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Drink This: The Aviary's Yuzu Cocktail

By Paul Leddy in Food on Jun 19, 2013 8:30PM

As fans of The Aviary, we love the way some of their cocktails are constructed to let the flavors evolve while one enjoys the drink. For instance, their popular “Porthole” cocktail continually infuses herbs and botanicals so that your first sip of the cocktail is completely different from the last.

On a recent visit to The Aviary, we were surprised to see a small French Press being used for their cocktail called “Yuzu.” We spoke with Charles Joly, beverage director, on how this quick infusion works and how the cocktail is constructed.

Chicagoist: What was the inspiration behind the “Yuzu” cocktail?

Charles Joly: [It] was directly influenced by Spring in the Midwest. There are earthy, floral components that remind me of the time of year. The end result is bright and refreshing with layers of complexity from the botanicals.

Chicagoist: What are the ingredients in the cocktail?

CJ: The cocktail portion of the presentation is Ford's Gin, housemade yuzu cordial, Breckenridge Bitter and lemon. The French press has chamomile, bitter orange, dandelion root, white peppercorn, coriander, thyme and lemon peel.

Chicagoist: How is the cocktail made and how is the French Press used?

CJ: The press is used to create [an] a la minute infusion and [it] also helps to keep the ingredients held back so they don't pour into the glass when the cocktail is served. The guest can see all of the components working together. The sequence of events is: fill the French Press with all of your dry botanicals (we weigh everything by grams to be very consistent), build the cocktail in the shaker- shake and strain into press over botanicals. Allow to steep (3-4 minutes works great), press and pour into a chilled glass.

The Aviary is located at 955 W. Fulton Market