Cocktails to enjoy during Chicago Air & Water Show 2016

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The Jet Pilot is a strong one!
The Jet Pilot is a strong one!

Great cocktail ideas are fun to tie with special occasions like the Chicago Air & Water Show going on August 20-21, 2016. But that doesn’t mean you couldn’t enjoy them other times of the year if you get the recipe.  So here’s one from Rosebud Restaurants that’ll knock your socks off and maybe even make you feel like you’re up there flying with the pilots…

Rosebud Restaurants are offering this specialty drink just for the Air and Water Show; it’s called the Rosebud Jet Pilot and cost $12.

Rosebud’s Jet Pilot cocktail

1 oz spiced rum
1 oz Malibu® coconut rum
1 oz Bacardi® white rum
1 oz Bacardi® Limon rum
2 oz cranberry juice
2 oz orange juice
2 oz pineapple juice
1 tsp grenadine syrup
2 oz Peach Schnapps

 

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Eat haute and help inspire new chefs – Charlie Trotter Project

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Chicago always inspires
Chicago always inspires

Eat at a gourmet restaurant any day between today, Thursday August 17 and Sunday August 21, select a Charlie-Trotter-inspired menu item, and know that proceeds will benefit the Pillars of Excellence Mentor Program of The Trotter Project, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that seeks to inspire, train, and provide opportunities for aspiring chefs and hospitality professionals.

Special thanks to United Airlines, the official airline partner of The Trotter Project that will donate $1 for every Choice Menu Bistro on Board item sold on all domestic flights, August 17-21, 2016.

Stay up to date with menus and new restaurant additions to Charlie Trotter Day: follow @TrotterProject on Twitter and @TheTrotterProject on Instagram, LIKE us on Facebook, and join the conversation with #CharlieTrotterDay. And go visit one of these fine restaurants in the city:

  • A10
  • Acadia
  • Ampersand Wine Bar
  • Appellation Wine Bar & Restaurant
  • Balena
  • bellyQ
  • Swift and Sons beautiful private dining area
    Swift and Sons beautiful private dining area

    Brindille

  • The Bristol
  • Formento’s
  • Goddess and the Baker
  • GreenRiver
  • GT Fish & Oyster
  • Intro
  • The Lobby at The Peninsula Chicago
  • mfk
  • MK the Restaurant
  • Naha
  • Salero
  • Swift & Sons
  • Taus Authentic
  • Yusho Hyde Park
  • Yusho Logan Square
    * All restaurants are in Chicago
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Drink up for National Rum Day August 16

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Have you discovered the beautiful flavors of serious rum? While rum is one of the oldest and most popular spirits in the world, it comes in a wide range of qualities.  Below are a few ideas for celebrating National Rum Day on August 16, 2016

Fine Diplimatico rum with coffee, chocolate and lime - num
Fine Diplimatico rum with coffee, chocolate and lime – num

Premium means top quality, and it’s certainly true about Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva (SRP $40). This rum received a Double Gold Medal from the San Francisco World Spirits Competition and a score of 92 from the prestigious Ultimate Spirits Challenge this year.

Diplomático comes from Venezuela, where sipping cocktails along the 2500 miles of coastline is part of every day life. So skip the rum-n-cola or rum punch this National Rum Day and  treat yourself to a lovely cocktail set off with chocolate and coffee notes.

Willie Juancho and The Chocolate Factory
1.5 oz Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva
.5 oz Dark Creme de cacao
Instant coffee
Lime
Stir Diplomático and Crème de Cacao.  Wet the rim of a snifter glass with lime and dip in instant coffee and pour the mix into prepared snifter glass.

On a completely different rum note, thanks to RumJumbie sending samples, we’ve recently discovered the joys of premium Jumbie flavored rums – Pineapple Splash and Coconut Splash.  These are premium rums – you can tell from the first rich sip. No aftermath of fake pineapple or coconut flavors; instead you get a feeling of smoothness and richness in these liquors, even drunk neat. I’m not normally a tropical drink fan, but these rums didn’t need all the added sugar and flavor-disguisers that many tropical cocktail recipes call for.

What really surprised me was my immediate urge to pour the Coconut Splash rum all over some kind of fruit. Almost any fruit sounded appealing, but I happened to have a chunk of nicely ripe watermelon on the counter. So I chopped off a hunk and did just that. Chopped the melon into bite-size pieces and poured the coconut-infused rum over it. Yes, yes. Refreshing in the extreme. And so delicious. I then started picturing it on top of things like creme brûlée, peach or nectarine slices, ice cream, brownies, and on and on. No liquor has ever inspired me with so many ideas, mostly in the dessert category or, if I should happen to be – or want to be – on vacation, I’d find the idea of fruit/dessert-with-rum positively inspiring for brunch. ” )

English: The Meyer lemon, Citrus × meyeri.
English: The Meyer lemon, Citrus × meyeri. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Pineapple Splash made me think of mixing with red fruit juice of some sort with lots of ice and maybe a squirt/slice of lime or Meyer lemon. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination. We’ve tried a lot of rums over the years, and these seem to have a friendly vibe. And at about 15 bucks a bottle, they’re an exotic bargain. Read more at www.rumjumbie.com, including the history of the unusual name.

