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  • The Whistler

    Post #1 - November 7th, 2009, 11:42 am
    Post #1 - November 7th, 2009, 11:42 am Post #1 - November 7th, 2009, 11:42 am
    I find myself a bit confused that I haven't been able to find a dedicated thread for this bar yet. I first came to the Whistler within its first couple weeks of opening. Loved everything I had, loved the space, found the staff to be super friendly. Second time, I was put off by the event of live music in such a small space, and the fact that it eliminates half the seating. Third time, I became aware of the patio. I was hooked.

    I've been there at least two or three times a month since, and I appreciate how great this bar is ever more each time. I can't find fault with their really well-mixed and inventive $8 cocktail, their selection of whiskys, or the requisite $2 PBR offering. It's simply a great bar for relaxed night out, and well situation to move on to other fun locales (Cole's, El Charro, The Two-Way, The Rocking Horse, Quenchers).

    What motivated me to write today was a cocktail I had on Wednesday evening that, like many Whistler drinks in the past, impressed me and expanded what I have come to expect from a libation.

    Shoulder Season
    Gren Centenario Reposado Tequila, El Dorado 5-Year Rum, Lemon, Allspice Dram, Nutmeg

    I know its been on the menu for a little while, so I strongly suggest getting in there soon to give it a try before the late fall menu rolls out. One doesn't generally think of tequila as far as autumn goes, but for me, this has been a great early fall / September-October drink. You know, before November/December, when everything starts to require apples, cinnamon, cocoa, squash, mint, brandy, and/or whisky to evoke "autumn." The Shoulder Season has spice, but not in a contrived sense. Nutmeg and agave are an irregular pairing to my knowledge, and including the inherently spicy and vanilla-y rum really balances out the flavors in here.

    I generally follow up my first cocktail with what I call the "Bourbon Outfitters" (this is Logan Square, after all). It's a Bulleit Bourbon neat, with a PBR back.

    The Whistler
    2421 N. Milwaukee Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60647
    773-227-3530
  • Post #2 - November 9th, 2009, 3:38 pm
    Post #2 - November 9th, 2009, 3:38 pm Post #2 - November 9th, 2009, 3:38 pm
    The Whistler is the loudest venue I've ever been to when they've got a musical act onstage. Holy Jesus in Suspenders please bring some earplugs.
  • Post #3 - November 14th, 2009, 4:00 pm
    Post #3 - November 14th, 2009, 4:00 pm Post #3 - November 14th, 2009, 4:00 pm
    Met up with some friends who live right near The Whistler and all I can say is that I'm jealous they live so nearby.

    First impressions: since I'd heard and read so much about it, I somehow expected it would be much larger. It's a relatively small space. I was immediately thrilled by how many of my 'old friends' I saw up on the shelves of this fine establishment -- a truly great selection of spirits. Live music, acoustic guitar played by Leroy Bach, was sensational.

    The cocktails were superb; quality-wise, certainly in the same realm as Bar DeVille and The Violet Hour. Not only did our bartender, Paul, have a deep knowledge and firm command of the classics, he also mixed up several house creations from a seasonal menu, which changes about every 6 weeks. Of the 8 drinks offered on this menu, 7 of them looked very tempting to me and the one, that didn't -- The Fleming -- turned out to be quite delicious. It contains Scotch, of which I am not a huge fan. My wife ordered it and the tastes I had were great. It's comprised of White Horse Scotch, Sloe Gin, Honey, Lemon, Absinthe and fresh rosemary. It's served on the rocks (perfect cubes) in a highball and the fresh sprig of rosemary is rubbed briskly between the bartender's palms and placed vertically in the glass. Nice.

    I started out with a Boulevardier, which is made with Rittenhouse 100 Rye, Carpano Antica and Campari. Served in a rocks glass on one massive 'rock,' this was also a fantastic combination. The aromatic vanilla notes in the CA gave an entire new face to the Campari, and the bold and spicy Rye mingled with both of them quite well. The Voyager was also stellar. It's made with El Dorado 5-year rum, Benedictine, falernum and fresh lime; served chilled/up. This riff on the daiquiri was really appealing. The judicious use of the Benedictine added a subtle but noticeable and pleasant wrinkle. The Last Straw, another delicious drink we tried, is a play on The Last Word and incorporates an egg white, which added a fantastic creaminess. Here, the gin is Broker's and it's amped up to about double the amounts of the Chartreuse, maraschino and lemon. A delicate and fragrant fennel frond sits atop the highball glass in which the drink is served. A Martinez, which contained Carpano Antica (in lieu of a more traditional sweet vermouth) and a Luxardo cherry, was arguably the best I'd ever had. We also had a few other 'bartender's choice' drinks that were excellently prepared. The Elk's Own, which, by request, contained bourbon, was satisfying and complex. Orange Blossom and a few others (forgot the details, the mind blurs) were also wonderful.

    At about 8, when we departed, the place was still mellow but filling up nicely. I kind of wish we could have stayed but a boy eventually has to eat, right? :wink:

    I'm definitely thrilled to have finally tried The Whistler and am very much looking forward to returning there soon.

