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Alchemist

The Violet Hour

327 posts in this topic

I hate not living in Chicago.  Looks like a spectacular event.

Well, apparently, living in Chicago isn't sufficient to get one's self invited to Alinea's Christmas party at the Violet Hour. Sure, I don't work at Alinea or even know anyone who works at Alinea but, geez, I'm in the book. They could've called...

Kurt


“I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake--which I also keep handy.” ~W.C. Fields

The Handy Snake

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I'm not sure how many times you have too eat at Alinia in a year to get the invite to thier x-mas party. Twice? maybe three times a week? Get on the phone and start making rezos now.

Toby


A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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I'm not sure how many times you have too eat at Alinia in a year to get the invite to thier x-mas party.  Twice? maybe three times a week?    Get on the phone and start making rezos now. 

Toby

Hahahaha... $8,416.14 later and you get to go to the Christmas party at TVH with Grant. And all you had to do was eat there four times.


Edited by avant-garde (log)

"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/

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Probably a stupid question - but does anyone know if the Violet Hour will be open on NYE?

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gallery_36478_5501_7698.jpg

Negroni

gallery_36478_5501_12653.jpg

Sanagree

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El Helado del Hemingway

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A HUGE Amount of T&J&T batter.  44 eggs went into it.  We were sore for days.

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T&J&T batter ready to serve.  Those are the big water pitchers.

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A couple of very happy customers.

Happy holidays

Toby

Is that Biggles??

Keep up the good work.


"Go ahead, play with your food....we do!" -Tommy Head

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Probably a stupid question - but does anyone know if the Violet Hour will be open on NYE?

I'm sorry to say The Violet Hour will be closed on NYE for a private party.

Toby


A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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We are going to be in Chicago on the 17th & 18th and are going to try to come in. Your place looks just fantastic. We're lucky here in SF to have Bourbon & Branch and Rye and am glad to see Chicago has a great bar like yours.

The Alinea party looked like big trouble! Hope there was a line of taxis at the door at the end of the night! What a time that must have been.

Congratulations on doing something you obviously truly love.

Two questions: Using Slivovitz in anything? What are the hours now?

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The Violet Hour Hours (Brought to by the redundant department of repitition.) Are 6-2 every day of the week I would recccomend going early especially if you are planning to go on Fri the 18th. Sit at the Bar. If there is a wait tell the door person you will wait a little longer for the bar, give him your cell and tell him you flew all the way from the west coast to have a cocktail at TVH. Then head across the street-and 1 block north- to Forno for a glass of champagne. Actually I believe it is New Mexican sparkling wine, yum. If it is friday talk to Micheal. He will be very excited to have some people that don't want Grey Goose and Red Bulls.

The Alinia Party was one of the most fun and challenging parties I have ever worked. Luckily there was a line of taxis out side to wisk some of us Exit. Exit is a wonderfully grungy punk bar just down the street. It used to be on wells in the bad old days, and if you handcuffed yourself to the bar you drank for free. Good fun. It's decore runs towards matte black and chain link. The music is a very ecclictic mix of punk rock, old school punk, hardcore punk, srtaightedge punk, skater punk, thrash punk, and new school punk. Cheap beer and screamed conversation is just what you need after a 12 course cocktail epic journey (one can hardly call 12 cocktails a flight).

I would love to hear about your experiance. Have a wonderful time in the City of Broad Shoulders.


A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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highflyingbird - we were there this past Saturday night at 7:30 and got a table no problem. Stayed for 3 wonderful drinks for each of us and some apps. When left at 10pm (to head for Avec for some yummy Jamon Iberico) the line was out the door. Go early if you don't want to stand in the cold and wait. What we loved about it was that we had no idea people were waiting - the bar never filled up to the point where you couldn't move and the noise level was never too loud, so we didn't feel rushed to leave. I don't think there was anyone standing and drinking in the front room. Combine that with the great drinks - we left very happy.


I like cows, too. I hold buns against them. -- Bucky Cat.

