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Bartenders Shaking Away For World Cocktail Week

By Chuck Sudo in Food on May 7, 2010 6:00PM


For a city that raises its bartenders to the level of some chefs, Chicago put on a decidedly weak display last year for World Cocktail Week. The anemic list of events was not lost on Drinks Over Dearborn's Kyle McHugh, whose "Speakeasy Over Dearborn" was, by default, the best of last year's events.

"I'm happy with the list of events we lined up for this year's WCW and, more important, the participation from other bartenders is greatly improved. There's a palpable excitement among those I've contacted to participate," McHugh told us while in line for beer at Dark Lord Day. While McHugh is still running point in organizing the events, he also received some major assistance from the Drawing Room's Charles Joly and Mercadito's Daniel de Oliveira. Last night's kickoff event at Mercadito's Double A Lounge was a cocktail crawl whereSable Bar & Grill had to open up more space to accommodate attendees before hitting the Drawing Room.

This year's events are designed to both entertain and educate. All proceeds from local WCW events are going to benefit the Museum of the American cocktail in New Orleans. read on to see what's happening.


Midwest Spirits Festival at Drinks Over Dearborn (650 N. Dearborn, 2nd Floor, Noon - 6PM)

McHugh's River North boutique wine and spirits shop will host a walk-around tasting of the best spirits being produced in the Midwest. Distilleries include North Shore, Koval Distillery, Templeton Rye, Hum Spirits Co. and Death's Door Spirits. Many of the owners and distillers themselves will be present to talk about their handcrafted, locally made spirits. Over 15 different spirits will be on display. Drinks Over Dearborn will also have a local mixology showcase running the same time. Each mini-class is a $15 donation to Museum of the American Cocktail, or 3 for $30. Only 10 seats per class! Some of the citys finest bartenders share their tricks of the trade in these mini-classes aimed at professional bartenders and passionate amateurs alike.

12:00 - Josh Pearson (Sepia): Embury's 6 Basic Cocktails
1:00 - Lynn House (Fat Cat, graham elliot): Fresh Summer Sippers
2:00 - Peter Vestinos (Wirtz Beverage Group): Infusing Flavors Into Spirits
3:00 - Charles Joly & Tim Lacey (Drawing Room/Angel's Share Mixology): Tiki Cocktails
4:00 - Kyle Fountaine (Blackbird): Using Fresh Ingredients in Cocktails
5:00 - Adam Seger (Hum Spirits Co./Nacional 27): Cocktail Bitters


"Shift Drinks" at Pops for Champagne (601 N. State St., downstairs, 9PM-2AM)

Seger and Del Maguey mezcal founder Ron Cooper step behind the bar for this weekly industry night event. All tips from the night will be donated to The Museum of the American Cocktail.


Cocktail dinner at Sepia (123 N Jefferson, 6:30)

de Oliveira teams up with Sepia's Josh Pearson and Todd Appel of Crimson Lounge for a Spirited Dinner in honor of the Museum of the American Cocktail. Charcuterie and welcome cocktails from 6:30 to 7:00. Following that is a 3 course dinner paired with cocktails featuring Beefeater, Beefeater 24, and Plymouth Gin. Pernod Ricard USA will be making a donation to the Museum and we will be taking donations from guests.

Mezcal dinner at Salud Tequila Lounge (1471 N Milwaukee, 7 p.m., $45)

Del Maguey's Cooper will be the special guest for a 3 course mezcal dinner co-sponsored with Cointreau.


"Tiki Over Dearborn" at Drinks Over Dearborn (9 p.m.)

McHugh is set to transform Drinks Over Dearborn again, this time into a tiki lounge. Tiki-inspired cocktails featuring Absolut vodka, Plymouth gin, and other Pernod Ricard-branded spirits. A "pig roast" including classic Polynesean foods, a fortune-telling witch doctor, hermit crab races, hula lessons, live island-inspired music, limbo contests, and more. As with last year's "speakeasy" event, "Tiki Over Dearborn" is free to attend, but tickets available exclusively via Drinks Over Dearborn's email, Facebook, and Twitter followers - tickets and RSVP REQURIED. $10 donations to the Museum are highly recommended, with other means of museum support available throughout the evening.