Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Day Thirty-One: Professionalism

The best is when a skilled laborer shows up to do a job while inebriated.

Day Thirty: Saint Charles Infusion Recipe

Due to popular demand, here's the recipe for the jasmine tea-infused Death's Door Gin:

Volume: For every six ounces of Death's Door Gin, add one tablespoon of loose, jasmine tea. (I get ours from Whole Foods in the bulk tea section).

Instruction: Measure tea into bottle or jar. Seal and shake, and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Double strain into some type of clean, empty vessel. Rinse out used bottle or jar to remove loose tea, and pour infusion back inside. Keeps for a long, long time.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Day Twenty-Nine: Saint Charles, Pt. III

The Starting Point: Well, I chose the Sazerac to begin with because it's a cocktail that means so much to so many people. To Señor Paul McGee, my old boss and ongoing mentor/friend/breakdance instructor, it was the drink that really opened his eyes as far as cocktails are concerned. To the people of New Orleans, it is their official cocktail. To me, it is a jolt and a hammock: the perfect refreshment and more usefully, a bartender litmus test.

Saint Charles
-2oz Jasmine tea-infused Death's Door Gin
-.25oz Rothman & Winter Apricot Liqueur
>*-.25oz Demerara Syrup
-4 dashes Peychaud's Bitters

Stir and strain into absinthe-rinsed glass.
Garnish: Express lemon peel oil over surface and hang peel on glass's lip.

*> = less than

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Day Twenty-Eight: Saint Charles, Pt. II

I named this cocktail after the hometown of two of my closest friends, Mike Boschert and Allison Wellborn*.

While Mike and I were at Tales of the Cocktail last summer, we heard a lady order up a Sazerac somewhere (Arnaud's French 75 maybe?) in the strangest, creakiest voice we'd ever heard. She said, "Usu-ally, I don't drink Saz-er-acs" and we got the biggest kick out it for absolutely no reason. I guess we were tired to the point of delirium and we honestly could not stop uttering "Saz-er-ac" for a long time afterward. We took turns saying it long after we had returned to Chicago and I'm sure that it got old quick for anyone who had to listen to it, especially Allison.

So, being that the Saint Charles is a gin-Sazerac at its core, I decided to name it on behalf of the two people it evokes for me.

Frontier Park, Saint Charles, MO.
Photo by Maguana.

*Technically, Allison's hometown is Albuquerque, but she spent just as much time in Saint Charles... So, for the sake of clean sentence construction, I've decided to keep it as you see it. My apologies for slight inaccuracy and rambling.

Stay tuned for Part III, which will contain the recipe and a bit about why I chose the Sazerac as a starting point.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Day Twenty-Seven: Saint Charles, Pt. 1

Jasmine tea-infused Death's Door Gin
 Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur
 Peychaud's Bitters
Kübler Absinthe

Day Twenty-Six: Together Outside

From left to right: Andy Gould, Danny Shapiro, Kris Nagy, Mandy Tandy, Mickey Neely.

Photo by Wendy Alas.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Day Twenty-Five: Together Inside

From left to right: Andy Gould, Mandy Tandy, Kris Nagy, Danny Shapiro, Mickey Neely.

Photo by Wendy Alas.

Day Twenty-Four: Recommended Reading for Gin Lovers

The Bartender's Gin Compendium by Gaz Regan
The Mixellany Guide to Gin by Geraldine Coates

And, I'm looking forward to Gin: A Global History by Leslie Jacobs Solmonson.

Anything else gin-specific worth reading?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Day Twenty-Three: Liquid Nails

No, not the name of a cocktail, but the name of an important adhesive. The construction keeps on going - chugga chugga choo choo.

Shopping at Home Depot. Each of us has taken too many trips.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Day Twenty-Two: The Equal Parts Negroni

I simply cannot get with the equal parts Negroni. There are seemingly so many people who feel that 1oz gin, 1oz Campari, and 1oz sweet vermouth stirred and strained is a perfect cocktail. Whether you take it over ice/neat or with an orange slice/flamed orange twist - those are separate deals altogether. What I'm trying to figure out is just how many other people are like me and find the Campari too dominant in a 1:1:1'er? Who else prefers the gin dialed up a bit?*

*The exception: if I have on hand a high proof gin (i.e. North Shore's Mighty Gin or Plymouth's Navy Strength), then I'm cool mixing an equal parter.

Day Twenty-One: Spotlight

One of our favorite gins, North Shore's #11 is a sophisticated, beautiful, juniper-forward example of a classic London Dry gin. We'll be using it quite a bit - look for it on our first cocktail menu.

The now-iconic North Shore bottle.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Day Twenty: Kitchen Construction

Sous chef Blake Jennings getting it.