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A hearty congratulations to Toby and The Violet Hour for the Reader's Critic's Choice Pick for 2007:

A restaurant rat’s favorite places in 2007

By Mike Sula

January 3, 2008

Journalists are like rats, not only because we like to eat but also because powerful forces are trying to eradicate us. Ratatouille, an animated film about a cheffy rat and probably the most meaningful movie of all time for food nerds, resonated especially for me because the Reader, my home for more than a decade, underwent some heartbreaking downsizing this year. Sure, I identified with the movie’s food critic, Anton Ego—in fact, I dressed as him for Halloween—but I felt more for Remy the rodent, who was under constant threat yet comforted and sustained by his passion for cooking. For my part, I’m grateful for the opportunity to take solace in eating well and writing about it. And I’m encouraged that 2008 is the Year of the Rat. Here, in no particular order, are some people, places, and dishes that made me feel better during the long Year of the Pig. You can read about all of them at greater length online by clicking the links in this piece at chicagoreader.com.

THE VIOLET HOUR

Some people thought I’d lost my bearings when I tried to convince them that Toby Maloney’s neo-speakeasy wasn’t just a set piece for Wicker Park hipsters to dump their money into. But this year in that bar I’ve learned more about how to taste and drink like an adult than in all my years above legal age. Try the Dark & Stormy—you’ll see. 1520 N. Damen, 773-252-1500

And I believe an earlier and delightful review, but also included in this week's reader:

The Violet Hour 1520 N. Damen | 773-252-1500

$ Bar/lounge | Sunday-friday 6 Pm-2 am, saturday 6 PM-3 am | Reservations not accepted

Wicker Park’s hidden Violet Hour is a dark, sumptuously appointed retreat from the harsh world outside, attended by nattily dressed barkeeps who exhibit a balletic facility with jigger, shaker, and glass. “Head intoxicologist” Toby Maloney in particular is a blast to watch, building his complicated potions with aggressive grace and dexterity, his showmanship tempered by a chef’s palate and a historian’s depth of knowledge. His seasonal cocktail menu employs house-made bitters, fresh juices and garnishes, and eight types of ice in different shapes, sizes, and temperatures. The bartenders are warm, well versed in cocktail culture, and happy to guide you through the drink list. —Mike Sula

http://www.chicagoreader.com/features/stor...aurants/080103/

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Thanks for the replies. Well, we'll be five people, so maybe the bar is not an option?

I think we'll be there sometime just after 6 since we have dinner reservations later both nights (Moto, Green Zebra) and that way us soft west coasters won't be popsicles waiting to get in! Maybe we'll try for Thursday, too. I already know I'm going to fall in love with the place.

Thanks for the tip on Forno. I've had that bubbly and it is good. Exit sounds totally awesome. I'll bring my handcuffs. ;)

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Ding, Ding, Ding, Somebody please give that man a Delux over-under washer dryer combo from Whirlpool!!


A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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We at The Violet hour are pleased to have an out of town luminary joining us behind the bar for a few days in mid February. Joaquin Simo of Death & Company, NYC, will take a post behind the mahogany Feb. 11th through the 13th. At the same time our own Kirk Estopinal will be in NYC at D&C shaking up TVH cocktails.

This is part of a nationwide bartender exchange program to spread good will, wicked cocktails, knowledge and techniques between cities. The idea is a simultaneous stage for bartends. We hope that it will be a win, win, win situation. The drinking public gets to try cocktails from an other city without the inconvenience of modern day air travel, the staff a both establishments get to hang out and talk shop and see someone else’s cocktails, and the industry is benefited by

This is the first of these exchanges, so I must entreat all our regulars to join us plus anyone who has been wanting to try the fantastic cocktails of D&C while watching a master at work. The success of this exchange will affect how the program runs.

Here is the eGullet link to the Death & Company thread.

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=97439

See you soon

Toby


A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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We finally made it to the Violet Hour last night. I've been looking forward to it since this thread started, but a combination of busyness in the week/fear of queues on the weekend/general not going to bars due to dislike of smoke had meant that we hadn't got round to it. Anyway, we went along a little before 7, got seats at the bar, and had a fantastic couple of hours. It's pretty rare for me to go somewhere with as high expectations as I had and not feel some disappointment, but this was one of those occasions; I think we'll be coming back a lot in the next few months.

