SPECIAL EVENTS, please come out and play: check website for full details, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 312.666.6900 for more information.
Reservations still OPEN for the exceedingly exciting, tasty, damn arrogant bastards of brewing. STONE Brewing Company is coming to LUSH for a big kick off, launch event, Friday, April 2nd, 6-9pm. All the LUSH locations will be breaking out the bad boys. Bottles at Roscoe. Kegs at Halsted and West Town. Brewers and Stone folk all around. Brews…new and library collection pieces, maybe even a cellared 3L; delicious snacks; really cool stuff to buy. Roar. The Stones are coming. (Not rolling, mind you). $15 per person. RSVP strongly suggested. Email email@example.com to get on the RSVP list. *Please indicate at which location you prefer to consume liquid arrogance*
Sunday, April 4th, 2-5pm: Sundays with LUSH – Craft Brews. To properly initiate the impending Craft Brewers Conference that will take the city by storm this next week, LUSH is popping the tops on a wild array of craft beers. Brew-centric, indeed. And sudsy. Get set. Ready. Go…BEER! Beer beer beer. Brew, brew, brew, beer. Hops, malt, and quirky ingredients abound!
We are handpicking our spring favorites, as well as new releases from the brewers that are flitting into town this week. The warming trend leaves the Lushes parched with thirst, crawling from our dark little hole, and in need of seriously spritely, zippy brews. Spring saisons, of course, but hefe and maibock or just around the corner, and lightly spiced whites are still quite nice. Maybe a sour and a Basque cider to kick it up a notch. And, of course, a few solid standards of the Chicago local variety.
[LUSH West Town
1412 W. Chicago Ave]
Friday, April 16th, 6-8pm: North Shore Distillery ‘Spring’ Cocktails interactive seminar and tasting. Ms. Sonja will be shaking and slingin’ up a storm, and showing you the ropes of constructing tasty, classically inspired cocktails. Drink local booze. And, just for kicks, follow StillEthel on Twitter, too. She’s a fun broad. $15 per person. RSVP required; firstname.lastname@example.org. Drink, snacks, and hootenany included.
Wine 101 –
Wednesday, April 21st, 6:30-8pm
Learn the basics, LUSH style. Lush is teaching the secrets of good wine…learn the basics of wine and have fun doing it. We’ll break down the fancy labels, crazy grape names, how to taste a glass of wine, and provide you with obscure wine trivia to impress your swanky friends. Get illuminated! Lush will show you all the tricks and tips to making sure the bottle you buy is the bottle you’ve been dreaming of! Never again feel faint staring at a restaurant wine list or lost in the supermarket, wondering what will perfectly compliment your newest treasure from Lush. Be the superstar wine geek at your next dinner soiree appearance with a little tutorial in WINE 101.
Thursday, April 22nd, 6-9pm: Mr. Julian Van Winkle of Old Pappy Van Winkle, will be in town for whiskey fest, and at LUSH for a whiskey and cocktail dinner event, Thursday, April 22nd. 4 courses, 5 cocktails, $100 (NOT including tax or tip). LIMITED to 12 guests. Our tentative menu includes an appetizer of assorted ham, cheeses, olives, pickles and bread; shaved fennel salad; venison loin rubbed with coffee, salt and maple sugar along with sauteed greens and pureed root vegetable; chocolate layer cake with bittersweet chocolate pecan frosting. Each course will be paired with a specially crafted, heavy hittin’, classically inspired Van Winkle whiskey cocktail. Knee slappin’ good times are to be had. Bring a friend or two, and sidle up to experience whiskey week up close and personal.You can sign up NOW…call 312.666.6900 and chat with Rachel or Kelly, or email email@example.com.
Saturday, April 24th, 8am-6pm: Dark Lord Day Fieldtrip. Disclaimer: YOU must procure the golden, er purple, ticket. LUSH just gives you a ride. Brunch, beer and bloodys at LUSH Halsted before trekking down to Indiana for an all day beer extravaganza. Bring a chair and a cooler full of brews to knock back and trade while waiting in line. Good times. Rumor is, this beer will be seriously outrageous this year and the visiting breweries rockin’. Cost to be determined and will be non-refundable. We currently have started a waiting list. Reserve your seat now with Ms. Erin, firstname.lastname@example.org, RSVP required. Round trip in style.
Relevations about Canadian wine regions…
On March 24th, LUSH West Town played host to a showcase tasting of Canadian wineries, put on by the Canadian consulate. Primarily focused on Ontario and British Columbia, wines ranged from zippy, spritely Riesling to peppery Cab Franc, and right back around to intensely little bottles of icewine. A nice little related article, and video!, may be found here; http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/todays-chicago-woman/2010/03/chicago-canadian-wine-tasting-cave-spring-cellars.html.
As a continual wine taster, I am always seeking new flavor experiences. I feel that it’s part of my job to know and easily recall unusual flavors: yuzu, shiitake mushrooms, etc., as well as textures like glycerin and mineral crunch. I am willing to foresake pleasure for experience, even: let me tell you about how I felt about the sea urchin ice cream at Schwa [where everything else was simply sublime!]; I took a bite knowing that to me, sea urchin is too akin to snot for me to ever enjoy it. On the other hand, when the Lush crew forced me to try raw oysters for the first time a few years ago, I was instantly hooked.
