Behind The Stick: Feel The Power Of The Flower At Trenchermen

By Paul Leddy in Food on Apr 11, 2014 4:30PM

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While editing the video shown in today’s “Behind the Stick,” we received news that the bartender we profiled, Tona Palomino, was leaving Trenchermen on April 12 to work as the sake specialist at Tenzing Wine and Spirits. The spirit and cocktail industry is certainly a place of frequent employment changes, but it was still a surprise to see Palomino leave the cocktail side of things. We have no doubt that he will be an incredible source of knowledge in the sake world.

Palomino is a quiet but important force in the industry. His background is impressive—he worked as a line cook and server in New York City at Jean Georges and wd-50 (where he began bartending) before moving to Chicago—and his approach to cocktails is just as unique. Palomino is not a flashy bartender that enters every cocktail contest. He just makes drinks that are inventive and extremely complementary to the food at Trenchermen.

“The way I look at drinks is very often through the prism of what I learned in the kitchen,” Palomino explains. “It’s either ingredients or technique that I start with to put the creative process together.”

In today’s video, Palomino makes a pisco cocktail that contains a chamomile-infused Damiana liqueur. Damiana is a shrub that is native to Mexico and Central America. It sprouts yellow flowers that turn into a fruit that has, what Palomino describes, a “fig-like quality.” He discovered the liqueur while doing research for an “aphrodisiac-themed” Valentines Day menu at wd-50. Turns out that Damiana has been used for centuries to increase the libido for both sexes. Take that Viagra-triangle.

The Flower Power Cocktail
1-1/2 ounces La Diablada Pisco
1-1/2 ounces Chamomile-infused Damiana
1/2 ounce lemon juice
1/4 ounce honey syrup (1:1 ratio)
1/4 ounce Few Spirits Malört
1/8 ounce heavy cream
Egg white

Add ingredients to a shaker tin. Dry shake then add ice.
Shake and strain in a cocktail glass, garnish with Peychaud’s bitters.

Tona Palomino (Trenchermen) - Flower Power Cocktail (2) from Chicago Cocktail Chronicles on Vimeo.

Trenchermen is located at 2039 West North Avenue