    =R=
    If I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses --Henry Ford

    Without wood, barbecue wouldn’t be barbecue -- Aaron Franklin

    Freedom demands that those in power allow others to think for themselves.

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider
  • Post #4 - November 15th, 2009, 1:15 pm
    Post #4 - November 15th, 2009, 1:15 pm Post #4 - November 15th, 2009, 1:15 pm
    Glad you enjoyed yourself, ronnie, and glad that my enthusiasm for this place is corroborated by an LTH mod.
    Twas prescient of you to come by early, thus avoiding the issues that jsagoff experienced. I usually make it a point to move on to another neighborhood bar (Quenchers, The Burlington, The Rocking Horse, etc) after having some tasty starters at The Whistler, leaving before the crowd and the music consume all the physical and sonic space.
    The drinks you sampled were not on the menu last time I was there, which means I'm long overdue for a return.
  • Post #5 - November 16th, 2009, 12:17 pm
    Post #5 - November 16th, 2009, 12:17 pm Post #5 - November 16th, 2009, 12:17 pm
    While I've yet to make it to the Violet Hour, I have been to the Whistler at least 4-5 times as I live in the neighborhood up near the Logan/Kedzie/Milw intersection.

    We stopped up to The Whistler again on Friday night. We had a great dinner at Los Nopales for a friend's bday, and she has been wanting to try The Whistler for some time, so I offered it as our post-dinner destination to buy her a b-day drink.

    The Voyager was coming highly recommended from our neighbor at the bar, so she tried that and it was quite tasty:
    Voyager
    El Dorado 5-Year Rum, Benedictine, Velvet Falernum, Lime
    (Created by Robert Hess, co-founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail)

    As a lover of all things scotch, I had to try the Flemining noted above. Wowsa, quite something with the fresh rosemary. They can still prepare some of the older drinks (I had inquired about the Diablo I had over the summer, but charge $10 for off-menu drinks vs. the $8 of current seasonal creations).

    After our few drinks, we popped over to the lovely Two Way to enjoy $6 pitchers of Old Style....LOVE LOGAN SQUARE!

    thanks,
    miss ellen

    ps. Meant to share the http://whistlerchicago.com/cocktail-blog/ for the Whistler.
  • Post #6 - November 18th, 2009, 10:15 pm
    Post #6 - November 18th, 2009, 10:15 pm Post #6 - November 18th, 2009, 10:15 pm
    I had the Pinewood Derby recently and it was delicious. Instead of getting it straight up (which I think is the way they usually serve it) I had it in a rocks glass with two of their nice square ice cubes; I really like the way the ice cubes' chill swirled around in a cool contrast to the smokey sweet-tart flavors of the drink.

    From the Whistler Menu:

    Pinewood Derby
    Smoked Old Weller Bourbon, Aperol, Punt e Mes, Lemon
    Anthony Bourdain on Barack Obama: "He's from Chicago, so he knows what good food is."
  • Post #7 - February 21st, 2010, 3:28 pm
    Post #7 - February 21st, 2010, 3:28 pm Post #7 - February 21st, 2010, 3:28 pm
    I've stopped in at The Whistler a few times over the past couple of weeks for more, consistently-fantastic cocktails but this past Thursday was a particularly enjoyable experience. I showed up at about 11 pm, not knowing that live music was happening. The place was jammed but with a pleasant, respect-the-people-around-you vibe that was completely refreshing. Luckily for me, a group of folks was getting up to leave and I was able to snag a seat at a table right next to the bar. Because I trust him completely and love his work, I told Paul that I was drinking 'anything with rum' on this night. He then set me up with a seemingly unending procession of delicious rum-fueled cocktails. Oh, I wish I could remember the details and there's a good chance that the next time I imbibe, they will come back to me. :wink: But the drinks were wonderful, as always. A couple of friends showed up to join me and they 'chose their spirits,' as well. We had a great time.

    And somewhere in the dark, while drinking our perfect drinks and taking in the harmonious scene, I have to say that I had a moment; a glorious moment. Was it the liquor, the great friends, my let-it-rip pre-op mindset, the vibe in the space, the sensational West-African dance music being played by L'Orchestre Super Vitesse or some synergistic combination of all those factors? I guess I'll never know for sure but there I was, just days ahead of a total hip replacement, being lifted out of my seat by this phenomenal music and driven into spontaneous dance. I hadn't felt so inspired -- or able -- in a long time. It reminded me of my old Grateful Dead days. I don't really know how I did it. I'm at the point where I can barely walk and yet, I was so moved, the dancing was nearly effortless. The next morning (which happened to arrive before I slept), the pain was at the very low end of the range. The entire experience was a gift.

    What I've learned -- and come to love -- is that on a Tuesday at 6 pm The Whistler is an entirely different thing from what it is late on a Thursday night. But both are equally-transfixing sides of the same shiny doubloon. I know this is going to sound hokey but there's a little bit of magic at The Whistler.

    =R=
    If I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses --Henry Ford

    Without wood, barbecue wouldn’t be barbecue -- Aaron Franklin

    Freedom demands that those in power allow others to think for themselves.