Happy #National Rum Day today!
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New Nando’s – August 7 – help downtown Chicago park

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If you haven’t tried it yet, now’s a great time to go enjoy some juicy, spicy, flame-grilled chicken at Nando’s PERi-PERi. It’s a totally unique, fast casual kind of place where the food is excellent and you can enjoy special sodas or a glass of wine with your meal.

They’ve only been in Chicago a year, but this South African-Portuguese restaurant known around the world is hatching its eighth Chicago-area restaurant at 227 E. Ontario in Streeterville. If you go on opening day, Sunday Aug. 7th, 100% of what you spend will get donated to help renovate the popular Seneca Park and the Eli M. Schulman Playground at Chicago Avenue and Mies van der Rohe Blvd.

“When a new Nando’s opens, we like to be good neighbors by partnering with local non-profits to help the community,” said Burton Heiss, CEO of Nando’s PERi-PERi USASince opening in Chicago in spring 2015, Nando’s has raised more than $100,000 for local non-profits.

“We are delighted to have a Nando’s in our neighborhood, and we so appreciate their commitment to improving this important public space,” said Marc Schulman, who chaired the 1990 campaign to create the playground and rebuild Seneca Park in honor of his father, the late Eli M. Schulman, a well-known restaurateur who was active in promoting Chicago and helping youth. 

nandos food lowres 300

Every Nando’s is carefully designed and completely unique, with earthy textures and bright colors that reflect its sunny African-Portuguese heritage. In Streeterville, Nando’s has transformed a former U.S. Post Office into a colorful and inviting destination. An over-sized mural by South African painter John Murray adds vibrant pinks and reds to the main dining room wall. In the United States alone, there are more than 700 pieces of original African art in Nando’s restaurants.

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3 Chicago spots for wine or beer dinners

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Wildfire wine dinner place settings
Wildfire wine dinner place settings

Ever been to a wine dinner? They go on around the city all the time, yet can be quite different. Naturally, the featured wines are important. And, of course, the chef-inspired menu is critical. One of the best we’ve run across for consistently good menus and consistently generous pours is Wildfire’s wine dinners, 159 W. Erie in downtown Chicago.

Their most recent one, held in late July in Wildfire’s private party room, featured selections from Cambria Estate Vineyards including a lovely “Tepusquet Vineyard” Viognier 2014 served with creative appetizers – watermelon tuna tartare with sriracha mayo on an herb cracker and grilled plump shrimp “lollipops” to dip in spicy passionfruit sauce.

Next came a generous cut of grilled white sturgeon in a rose-colored peach-butter sauce paired with Cambria’s “Benchbreak” Chardonnay 2014, a light, unoaked white with notes of tropical fruits. Delicious. And compliments to the chef on his handling of meats – the mustard-crusted beef tenderloin practically melted in your mouth.  We urge you to give Wildfire a try next time they do a wine dinner, usually priced ~$80 to $90 plus tax and tip. They do one almost every month, except for August when they’re doing a beer dinner and holiday months November and December). Check out the Joel Gott wine dinner coming up September 20.

Da Vinci Restaurant, 1732 N. Halsted, is another restaurant that does slightly more affordable (~$50 +tt) but also highly enjoyable wine dinners. Coming up August 10 with Zito wines look for antipasti, pasta – in this case, penne with zucchini, tomato, goat cheese stuffed zucchini flower) – secondo, and dessert. The restaurant itself is broken into multiple cozy dining areas and the wine dinner usually takes place in one of those that fits the number of guests. Friendly service, nice lighting, comfortable ambiance.

And for those who love their beer, aptly named Goose Island Brewery, 1800 N. Clybourn, this summer got rid of its wine & spirits license to become a strictly beer restaurant. Besides carrying a really large assortment of all types of beers, from stouts to ales to lagers, they worked hard on expanding what you can do with beer. Imagine drinking a “bocktail” with your brunch. Choose from a Sofie Mimosa (Sofie lager and orange juice), a Michalada (tomato juice, lime, cayenne, celery salt and SPF), a Peach Wit Shandy (lemon juice, peach syrup, Willow St. Wit) or a Beer-rita (lime & organge juice infused with cilantro & jalapeno, All Purpose IPA).  The servers are well-versed in their listings and can help you figure out what you might like. Serving lunch, brunch, pub fare, burgers, greens and soup and more.

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