The focus of the cocktails at The Aviary is presentation. You will be dazzled by every cocktail, even before you drink one. And, of course, they taste wonderful too! Well balanced and unique, The Aviary’s cocktails are not to be missed.
A few weeks ago we visited The Aviary, the molecular mixology bar from Chef Grant Achatz in Chicago. Sous Chef Micah Melton and Beverage Director Charles Joly took us behind the scenes and we visited the invite only room, the kitchen, and the ice room. In our article "Molecular Mixology at The Aviary" you can read more about our visit and learn how they are equipped and setup to prepare these outstanding cocktails. Stay tuned for complete detailed recipes of the cocktails directly from the Aviary team!
Raspberry - rose, hazelnut, gin, framboise
Coffee siphons or vacuum coffee makers are used in Eastern cultures for single pot coffee brewing, but at The Aviary, they are used to make hot cocktails that are usually based on tea. The one we tasted is called Raspberry; it is made of black tea, dry rose, raspberry, hazelnut, lemon zest, ginger, and mint, which are placed in the top glass container. The bottom container is filled with gin, Framboise (raspberry brandy), rose liquor, citric acid, simple syrup, and water. The liquid in the bottom container boils up to the top and becomes infused with the aromatics. It then falls back down when the heat is removed. The cocktail base is kept warm in the immersion circulator during service so it doesn’t take too long to boil at the table. Get your hot infusion siphon now and impress your guests!
Ginger - shiso, peychaud's, vodka
This Moscow Mule version is served deconstructed at The Aviary. Ginger snow on the side of the glass, made with an ISI Whip canister charged with nitrous-oxide and expelled into liquid nitrogen to freeze it. The frozen ginger foam, which retains the airy quality from the charger, is then smashed to create snow. On top of that is mint and shiso, Fresno chili, finger lime cells, lime zest, pudding made with Peychaud’s bitters. The customer is asked to pour in the cold alcohol, that has been stored in the freezer, and to stir with lemongrass by rolling it between the hands. Get recipe of this molecular cocktail here.
Rob Roy - lavender air, pedro ximenez 1985, scotch
The Rob Roy is a Scotch Manhattan. Instead of vermouth, sherry from 1985 is used, along with lavender bitters and the aroma of lavender inside a bag (made using the Volcano vaporizer). The drink is brought to the table in a bag. The server then cuts a slit in the bag, rips the bag open releasing the lavender vapor, and the customer grabs the glass. The aroma also sticks to the glass so you can smell it as you drink.
Midnight Mary #3 - tomato, basil, aquavit
Basil foam is squeezed into liquid nitrogen to form a frozen ball. The server then puts the ball in the glass and muddles it at the table to make it into a powder, pours the drink over the powder, and it melts, producing a muddled herb flavor without the herbs. The drink is made with Aquavit, Benedictine, clarified tomato water, galango syrup, fresh lime, chili Fresno bitters, and micro thyme. It is only made when tomatoes are in season. Created by Charles Joly, who used to make a simplified version of this cocktail before joining The Aviary team. Get recipe of this molecular cocktail here.
In the Rocks - demerara, angostura, bourbon
In the Rocks is a Manhattan cocktail injected into a hollow sphere of ice. The customer has to break the hollow ice sphere using a specially designed sling shot (this used to be done with a small hammer, but there were a few accidents with people breaking glasses). Learn how to make our version here: Cocktail IN an Ice Sphere.
Chai - elferflower, saffron, tequila, bourbon
The Chai cocktail is an infusion you can see, made with a variety of ingredients, including Tequila, St. Germaine, Bourbon, chain tea, dried apricot, freeze dried apricot, fresh apricot, ginger, lemon thyme, and dried elderflowers. It is served with four small glasses so you can taste the cocktail as the infusion progresses and compare them. This is a beautiful presentation with great flavor, and it is a lot of fun to taste the different infusion strengths.
Some cocktails are served in small wood casks to age them and they are poured at the table directly from the cask. There is also flavored ice cubes and home made soda bottled during service!