drink is built around rye, bitters, and smoky Laphroaig makes that lightness remarkable. It's a Manhattan like no other.

I agree. I have been geeking out over this drink ever since I heard about it. Although I have not had the pleasure of drinking this at The Violet Hour, I have made a Manhattan with (almost) the same ingredients:

2 ½ oz. Wild Turkey Rye
1 ½ oz. Carpano Antica
3 Drops Laphroaig
2 Drops Fee Brothers Peach Bitters
2 Drops Angostura Bitters
"A woman once drove me to drink and I never had the decency to thank her" - W.C. Fields

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#80 Alchemist

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 11:15 AM

Chris, thank you for your kind words, and your constructive criticism. It is invaluable for an owner to get such feed back, especially in the first six months of an establishment opening. William Grimes brought this up a couple of weeks ago at the panel discussion with Keller and White at the 92nd street Y. Professional reviews happen when the business needs it most, but is least likely to be ready for such scrutiny. So hearing things from an enthusiastic imbiber is wonderful.

I would like to say a few things in response, without them seeming like excuses.

Creating a cocktail menu of thirty some cocktails, which undergoes changes four times a year, and tries to have something for everyone is quite a challenge. I try to design one third of the cocktails for people that have sophisticated palettes, half of the cocktails are “gateway” cocktails, and the rest are “roast chicken” cocktails. So, Chris, I think that you got a couple of the “roast chickens” which were not to your liking. Someone else who has been drinking only Cosmos for the last decade will find something attuned to their tastes and then, hopefully, be spurred on to try something more adventurous. Sorry for the “”s.

Since you were sitting at the bar it is completely fair to have your cocktail "Doctored." Not enough Gilka, or Pimento dram in your drink? Ask the bartender for a wee bit more.

You mentioned that the bar was subdued. I am not sure what your connotations are. We try to have it bustling but not packed. We use only about 2/3 of out legal capacity. We have figured that one and a half bartenders can handle aprox.30-35 customers, so that more than anything the amount of staff decides how full the bar can be. No one (especially the bartenders and servers) has any fun when the wait for a cocktail is more than 7 min.

It is great to hear that you enjoyed the staff so much. They continue to work with enthusiasm and professionalism, even when I’m here in NYC. So much of the cocktail experience is about the knowledge of the staff.

You spoke of the lightness of the Blue Ridge Manhattan. I think that comes from (what we call, for lack of a better term) it being Reverse Perfect. Instead of the vermouths being in equal measure, there is twice as much of the expected vermouth as the unexpected. Double Reverse would flip that on it’s ear, and is especially good in Martinis using gins with strong flavor profiles.

I am glad you got to try so many of my bitters. I am adding two more to my arsenal come winter. The Winter Bitters and A pomagranete bitters, along with a “Grandma’s Tinksure”.

I am blanking on the brand name of the Pisco we now use. We were using Capel, good eye avant-gaurd, but switched recently. It is two words and is something like Mae Roa. Or maybe that is just a hankering for a Mai Tai Roa Ae.

Thanks again for going to The Violet Hour. I hope you can make the trip again, and when you do I will be behind the bar.

Cheers, Toby



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#81 san

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 02:34 PM

i went for the 2nd time last night and was just as impressed (if not more) than the first. the southside was outstanding and the chi-town flip was probably the best cold weather drink i have ever had. i made a promise to myself that i would try as many different drinks as possible and it took every fiber of my being not to order a 2nd CTF. after a disappointing service experience last weekend at a top Chicago restaurant, my wife and i were totally inspired and overjoyed to see that the service at TVH is as great as the drinks- which is really saying a lot. we chatted with michael for about an hour and a half and he was totally informative and friendly. i love that a place can have so much style and not be at all snobby or 'holier than thou'- establishments that can achieve both of those great qualities are few and very far between. i can't say enough great things about this bar.

