behind the curtain: A weekly guided Cocktail Tasting

DSC06274 (1).jpg

In the early days of the craft cocktail resurgence, The Violet Hour’s Head Mixologist and founding partner, Toby Maloney, worked at the original Milk & Honey on New York’s Lower East Side. One of Toby’s rituals in that era involved collecting an array of intriguing and unique ingredients as he made his way through Chinatown on his way to work. Toby would then beguile his guests at Milk & Honey’s tiny, four seat bar with cocktails concocted from the treasures he’d picked up on his wending walk. Those guests would be treated to what amounted to a cocktail tasting menu telling the story of that day’s walk to work.

In the spirit of those walks and those original, four, intimate seats, The Violet Hour is pleased to introduce a new series offering guests the opportunity to step into the obsessive mind of a bartender.

Each week, we’ll be saving four to six seats at the bar in front of one of our bartenders who has something they want to say in cocktail form. The lucky folks in those four to six seats will be treated to a unique cocktail experience. Trusting their palates to the hands of the bartender, they’ll be treated to a progression of cocktails focused around the theme chosen by that bartender.

It’s a guided tasting menu with the bartender leading the way through their inspiration and thought process. The theme might be a city or country, a specific ingredient or group of ingredients, an abstract concept, or a really excellent set of bourbons—each case offers a unique opportunity for a dealer’s choice dialogue, with guest and bartender getting to geek out and really dig into a topic.

Toby himself will be at the helm for many of these sessions, while we’re fortunate enough enough to have him in town a bit longer than normal. However, other Violet Hour bartenders will take the reins for themes of specific interest to them.

You can reserve one of those very select seats for yourself by purchasing a ticket through Eventbrite. Seats for all January themes are currently available for purchase on Eventbrite!


UPCOMING THEMES (follow us on instagram @theviolethourchicago for notification of tickets going live!)


Tuesday, 01.8.19, Your ‘Go-To’ Cocktail for 2019 $100

There is a time and a place for Dealer's Choice. That place is a quiet bar, and that time is after a drink or two has built confidence in the quality of the cocktail and technique used. Every other time you should have a “go to” drink. Start with a Negroni, and Old Fashioned, a Sidecar or a Vieux Carré. Then ask the bartender how they like to riff on that drink. We'll get you to that crucial first step--answering the question what is your go-to cocktail for 2019?

Tuesday, 01.15.19, Mezcal Cocktails $130

Mezcal cocktails will be made. From easy drinking to downright weird. If you like the flowery fruity funk that is mezcal, spend a cold winter night sipping the nectar of the agave. If you HATE mezcal you should really come to this session. We will find a way for you to appreciate, like, or maybe even love Tequila's wilder cousin.

Tuesday, 01.22.19, Three Ingredient Cocktails $125

All you need are three ingredients and the truth. We will make some sours, Manhattans, Martinis, Negronis and Old Fashioneds. Simplicity does not mean boring. These are the drinks from whence all others are born.

Tuesday, 01.29.19, Sherry, Aromatized Wine & Keys To The Appetite $125

So much more than a low-abv session. This menu will feature complex cocktails highlighting ingredients that just happen to be less than eighty proof. Many of these ingredients are almost like a cocktail unto themselves with their complex balance of flavor. We want to unlock everyone's enthusiasm for fortified wines and aperitifs!