I'm not very good at describing drinks, but I feel I have to say something about my second drink. I asked for something which would show off the house-made bitters, and was offered an Old Fashioned; not a drink I've thought much about in the past. It was one of the best cocktails, if not the best, I've ever had. The whole experience - the feel of the bar itself, the friendly and informative staff, the drinks - all perfect.

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Which bitters did they use? The winter bitters weren't available when I was there in November.

I'm not completely sure, to be honest; several kinds of orange bitters.

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At The Violet we treat the old fashioned as more of a style of cocktail. We take the original idea-a spirit slightly sweetened, with bitters and a citrus garnish-and then riff from there. The drink is so very different with the smallest changes. I can belive that there were some House Orange Bitters in there. But, say if it was really cold the bartender could have donated some Winter Bitters, if it was a nice day out maybe the Autumn Bitters might have been contributed. Maybe the bartender wanted to showcase the lemon that was going to be part of the garnish, and used some House Lemon bitters. Maybe the bartender went down south and made a tequila old fashioned with agave syrup and grapefruit bitters. Maybe tsg20 had a cocktail earlier in the evening with an element they really enjoyed, and so the bartender echoed that.

I guess you could say I’m not sure but I’m so very glad that tsg20 was not let down by us despite such high expectations.

Toby


A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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That's very interesting! I guess it may well turn out to be a drink that I never have quite the same again - which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing, as I'm not sure that a repetition could live up to my memory, in any case. All of the variants you've described sound excellent, in any case.

I just had my first go at making an old fashioned at home - only mildly successful, as I don't think the Angostura bitters were quite up to the job (either that, or my technique was lacking).

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I hope that every old fashioned at The Violet Hour is surprising, memorable and one of the best drinks you’ve ever had. The Old fashioned and the Manhattan are 2 drinks that can do that, as there are virtually infinite riffs by each and every bartender who makes them. If you find that there is one variation in particular that you can’t live without, ask the bartender the specs, and then write them down, and keep them in your wallet. Bust them out on slow nights in bars that have all the components. This never offended me but there might be someone who is. If they are tuck the card back in your wallet and order a Cuba Libre.

What was your technique? And how long have you had your bottle of Angostura? I have found that after a while it gets flat and mealy. Try getting a new one and smell them back-to-back. Did you use 2x1 demmerarra syrup? and a nice thick skinned Sunkist orange. Drinks with the fewest components are the hardest to make. Any help I can give is surely yours.

Toby


A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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Old fashioned with anejo, mescal, and agave syrup I had at PDT was pretty ridiculous.

The bartender exchange idea sounds very, very cool. I just spent some time at Vessel in Seattle, and I think what they're doing over there is definitely on par with TVH and NYC's best. Would love to see that bar get brought into the fold.

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I haven't tried Jim's version, but I'm sure it is amazing. His cocktails are always so well balanced and interesting.

The Tequila Old Fashioned has been a standard cocktail for a few years. Depending on the tequila you use depends on what you use to sweeten it. The Crema de Mescal is wonderful because it is so smoky. The agave nectar is great as is cane syrup. Bitters can be used to echo the garnish or to compliment the complexity of the tequila. Garnish can be lemon, lime orange or grapefruit.

Toby


A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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The bartender exchange idea sounds very, very cool.

It is, and I think it's unusual at this high level. Call me paranoid and out of touch, but I can't imagine Keller and Kunz swapping roles for a week. What is it about you Cocktail Gods that makes the free and fair exchange of information so natural and desireable?


Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel

1912-2008

A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites

margaretmcarthur.com

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The stage is a time-honored tradition in the culinary world. The point of it is not to get free labor for a couple of days -that's what externs are for- but for everyone to work side by side and then share a few tricks, tips, and beers at the end of a long day. There must be the sharing/passing down/ along of knowledge or each generation would have the Sisyphean task of reinventing the wheel.

And this bartender exchange is like a stage on steroids. Soon you will be able to go into The Violet Hour, and if you are having a jones for a particular D & C, drink get it if we have all the components. We of course will give credit to whom and from whence it originated. And if the bartender doesn’t have the ingredients they will be able to make you something very similar. That’s tough to do at a restaurant. Can you imagine sitting in one restaurant and ordering another’s food? Bartenders have no problem making each other’s drinks as long as they are also allowed to play a bit themselves with the customers drink choices.


A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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