After years of drinking watery beer and calling cheap vodka and kool-aid a “cocktail,” I’ve grown up enough to appreciate a well-crafted alcoholic beverage. And my favorite place to have a libation or two is the Wicker Park speakeasy style lounge The Violet Hour.
The art of a fine cocktail was elevated to a higher level in Chicago when The Violet Hour switched on their lone light above the plain door entrance right off the Damen blue line stop. Head Mixologist Toby Maloney has been concocting creative specialty drinks that are well worth the price tag, given the premium ingredients and the attention to detail that is given to each beverage. The inside is bathed in rich dark colors and low lights, high back chairs, secluded booths, and lush curtains, the music low and usually of the indie rock variety, and the space is full but not crowded. And the stellar bar menu blows any idea of “bar food” out of the water. Combine all these attributes and you’ve got one of the best places to get a cocktail in the country. Just ask GQ magazine, who listed The Violet Hour’s Juliet & Romeo as the third best cocktail in America.
Recently local publication Being Totally Sweet in Chicago pointed out that Toby Maloney started offering the recipes to his cocktails as requested by users on the local Chicago foodies LTH forum. Users were discussing how to make the carefully crafted drinks, and Maloney himself chimed in with exact measurements, ingredients, and instructions on making some of the famous cocktails.
Check out the full thread here, and then grab some glasses and starting mixing up your own. And make sure to head over and check out The Violet Hour if you haven’t already, to try out the real deal and enjoy a night of some of the best drinks around.