Category Archives: Drinks

This, My Friends, is What a Cocktail Party Should Look Like (Part 2)

This is the second of our two part post on the Summer 2011 edition of Four Eleven, a  recurring cocktail party held by the authors of bybe. In this post, knowb discusses his contributions to this iteration which featured a menu of all original drinks. If you haven’t done so already, check out the first post here which introduces Four Eleven and details contributions from bybe’s other author, mccowan. Again, both authors graciously thank Mandy McGee for photographing the event and allowing us to reproduce her pictures here. Continue reading


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This, My Friends, is What a Cocktail Party Should Look Like (Part 1)

Your two authors here at bybe collaborate on many things besides cobbling together the occasional posts you stop by to read. One of those things is a recurring cocktail party we call Four Eleven where we can flex our mixology muscles and hone our bartending skills. The parties are of course very fun, but we take them seriously and use them as an opportunity to challenge ourselves, to experiment, and to gain new experiences and much needed practice. Continue reading

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A Union of Man and Woman, of Whiskey and Grapefruit

Crafting original cocktails is simultaneously the most exciting and the most daunting part of this mixology hobby I’ve adopted. When you create a successful new drink – or even just a clever variation on an existing one – you can taste the synergy and magic almost right away. But, unfortunately, I’m as often (or probably more often) surprised when a drink which in my head blends together great flavors, on actual execution, simply falls flat.

Practice. Practice. Practice. Continue reading

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WhiskyFest Chicago 2011

WhiskyFest Logo

A good friend and fellow whisky enthusiast joined me again this year in celebrating WhiskeyFest Chicago, a gathering of nearly every major whisky brand and distillery in one spot for three hours of samples and conversation. With over 275 different spirits on hand this year and three sessions of seminars, there was a lot to take in and we adopted the pinball method of just bouncing from table to table without much plan. If my hazy memory serves me right (and it may not) we were able to smash last year’s record of about 25 pours with an astounding 34 this time around. Continue reading

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A Shameless Plug for “Table for Two”

In an effort to become a Renaissance man (which I always confuse with just becoming a guy who is spread too thin), this part-time author of bybe is now also a part-time author of the new Chicago dining blog Table for Two. Don’t you worry though, loyal reader. (Or readers? There might be more than one of you!) My drinking and eating and pontificating and writing will continue unabated and there will be some overlap between this blog and that. I plan to continue to write here as often as I have been; that is to say, haphazardly and not terribly often.

Table for Two is an attempt to get invitations to top chef’s tables across the city and possibly an invitation to the secret bar in the basement of the soon-to-open Aviary. (Ha! My delusions are worse than you expected.) Far more likely, it will just lead to sclerosis and high cholesterol, but bybe’s music reviews are slowly making me deaf, so why not just go whole-hog on the self-destruction? If you want to ogle some food porn or to ridicule our snobbery, please stop by.

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The Basil Spank (or, Why You Don’t Let the Drunks Name Your Drink)

I’ve come up with a few original drinks, but I will probably not debut one without a proper name again. Giving up the naming rights to my new drink to a group of drunken people generated some, let’s say “crass” suggestions. Maybe some background is in order…

I have a friend who volunteers with the organization One Brick. The group (with branches across the county including one here in Chicago) provides help to non-profit organizations in various forms (people, time, money, organizational infrastructure, etc.), but it also has a significant social component (bar hopping, cavorting, etc.). Knowing I’m an avid mixologist, she asked me to construct a cocktail for the group with one criterion in mind, that it be orange, the official color of the organization. When I think orange colored drinks, I of course think orange juice, but she instead planted a different seed, suggesting that the drink use cantaloupe. Hmmm,… an interesting and challenging idea. Continue reading

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“Four taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again”

There was a time when it was socially acceptable to drink before noon. That time, sadly, is no more. (Look up “New York debaucherous brunch” for the exception, but I have been told on many occasions that “breakfast Scotch” is strictly off limits.) In those mornings of that more enlightened time, it was normal to have a “hair of the dog” kind of drink which, while I’m not sure helped cure your hangover, at least made it less terrible. Chief among these quaffs of yore was one of the best pre-prohibition classics passed down to today, the Corpse Reviver #2. While one glass would wake a corpse up, Harry Croddock, esteemed barman at the Savoy Hotel in London and author of The Savoy Cocktail Book, said that, “four taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.” Continue reading

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