Day Nineteen: Key Decision

Quite an eventful day. After some careful deliberation, we decided to push our opening back just a bit. Our new, official date is March 12, 2012. This way, we'll be able to get things just right. For example, we'll have more time to find excellent pieces like this:

Wouldn't that be something? A bar full of love seats? Yeah, I'd stay away too...

Friday, February 17, 2012

Day Eighteen: Round One

We had the pleasure of meeting potential Scofflaw employees today during our open call interviews. Thank you to those of you who came out and waited patiently; you were a charming and lovely group. We're feeling pretty, pretty good about our bar's future...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Day Sixteen: Craigslistin'

Today's craigslist journey took us to Riverside, IL where we met a lovely elderly lady named Sue and an artfully reserved gentleman named Al. They had some excellent furniture - don't want to give away exactly what kind - and great attitudes. Al, at least in his sixties, helped moved a couch to our pick-up truck and Sue played an excellent accidental prank in moving the wall-mounted mailbox from the doorway to the middle of the staircase between trips to and from the car.

The explanation: During the first two trips from the living room, down the stairs, and to the car's flatbed there was no mailbox in the staircase and then, somehow on the third trip, there was! Woah-boy! It was at least as wacky as slipping on a banana peel, considering my shoe went into the mailbox and I lost my footing all while holding a heavy chair. Glad I didn't break my neck and glad that my partner Mandy got a huge kick out of it. I got a pretty big kick out of it too; in fact, reminds me of another unexpected prank from Kris Nagy's older son, but that's a story for a different time...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Day Fifteen: Demolition

Kris Nagy tearing it up. The old bar top that is. 
(Forgive the poor photo quality.)

Day Fourteen: Bramble

Some time ago, while trying to nail down a recipe for our Basil Bramble, I decided to reach out to Mike Aikman of Edinburgh. I figured who better to ask than the man who named his bar after the cocktail in question. And, to be honest, I'd had his version this past summer and it was mighty tasty.

Bramble's Bramble (a drink invented by Dick Bradsell in the 80s - the 1980s)

-50ml Plymouth Gin
-25ml Lemon
-12.5ml Simple Syrup
-12.5ml Crème de Mûre

Build (the first three ingredients) over crushed ice in a tall glass. Float the crème de mûre over the top. Garnish with a bramble.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Day Thirteen: Tips

1. Don't pretend to be an expert in areas which you are not one. 
2. Choose color schemes ahead of time unless you crave frustration.
3. Some tasks are best left to the pros unless the pros possess less know how than you.
4. Don't hold a weapon in your hands during a meeting; this will cause others to be reluctant to disagree.
5. Don't wear the same outfit as your partners; this will cause confusion. Silliness may be a bonus, but you will still have to endure confusion.

That is all. Thank you for reading.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Day Twelve: Comfy

Tufted leather.

Day Eleven: Game Changer

We nailed down a few more recipes, adjusted to our bar stools, made progress on the room within in a room, and our kitchen is finally starting to look like a real, well cared for kitchen. Props to Mickey and Blake for their hard work and excellent attitudes. We're very, very, very excited to show you what we've got coming.

This product will soon be known across the land.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day Ten: Back Wall

An example of fine Andy Gould craftsmanship. Push one of the planks and a secret passageway opens. More on that later.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Day Five: Bartender

When you walk into his place he greets you with a smile,
Be you worker dressed in overalls, or banker dressed in style.
Be you Irish, English, Dutch, or French, it doesn't matter what,
He'll treat you like a gentleman unless you prove you're not.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Day Four: Floors Done

Apologies for yet another piece of flooring-related information. It's done; we'll stop talking about it now.

In the words of our friend, Mike Usrey, "looks like new condo floor." Thanks?

Our first patron, Monsieur Alek Nagy.

Tune in tomorrow for our next enthralling update where we promise to deliberate delivery options for the millionth day in a row.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Day Three: Floor Installation

The hard work goes to the professionals.

A small sample.

Day Two: More Flooring

Scene from a Gin Joint: We let in the flooring team. They load in their tools. We clear the remaining obstacles. They say they'll have to start tomorrow because the floor isn't perfectly level beneath the tiles we've scraped up. This comes out of nowhere, seeing as they said they'd level the floor for us. We shake our fists toward the heavens; you win this round, flooring team.

And so, today was spent much like yesterday. Scraping tile, sweeping, clearing screws and nails, rebuilding the floor in certain places, shifting things around, jump-roping, hopscotching - the usual.

We did, however, get to end on a high note. We took a short trip to Weegee's, where we celebrated Mandy's birthday. The bartender Chris ("Sire") was very accommodating and kind.

Happy Birthday, Mandy Tandy. You have the honor of being the first birthday of our crew in this post-Streetside era.

The highlight: the first time seeing our bar's name on a receipt. Twas delivered (pun intended) by The Brown Sack, one of our favorite go-to's for delivery in Logan Square.