After a rough patch in the road, I've become a huge fan of the Violet Hour, Wicker Park's cocktailian oasis. At $11 per, the drinks are stiff in both senses of the word, but to sit at the bar and observe the skill, precision, and yes, love that goes into them, you quickly realize that these fully organoleptic potions are oceans away from the sugary, unbalanced (but comparably priced) splashtinis sloshed together in innumerable fancypants boites. You take your first sip and realize you could be standing on the precipice of a dangerous habit.
There's a story coming up in this week's restaurants section about how Alchemy Consulting partners Toby Maloney and Jason Cott came together, and eventually created one of the most exciting things to happen to drinkers in this city since the passage of the 21st Amendment. During the course of my um, research, I videotaped Maloney mixing various cocktails from the bar's summer menu (soon to be supplanted by the fall's), which we'll be posting over the coming days. Since I volunteered myself for quality control you may notice a progressive decline in camera control, but you'll still get to see Maloney mix his magic. In today's video he makes a Dark & Stormy, a spicy, visually stunning concoction of Matusalem rum, fresh squeezed lime juice, and house-made ginger syrup, topped off with dark Cruzan Black Strap rum. Prefer whiskey to rum? Ask for a Presbyterian.