Here's The Jist:

As a Drink Editor I receive a lot of requests for restaurant, bar and nightlife recommendations. So I started a blog to chronicle Chicago's social scene which eventually morphed into New York's drinking and dining scene. After years in Chicago, I'm now a full time resident of NYC, the East Village to be exact. Look forward to sharing the latest and greatest from the wine & spirits world, straight from the Big Apple.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Cabana Cachaca dinner at Japonais

Last week I went to Japonais for a Founders dinner to celebrate the re-launch of Cabana Cachaca. Confession: It was my first time at Japonais. It’s so funny how there are those must-see restaurants in Chicago that, to be quite honest, I just never get around to visiting. The menu was tightly edited with food selections that complemented each drink. The first two cachaca drinks were created by Kyle McHugh, a Chicago mixologist and founder of, a go-to web resource for spirit aficionados. Kyle actually just opened his own liquor haven. Stay tuned for details about that establishment. Word on the street is that he only carries three vodka brands and you better believe it’s not a mass produced selection.

Upon arrival we headed downstairs to the uber chic lounge area where we were greeted with The Autumn Harvest, my personal favorite, made with Cabana, Looza peach nectar, orange juice, Fee Brothers peach bitters, cinnamon and four whole cloves. So perfect for Fall.

Then it was upstairs to a private dining area where we had our choice of a first course. I went for the ridiculously rich crab cakes with mustard soy sauce. Then it was on to sampling The Flowering Orchid with a second course selection. The Flowering Orchid was served in a martini glass with of course, a fresh orchid garnish. What I loved about the Flowering Orchid (Cabana, Navan, lemon juice, cranberry honey syrup, ponzu sauce and a spritz of rose flower water) was the touch of Navan Vanilla Liqueur that adds a hint of sweetness. This exotic drink was served with Tuna Tuna Salmon- salmon tartare topped with sliced tuna, avocado sauce and wasabi tobiko sauce. I’m afraid of spice and the wasabi was just right…

On to the Cabana Rose, created by Julio Burbano another Cabana mixologist. This was the sweetest drink of the night thanks the mix of cachaca, raspberry liquor, lime juice, orange juice and the floating cachaca soaked raspberry. I sipped on this slash gulped it down with my main entrée (yes, after all of that we’re only at the main entrée) which was Samurai Cut Tuna Steak. Clearly I love tuna seeing that I had it for two courses. It’s safe to say that this was the best ahi tuna that I’ve ever had-ohba yuzu marinated ahi tuna grilled over roasted scallion potato puree and pickled celery salad.

Desert was the Cabana’s Passion (cachaca, sake, orange liqueur and passion fruit) served in tandem with a delicate Passion Fruit Tart made with custard, cilantro syrup, a sugar cookie crust and my new FAVORITE: palate cleansing, refreshing thai basil ice cream. Wow.

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