Sandy Levine
The Oakland Art Novelty Company

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#82 Chris Amirault

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 03:16 PM

Creating a cocktail menu of thirty some cocktails, which undergoes changes four times a year, and tries to have something for everyone is quite a challenge.  I try to design one third of the cocktails for people that have sophisticated palettes, half of the cocktails are “gateway” cocktails, and the rest are “roast chicken” cocktails.  So, Chris, I think that you got a couple of the “roast chickens” which were not to your liking.


I think that's exactly right. The drinks were all extremely well executed, but their flavors were sometimes not quite to my persnickety liking. I'm a fan of bitters, for example, and so didn't enjoy the sweeter drinks as much.

Since you were sitting at the bar it is completely fair to have your cocktail "Doctored."  Not enough Gilka, or Pimento dram in your drink?  Ask the bartender for a wee bit more. 


Wasn't at the bar, but that's a very accommodating practice, and next time I'll take advantage. Note, however, that we four were sharing, and the other three would not have the same petty gripes as I'm, surely!

You mentioned that the bar was subdued.  I am not sure what your connotations are. 


They were entirely positive. I was at the end of a long conference day at the execrable McCormick Center, and subdued fit the bill perfectly.

Thanks again for going to The Violet Hour.  I hope you can make the trip again, and when you do I will be behind the bar.


Until then, I'll let the memories dance in my mouth. And, again, thanks to you and your crack crew.
Chris Amirault
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#83 avant-garde

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 06:26 PM

I have to geek out for a minute and admit that ever since I heard Toby had a drink on The Violet Hour's menu called the Blue Ridge Manhattan I've been scratching my head at how I could make this drink in my own home (miles away). Or at least how I would envision it to be in my head. If there are two things I really love, it’s Islay Scotch and Rye Whiskey.

I tried making a version of the Blue Ridge Manhattan numerous times before, but ultimately decided that I just really didn’t like the Fee Brothers Peach Bitters I was adding. However, tonight I decided to say screw it and take a completely new approach. Rather than using Laphroaig, I hit my newly opened bottle of Lagavulin 16 and matched it with two of my favorite other ingredients: Carpano Antica and Peychaud’s bitters. To make a long story short, I am very happy that I took this route and ended up with what I can only call the…

Islay Manhattan

Ingredients:
2 oz. Wild Turkey Rye
1 oz. Carpano Antica
1/2 oz. Lagavulin 16
8 drops Peychaud’s Bitters

Method:
1. Add all ingredients to Boston glass.
2. Add ice and stir for 30 seconds.
3. Allow to sit 15 seconds (to dilute).
4. Stir another 30 seconds.
5. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Amazing how the empty glass afterwards almost smells like a rack of freshly smoked ribs.

Thank you for the inspiration on this one Toby…
"A woman once drove me to drink and I never had the decency to thank her" - W.C. Fields

Thanks, The Hopry
http://thehopry.com/

#84 BryanZ

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 08:15 PM

Stopped by TVH for a quick drink this weekend. It's unfortunate that my visits here have to come under such tight time constraints. Nevertheless, a nice experience. The snow allowed me to walk in on a Saturday night at about 10 with no wait. By the time we left there was a line in the vestibule but no one outside.

My evening included a lot of other imbibing at other (less pleasing) locations so I don't recall the names of my drinks. One had tequilla and an egg yolk. I know the crushed ice is a conscious move, but I thought there was too much dilution. Overall, a nice and creamy winter drink. My friend had a drink made with Gruet (it seems like Gruet is all I drink in restaurants these days); I believe it was called the Airmail. Lighter with a more fruit/citrus centered profile, but I quite enjoyed it.

I'm always shocked as to how big this place is. The separate rooms make it feel more intimate, but they do have a good amount of space.

#85 Alchemist

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 12:47 PM

On Monday The Violet Hour hosted the Christmas party for Alinia. Michael Rubel and I planned a twelve course cocktail tasting evolution. There were about 85 people at the event. It started at 8:00 and went late. Here is what we served.

Negroni
Northshore Distillery Gin #11, Vermouth Bianco, Gary Regan’s Orange bitters #6, Campari Foam, and Burnt Sage.

