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Behind The Stick: Bradley Bolt, The Hard Sell

By Staff in Food on Nov 1, 2012 6:00PM


Behind the stick is a new video series done in collaboration with Paul Leddy, owner of Chicago Cocktail Chronicles.

I first became fascinated with cocktails after having the "Odin's Smoke" cocktail from Josh Pearson at Sepia. I never knew that a cocktail could be so complex and have so many different layers of flavor. I was fascinated by the different flavor profiles that could be created with only a few ingredients. As I started meeting other bartenders who are part of the craft-cocktail movement in Chicago, I realized that they weren't getting the attention that their peers in cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Portland were. I felt like it was important to profile these bartenders and the great work they do. In each installment I will feature a different bartender and a drink that is on their menu.

Bar Deville is a place that intentionally models itself against the usual cocktail lounge space; rather, it embraces the neighborhood bar that is the foundation of Chicago drinking history. It is a place that, as Brad Bolt says in the video, elevates "the idea of the neighborhood bar." Despite the corner bar atmosphere, Bar Deville uses only high quality products and fresh juices.

They also approach their cocktail program differently than other cocktail lounges. Bar Deville doesn't have a cocktail menu that you peruse when you sit down. Instead, they create each cocktail based on the specific requests by the guest. In the drink Bolt makes today, he took a request from a guest (made with whiskey, stirred and bitters) and used that as a starting point to create this autumnal riff on his popular cocktail called "The Hard Sell."

By the way, don't go looking for the special edition Carly Rae "Jeppson" Malört bottle that Bolt uses in the video. The bottle was a gift to one of the bartenders and they have continued to use it to store that glorious elixir known as Malört. Who says you can't put lipstick on a pig?

By Paul Leddy