WEST LOOP SHAKEDOWN 2018

West Loop Shakedown

April 9, 6-9pm | nellcôte, 833 w. randolph street



1 night.
14 Bartenders.
A whole lot of Japanese whisky.


The fourth Annual
West Loop Shakedown!

 

East Meets West Loop:
A Night of Japanese Whisky

 
 
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On April 9, bartenders from Chicago’s best bars and restaurants will gather to celebrate the versatility of Japanese Whisky at the West Loop Shakedown.
But who will make the best cocktail? That’s up to you.
Along with a panel of expert judges, you’ll sample cocktails and vote for your favorite. 
Get your ticket now before they sell out.
To prepare you for the big event, we asked five of the bartenders a little bit about their background, what makes their cocktail philosophy and why they think they’re going to take home the grand prize. 


christine whiteley

LEAD BARTENDER | BLVD (817 W Lake St)

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What makes a great cocktail? Science and creativity.

What's the one thing someone should know about Japanese whisky? The first master distiller of Japanese whiskey learned his craft in Scotland, which is why scotch whisky is such a heavy influence.

What should people expect from your cocktail at the West Loop Shakedown? Fresh ingredients that complement the spirit. It will definitely be savory!

Why you’re going to win the Shakedown? My cocktail is fresh, innovative, and delicious.

Why you love working in the West Loop? The neighborhood is growing super fast. Really cool new restaurants and bars are opening every day, and I’m walking distance to Avec and Lone Wolf, two of my favorites.

What is your signature drink? The VooDoo Queen. It's made with mezcal, green chartreuse, a few vermouths, and my secret ingredient:
cajun tincture.


LEE ZAREMBA

BEVERAGE DIRECTOR | MOMOTARO & IZAKAYA (820 W Lake St)

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“Whether a cocktail has two ingredients or seven ingredients, if they are harmoniously mixed, the end result will be fantastic.”
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What's the one thing someone should know about Japanese whisky?
It’s made in the same style as Scotch, and is a marriage of the two cultures. Scotland’s greatest distillers went to Japan to teach them technique, and the Japanese extended their vision and made it their own. 

What should people expect from your cocktail at the West Loop Shakedown?
 A cocktail with a touch of seasonality, harmony and playfulness with plenty of booze.

Why you’re going to win the Shakedown?
 I’m excited about representing Momotaro and the Izakaya, and having a great time while doing it.  If I win, it’s because people are going to connect while enjoying the thoughtful cocktail that we’ve crafted for them. 

Why you love working in the West Loop?
West Loop is an amazing community of people — you get a great mix of people who both live in the neighborhood or are drawn. It has such a beautiful reputation for being a food and beverage hotspot and doesn’t disappoint as it has something for everyone. 

What is your signature drink to make?
Hanging out with people is my signature drink! If I have to be more specific, the combination of sake, gin, rhubarb and lime that will be debuting on Momotaro’s new cocktail menu launching in late April is the restaurant’s signature cocktail. This will be a sake forward cocktail, respecting the base spirit while highlighting the botanicals of the gin and the rhubarb’s fruit and vegetal characteristics in a bright and refreshing format. It’s light, refreshing and fun, and the signature cocktail style of Momotaro

What makes a great cocktail?
 
A great cocktail is a combination of wonderful ingredients and thoughtful intention —  whether a cocktail has two ingredients or seven ingredients, if they are harmoniously mixed, the end result will be fantastic.  


ALEC PIGNOTTI

HEAD BARTENDER | NELLCOTE & rm champagne salon
(833 w randolph & 116 n green street)

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What makes a great cocktail? It’s all about balance of ingredients. You never want a cocktail to be too much of any one thing like too boozy or too sweet. 

What’s the one thing everyone should know about Japanese whisky? Not all Japanese whisky is heavily peated or smokey like scotch. A lot of them are light and aromatic like bourbon.
What should people expect from your cocktail at the West Loop Shakedown?

Expect a lovely but simple twist on a classic cocktail that puts the Japanese whisky in control of the flavor profile.
Why you’re going to win the Shakedown: Who knows if I will win. I am just looking forward to some friendly competition and to taste all of the amazing drinks that my fellow west loop bartenders come up with.
Why do you love working in the West Loop? Because of all the options for food & drink to enjoy while not working! Also, everyone is very welcoming of fellow service industry people.
What is your signature drink? If I am feeling like sippin’ on something slow and spirit forward, a negroni. But I like a daiquiri if I want something tasty and refreshing.


emily hock & frances nino

bartender | ramen-san (59 w hubbard st #2)

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What makes a great cocktail?
Drinkability is first and foremost. Creating a well-balanced drink is crucial, whether it is a citrus or spirit-focused cocktail. Respect for the ingredients, allowing each to shine through is also important.

What’s one thing someone should know about Japanese whisky?
Japanese whisky is very approachable. People are often intimidated and surprised by the diversity of styles -- our team can offer up a type of Japanese whisky that will suit a drinker of any taste.

What should people expect from your cocktail at the West Loop Shakedown?
Toki is a light, delicate style of Japanese whisky. We wanted to highlight our favorite aspects of the whisky while ensuring that we didn’t mask the beautiful smokiness. 

Why do you love working in the West Loop?
It’s always nice to surround yourself with like-minded people. The neighborhood is full of history and character, and you can feel the energy and creativity in it.  We’re excited to add to that with this forthcoming location of Ramen-san.

What is your signature drink to make?
Emily Hock: Southside
Frances Nino: Corpse Reviver #2