Employee of the Year[s] stopped in to visit me at Halsted on this sunny Tuesday, and, having just been to one of Chinatown’s funny little grocery stores, came bearing snacks and unusual treats. She opens up a nice little packet of wafers, offers me one, and we both chomp down simulatenously.
Noses crinkle. My gag reflex goes off. This purported ‘cookie’ tastes like onions and rotting meat. There is no pleasure in it, to be sure. A quick glance at the label confirms my worst fears: that this is a durian-flavored wafer. Horrors! Durian fruit hails from Southeastern Asia, and is known the world over for its something-died-and-barfed-in-a-trash-can-full-of-sulfur aromas. Why sick, sick masochists enjoy this, I do not know, but I guess Cru Champagnes aren’t for everybody, so who am I to judge?
We swiftly disposed of the offending cookies, and several minutes later I could smell them through the plastic trash bag. Yeah, this is strong stuff.
Moral of the story? Just because a cute girl walks into your store and offers baked goods, DON’T TRUST HER.
Oh, and, erm– different people like different things?
In honor of the Oscars, I would like to make a recommendation for a whiskey that deserves a standing ovation – the 2009 bottling of Eagle Rare 17 year old Kentucky Straight Bourbon. (Round of applause). This is part of the Buffalo Trace Distillery’s Antique Collection, which was introduced about 10 years ago. The other 4 super limited whiskeys included in this collection are: Sazerac Rye 18 year old, George T. Stagg, William Larue Weller and Thomas H. Handy Sazerac.
The Eagle Rare 17 is a mash of corn, barely and rye and was distilled in the spring of 1992. What else was going on in 1992? Well, Silence of the Lambs won an Academy Award for Best Picture, Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show for the very last time, and I was just getting over my Paula Abdul phase. Hard to imagine at the same time, these folks were distilling and beginning to age a bourbon that wouldn’t be released for almost another 20 years! I had the pleasure of trying the 2009 release of Eagle Rare 17 year just the other night. Because they are such a limited release, we rarely have them open for tasting at LUSH (if we do, don’t miss the chance to give it a try!). Maybe it was the drink or two I had before (whiskey and amaro cocktail and a glass of the Eagle Rare Single Barrel), but I thought this bourbon was pretty darn tasty. Carmel and toffee with a hint of fruit on the nose, while the palate was smooth with a little more spice and a hint of vanilla. (And the crowd goes wild).
We all know what grand plans get made for a day off work:
“I’m totally going to do all that laundry! And, like, go grocery shopping! Yeah!”
Rock the vote…
LUSH has been nominated as one of the best wine shops in the city. Please excuse us while we fan ourselves and try to remain calm…eeeeee! So exciting. Please share your love and support of all things LUSH by voting. The TimeOut Chicago 2010 EatOut Awards are about indulging in the good stuff...food and booze, with a close pulse on the city and what is brand spanking new or established and still performing wonders peddling deliciousness. Vote your most bestest favorite restaurant, chefs, bartender, blogger…and wine shop! We heart you! www.timeoutchicago.com/eatoutawards
TEXT ‘Wine 1’ to 46786.
MINI-GEEK: Verticals? For serious geeks, there are a few bottles out there in the world that serve as holy grails for collectors: the Lafites and Latours and Cheval-Blancs of the world; Sassicaia, Opus One, Screaming Eagle; Sea Smoke Pinot, anything coming in magnum form, certainly, and hell, even weird whites from Baumard, Dagueneau, and their ilk. People who have access to these wines are very lucky, indeed, and their friends are luckier still if the bottle owner wants to share. Scenes from The Billionaire’s Vinegar come to mind, where some of the world’s wealthiest and richest wine collectors come together for several days and work through verticals of the wine, meaning they drink multiple vintages, in order, of the same wine. Truly a great learning experience, drinking through multiple vintages of one wine from one producer teaches the drinker about the subtle–and not subtle!– differences that one year’s varying meteorological activity can make on what is, essentially, the same agricultural product. Events like the California wildfires of 2008 lend a certain smokiness to some wines that was not present in 2007, and so on. Also, trying older vintages of a wine will let the drinker understand more about the aging process of specific varietals, not just the individual bottling.
We Lushies love partaking in vertical tastings where possible, and we don’t limit it to just wine. We’ve been known to throw big parties celebrating the many vintages of great beers, like Goose Island’s Bourbon County Stout [we still have some of the 2006 vintage!–ed.] and, among our staff and friends, the absolutely insane Three Floyd’s Dark Lord. Lushie Erin has a bottle of the 2005 Dark Lord stashed away in her cellar, to be unveiled soon with Lushie Brent during a completely ridiculous vertical tasting. So if you can keep those thirsty paws patient, stash away a bottle or two of your favorite wine or beer for a few years in a row, and get your learnin’ on. Slurp.