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.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cheeky Chicago 6/12 My New BFF

On the eve of my best friend’s birthday, I was toying with the idea of hosting a dinner at some “totally hot, so right now” restaurant. But I took a step back and realized that sometimes the birthday dinner at a restaurant is just too much. Don’t get me wrong. I love dining out. I would put it in one of my top ten favorite things to do in life. But it’s a bit presumptuous for me, the party planner, to expect everyone to pay about $80 per person to go to a sit-down dinner where they are seated at the far end of the table away from the birthday girl and stuck next to me, the lame BFF.

So in an effort to save a little moolah for all involved parties (the boyfriend, the sister, the sister’s boyfriend, the work friends, etc.), I thought I’d order out a main dish like fajitas from a local West Loop Mexican joint and then I’d take care of the chips and guac, apps and, obviously, the cocktails.

Ohhh, the cocktails. When I thought about what I would make for this smallish get-together at our West Loop loft, my wheels started turning. Do I create a do-it-yourself margarita bar? What about muddle-your-own, fruit-inspired mojitos? After all, if you Cheeky readers could see my bar, it’s over-stocked, so the possibilities are endless. The amount of full bottles of booze that I have resting on my mahogany bar would put established places to shame. I have no qualms with speaking to its opulence ($800 Glenlivet, rare vodka, JT’s new tequila). That baby is my pride and joy.

And here comes the inspiration for this post. I settled on the latest cocktail trend to hit Chicago: the communal drink.


I would only have to run to Dominick’s to get a few items, but by gosh, this could work.

So what cocktail concoction do you make for the BFF who runs marathons (think: low cal), wants to be a beach bum (think: relaxed), but is also a closeted party-girl (secretly, I know she likes something spicy, something sexy)?

I checked in with my Martini & Rossi peeps (love Asti) and sought their inspiration. Tonight I will be making the Martini & Rossi Monviso Sangria and Martini & Rossi Torino Sangria. Two potent punches that will be crowd pleasers. The first will appeal to those who like a sweeter, less intimidating drink while the latter will appease my personal craving for anything dirty and dry.

The Monviso Sangria is made with a combination of one whole bottle of Martini & Rossi® Rosso vermouth, pomegranate juice, cranberry juice (opt for one made with 50% less sugar so it’s not too sweet), Disaronno liqueur, cubed apples, cherries, lemons and some Sprite or Fresca. The recipe calls for simple syrup but you can do without it if you don’t like cocktails too sweet. Although the syrup does add a layer of connectivity. Make it without it, taste it, and if it seems like it might need a little something extra, add a couple of splashes into the punch bowl. See the full recipes for both Martini & Rossi Sangrias below. They are simple, tasty, and very on-trend.

And for those of you who would rather have all of this prepared for you at an uber cool place, head to my first choice, The Drawing Room, on Rush and ask Charles Joly to whip you up a punch with whatever flavors, spirits and liquors you like.

Looking for a group cocktail for your BFF? Opt for these…

Martini & Rossi Monviso Sangria

1 (750 ml.) bottle of Martini & Rossi® Rosso vermouth

1 cup (8 oz.) pomegranate juice

1 cup (8 oz.) cranberry juice

½ cup (4 oz.) Disaronno® Originale Liqueur

½ cup (4 oz.) simple syrup

2 apples, cubed

2 lemons, thinly sliced into wheels

20 cherries, whole

1 cup (8 oz.) lemon-lime soda

Combine first five ingredients in a large pitcher, and stir in fruit. Chill until ready to serve (24 hours, if possible). Just prior to serving, stir in lemon-lime soda. Pour over ice in tall glasses. Makes 8-10 servings.

Martini & Rossi Torino Sangria

1 (750 ml.) bottle of Martini & Rossi® Extra Dry vermouth

2 cups (16 oz.) cranberry juice cocktail

½ cup (4 oz.) brandy (optional)

½ cup sugar

2 cups (16 oz.) sparkling water

2 oranges, thinly sliced into wheels

1 lemon, thinly sliced into wheels

1 lime, thinly sliced into wheels

Combine Martini & Rossi Extra Dry vermouth, cranberry juice, brandy and sugar in a large pitcher; stir until sugar is dissolved. Chill until ready to serve


Anonymous said...

I am like, the biggest entertainer. This looks like something I'd love to whip up...was it yummy or what? Well, it definitely looks like it. Anyway, also want to comment on the photograph. Did you take that? It's beautiful, seriously. Anyway, great post, glad I found this. Thanks for sharing!

The Culinary Chase said...

I'm looking for a Sangria recipe and this sounds delicious! Cheers!