Approximately Aviary's 2-in-1 Cocktail
By Roger Kamholz in Food on Feb 18, 2011 7:00PM
Grant Achatz and his circle are having the best week ever, thanks to great articles in the Chicago Tribune and New York Times that gave us mouth-watering previews of Next, his forthcoming West Loop restaurant project. They also reminded us what we already knew about Aviary, the experimental cocktail lounge next door. Being cocktail nerds, 51 percent of our eager anticipation lies with Aviary. So, left itching for a fix, we re-watched the footage on Aviary's YouTube channel like we were studying game tape. Skip ahead a few hours, and we're sipping on (what we think is) Aviary's dazzling 2-in-1 cocktail.
You may recall the 2-in-1 from Aviary's latest video release, in which Craig Schoettler, who will head up Aviary, demonstrates for a small group a couple of the bar's likely offerings. The 2-in-1, as he calls it, really comprises three drinks: a White Lady, a carbonated Negroni and the eventual combination of the two. They can be enjoyed separately, then mixed together. Schoettler humbly describes the marriage of the two cocktails as "something kind of cool." Obviously, we had to know what that meant.
Then it occurred to us that, despite our limited resources, we could at least take a stab at re-creating this drink, admittedly without Aviary's specific recipes. For one thing, while variations of each exist, the White Lady and the Negroni are classic cocktails whose traditional recipes (listed below) are widely known. The biggest challenge - and what helps lend the final, combined drink its particular magic - was carbonating the Negroni. That's where our home soda maker came in handy.
Our device employs one-liter carbonating bottles, but we didn't want to carbonate a full liter of Negroni (that's a lot of booze to sacrifice in the name of science). So we slid a plastic drinking straw over the nozzle to extend its reach, and mixed up about a cup and a half of Negroni to play with. (Warning labels on our machine say not to carbonate any liquid other than water. Please proceed at your own risk.)
After a heavy dose of carbon dioxide, we had our fizzy Negroni, which on its own is quite delightful. The effervescence gives what is otherwise a heavy, full-bodied drink some playful lightness. Likewise, the combination of the two cocktails is terribly intriguing. The agitated egg white gives the White Lady on its own a rich velvety texture; with the addition of Negroni's bubbles, the drink becomes heady, lively and complex. Flavor-wise, "The citrus notes of Campari pair quite lovely with the White Lady," Schoettler said in an email. "The addition of acid and bitters help round the overall sweetness of the cocktail." We have to agree; our final product was citrus-bright yet satisfyingly bitter, satisfying rich yet light on the palate. In other words, something kind of cool.
2 ounces London dry gin
1/2 ounce Cointreau
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1 egg white
Shake ingredients well with cracked ice, then strain into a chilled highball glass tall enough for the addition of the carbonated Negroni.
1 part London dry gin
1 part Campari
1 part sweet vermouth
Combine the liquid ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Stir for 20 to 30 seconds, until cold, and then strain into carbonating bottle (you may need a funnel for this). Carbonate thoroughly using soda maker. Pour desired amount into a chilled glass.
Pour the carbonated Negroni over the White Lady.