Sanagree
Mulled Syrah, Cognac, Apricot Brandy, Angostura Bitters, and Grandma’s Spices.

Brandy Crusta
Leopold Gourmel Primieres Saveures Cognac, Maraschino Liqueur, Lemon Juice & Peel, with House-made Orange Bitters.

Shot and a Beer
Mathusalem Classico Rum accompanied by A Miller High Life Fat Shorty.

Miraflores
Tabernero Pisco Italia, Grapefruit, Orange Blossom Honey Syrup, Miramar Bitters, Egg White and Peychaud’s Bitters.

Winter Sazerac
Old Overholt Rye, Herbsainte, Peychaud’s Bitters, and Coffee Syrup.

Philadelphia Fish House Punch
Coruba Rum, Barbencourt Year Rum, Landy Cognac, Lime and Peach Brandy.

La Brujita
Pompero Anniversario, Ginger Syrup, Lime And a river of fire.

El Helado del Hemingway
House-made Grapefruit Gelato with Guatemalan Rum and Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur – Accompanied by the smoke of a 1999 San Luis Rey Regio.

Dulca 'Maria
El Dorado Year, House-made Falernum, House-made Orange Bitters, Angostura Bitters and Lime Oil.

Sweetness and Light
Bombay Dry infused with Rare Tea Cellars’ Fields of France Rooibus Tea, Egg White, Lemon, Orange Oil, House-made Grapefruit Bitters, And Crème de Violette Liqueur.

Tom and Jerry and Toby
Cocnac, Barbencourt 8 year, Cruzan Blackstrap, Cinnamon, Cloves, All-spice, Whole Eggs, Angostura Bitters, Hot Milk and Grandma’s Secret Spices and Scents.

I would love anyone who was there to chime in on their experiences. I am still trying to add some pictures to this post. There arn't that many because I got busy, but I will add what I have. Must run but will post more tonight.



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#86 Chris Amirault

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 02:38 PM

Yow. More information, if you please:

Winter Sazerac
Old Overholt Rye, Herbsainte, Peychaud’s Bitters, and Coffee Syrup.


As a Rhode Islander, I must ask: what coffee syrup? (Warm my heart and say Autocrat.)

La Brujita
Pompero Anniversario, Ginger Syrup, Lime And a river of fire.


Detail on that last one, if you please. Is this a Blue Blazer south of the border?

Do post more.
Chris Amirault
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Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#87 Alchemist

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 03:03 PM

The coffee syrup is a 4-1 brown sugar (Domnio dark brown sugar-twice filtered water) which has been infused with espresso. It looks like motor oil, sticks to the back of a barspoon and smells like boiled down cofffe ice cream.

The River Of Fire was a blue blazer on steriods. Each of the 4 bartenders put 23 Marie Antoinettes across the front of thier station. Then filled the nipple up with Wrey & Nephew. With about 1.5 oz in another coupe. On the count of tres, they lit the coupe and drizzled flame down the line. Part of the Mise for this cocktail was a manager holding a fire extenguisher. Once everything was on fire we poured La Brujita on top quickly before the glasses started exploding. Good fun and got a standing O.



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#88 Chris Amirault

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 03:12 PM

This sentence captures the raison d'etre of eG Forums:

Part of the Mise for this cocktail was a manager holding a fire extenguisher. 

View Post


So you lit one coupe, and then poured into a non-flaming glass, lighting it, and on and on?
Chris Amirault
camirault@eGstaff.org
eG Ethics Signatory
Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

#89 Alchemist

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 03:31 PM

That night we burned sage which smells alot like pot. Then someone, in a non smoking bar, smoked a bit of a cigar, (with the Hemingway) to be reminiciant of Cuba. And then with the final course we burned some clove and nutmeg.

Yes that is a good way of putting it.



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#90 eje

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Posted 14 December 2007 - 03:43 PM

Goddamn that sounds cool.

Every cocktail listed is as inventive as any I've heard of, yet still inspired by the classics.

Congrats for pulling it off!
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA