If you are looking for an experience well-versed in cocktail culture, Wicker Park’s Prohibition style cocktail lounge; The Violet Hour is where old-fashioneds are made with style and enjoyed to celebrate every day. This cocktail lounge is a throwback to an era that captivates a wide audience keen on artisanal libations. This James Beard Award-winning bar takes its cocktails seriously and the Besteryear team takes cocktail glassware just as seriously. We paired them together to share two drinks that will inspire you for the rest of the summer.
The Violet Hour’s, Alyssa Heidt, who, on occasion, has been known to compete in Speed Rack – an all-female speed bartending competition which shines a spotlight on female mixologists thriving behind bars around the country – was kind enough to create a few specialty cocktail recipes specially for us (not on the menu at The Violet Hour)! These cocktails are served in Besteryear vintage glassware – the perfect compliment to the sought-after cocktails that The Violet Hour is known for.
Our curated Art Deco, Prohibition Era & Mid Century Modern vintage glassware can be used to shake-up any cocktail, but we have a special affection for Alyssa and her magical creations.
Alyssa Heidt’s cocktail recipes were not only designed around our glassware, but are also focused on seasonal ingredients that can be found at your local farmer’s market, in your backyard, or at the grocery store. The drinks below are not in the typical Violet Hour style, but are sure to please. Thanks to the team at Violet Hour These drinks are easy to make and can be prepared in a few shakes of a cocktail shaker.
Besteryear BBQ Smash
2.0 oz Old Grandad 114 proof bourbon
.75 oz Fresh lemon juice
.50 oz The Violet Hour + Sauce, Batch #1
4 Fresh mint leaves
1/4 Ripe peach
Pinch smoked paprika
Pinch Kosher salt
Muddle peach in shaker, add the rest of the ingredients plus ice, shake for 10 seconds and strain into glass (double straining is recommended and can be done using a tea strainer or any other fine mesh metal strainer).
Garnish with a mint bud, peach slice, and/or a pinch of smoked paprika.
This is a modern twist on a classic whiskey smash, the recipe of which dates all the way back to 1888. This particular smash is meant to be a backyard BBQ in a glass. Just add people for a great summer occasion.
*Alyssa’s pro tip: by let the cocktail sit for 20 minutes before shaking on ice, the flavors of peach and mint will be much more vibrant.
Another summer libation is closely related to the Tom Collins. We call it the sweeter cousin, “Honeydew Collins,” and it’s the perfect partner for a hot summer day when paired with the Besteryear lemonade set.
2.0 oz Clear spirit (Hayman's Old Tom gin was used here)
.75 oz Fresh lemon juice
.50 oz Simple syrup (equal parts sugar to water)
4 Cubes ripe honeydew melon
Pinch Kosher salt
2.0 oz Grapefruit-flavored soda
Garnish with lemon and lime peel, fennel fronds
Pour 2 oz. soda in empty Collins glass. In the shaker muddle honeydew melon, add rest of ingredients plus ice and shake hard for 5 seconds. Strain into glass, then add ice to fill. Garnish with fennel fronds and lemon and lime peels.
This drink is a seasonal riff on a classic Tom Collins, a drink dating all the way back to the late 18th century. This is what Alyssa call a "patio pounder", meaning it is something refreshing and not too challenging to the palate, allowing for enjoyment all day long.
These tasty summer cocktails paired with Besteryear glassware will stir up your summer party! Wishing you a fun rest of the summer season – enjoy the party.
What’s Behind The Bar Quick Fun FAQs:
- Alyssa likes to make up names for new cocktails as if she was naming a new band: drawing inspiration from forgotten idioms, unusual phrases, and nostalgic memories.
- Ice is a BIG deal at The Violet Hour. It is made in a block style with filtered water, and is denser than regular ice so it doesn't melt as quickly.
- When mixing a drink, always start with the less expensive ingredients first, then build up to the most expensive ingredient. That way if you make a mistake along the way, precious booze won't be wasted.
- The Violet Hour +, Batch #1 is VH signature Old Fashioned mix dubbed as the “secret sauce”. Available in 8oz and 1.67oz (airplane bottle) sizes, available for purchase at: several Binny’s throughout the Chicagoland area, Publican Quality Meats, Publican Tavern in O’hare and at The Violet Hour. It’s also a tasty ice cream topper.
You can find the dress Alyssa is wearing below, here.