Try Antique Cocktail Recipes At The Streeterville Loews' New Pop-Up Bar
By Anthony Todd in Food on Apr 29, 2016 2:59PM
The Traveller Bar. Photo courtesy of Loews.
Hiding in the lobby of the Loews Hotel in Streeterville are some unique pieces of cocktail history. Behind glass are copies of some of the rarest cocktail recipe books in existence, books like Jerry Thomas's "The Bartender's Guide" from 1862, Trader Vic's Book of Food and Drink from the 1940s, and the Official Handbook of the NYC Bartenders Associate from 1895. Best of all, at the new Traveller Bar, you can drink from these books while you look at them.
The "Traveller Bar" is a portable bar that is traveling (hence the name) to Loews locations around the country, spending a month in each hotel. It's a four-seat bar, wood-paneled, with the aforementioned classic books on shelves above the back bar. It's like a tiny, intimate cocktail bar, except that it's sitting in the soaring lobby of the hotel.
All of the drinks are inspired by (or taken directly from) the collection of antique cocktail books, and you can learn a lot about cocktail origins by drinking there. You can try a Whiskey Cocktail, made with bourbon, demerara, bitters and cointreau, the forerunner of the Old Fashioned. You can sip on a Lucien Gaudin, a bitter gin cocktail that is an early ancestor/variation of the negroni that was named after a 1920s French fencing champion. There is an early version of the margarita, an original-style daiquiri and more.
There's even an iPad app, available at the bar, that has the origin stories of all the drinks and (more exciting for a cocktail geek) photos and descriptions of all the antique cocktail books scattered around the bar. Spend a couple of hours drinking and going on a miniature scavenger hunt; you won't be bored, for sure.
The Traveller Bar is going to be at the Streeterville location till May 18, at which point it will pick up and move to the O'Hare location, and then on to parts unknown. That gives you more than two weeks to stop by and grab a drink.