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider
  • Post #8 - April 8th, 2010, 5:08 pm
    Post #8 - April 8th, 2010, 5:08 pm Post #8 - April 8th, 2010, 5:08 pm
    This is a neat little place. I was doing some bar-scouting last Friday and this place ended up on our short list of stops. I will admit, however, that my first feeling was a bit of trepidation when we first stepped in, looked around, and realized that just about every single guy there was sporting a full beard. Had we just walked into the secret lair of hipsters and not realized?

    I wasn't sure what to make of the atmosphere; I have to admit that I felt a little out of place in my t-shirt and jeans, but a drink in, and I was sold. I ordered the Elk’s Own: Evan Williams Bourbon, Graham’s Six Grapes Port, Lemon, Egg White, Nux Alpina Walnut Liqueur. This is a creamy, frothy, lovely little drink that I could not get enough of. In fact, I ordered a second, and probably would have had a third if driving hadn't been on the agenda.

    At some point around 9 or 9:30 pm, a DJ came on to play some appropriately down-tempo, globally-inspired music. Honestly, if you can get past the crowd, the drinks are wonderful, and it's really fun watching the bartender assembly line. (When we were there, one guy was taking orders and filling beer & wine requests while the other was crafting the excellent mixed cocktails. Half the enjoyment for me was standing there watching him make drinks.)

    I can definitely see myself going back here in the future. It wasn't as laid-back as Bar DeVille was (our other stop that evening), but it had its own certain charm.

    One question though, for those who have been here: we strolled up and down the street, looking for a good place to eat beforehand. Revolution Brewing had over an hour wait. After that, we walked up and into a Las Islas Marias, a seafood restaurant next to La Estrella nightclub. It was full, but the waitresses refused to acknowledge us until we asked for menus, at which point we realized the menu was in Spanish. I'm not a Spanish speaker, and either was my friend. We considered attempting to go forward and order anyway, but no one ever came over to take our order, so after a few minutes, we left, mortified. In the end, we went to El Charo, the Mexican restaurant across the street from The Whistler. It was pretty decent [I had a pork in mole special - $6], but, overall, mostly just standard Mexican fare. I see from Google that Lula Cafe isn't too far off, but honestly, I didn't particularly relish that walk up Milwaukee in the first place. Any other ideas? Would we be better driving somewhere else before going here?
    -- Nora --
    "Great food is like great sex. The more you have the more you want." ~Gael Greene
  • Post #9 - April 9th, 2010, 5:04 pm
    Post #9 - April 9th, 2010, 5:04 pm Post #9 - April 9th, 2010, 5:04 pm
    GreenFish wrote:Would we be better driving somewhere else before going here?

    Before? Yes. After? Not so much. :D

    I'm not as familiar with the area as others are but my experience is that there's no fantastic 'destination' food that's super close to The Whistler. Here's a list of a few places I came up with while I was thinking about this same issue a few months back. Some of these places have odd hours, only offer counter service or might otherwise not be a good fit but I think they're all worth a shot.

    Definitely Recommend:
    The Brown Sack
    3706 W Armitage
    773 661-0675

    Cafe Marianao
    2246 N Milwaukee Ave
    773 278-4533

    Borinquen
    1720 N California
    773 227-6038

    Eager to try:
    Treat
    1616 N Kedzie
    773 772-1201

    Friendship Chinese Restaurant
    2830 N Milwaukee
    773 227-0970

    Rustico Grill
    2515 N California
    773 235-0002

    Urban Belly
    3053 N California
    773 583-0500

    Always an option:
    Lula Cafe
    2537 N Kedzie
    773 489-9554

    Kuma's Corner (very long lines)
    2900 W Belmont
    773 604-8769

    =R=
    If I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses --Henry Ford

    Without wood, barbecue wouldn’t be barbecue -- Aaron Franklin

    Freedom demands that those in power allow others to think for themselves.

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider
  • Post #10 - April 9th, 2010, 5:14 pm
    Post #10 - April 9th, 2010, 5:14 pm Post #10 - April 9th, 2010, 5:14 pm
    Longman and Eagle is right up the street as well...

    Longman & Eagle Llc
    www.longmanandeagle.com
    2657 North Kedzie Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60647-1607
    (773) 276-7110
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #11 - April 9th, 2010, 8:37 pm
    Post #11 - April 9th, 2010, 8:37 pm Post #11 - April 9th, 2010, 8:37 pm
    Thanks for the suggestions! Ronnie, I can weigh in on Urban Belly; I went there about a week-and-a-half ago on when my friend and I were on a food marathon, and while I really liked it, it's certainly not traditional Korean food -- you have to take it for what it is -- a trendy, tasty take on food, styled on Korean. We went at an off-hour, around 4:30 pm on a Tuesday, and it was pretty much dead, but given how small that space is, I'd never want to go at a prime time. It's worth a stopover.

    I've also been to Kuma's, and agree - but, man, yeah, the wait is a pain. I'm going to check out some of the other suggestions so that the next time we stop by, we can plan ahead instead of wandering around aimlessly looking for food.

    In related news, I really need to get an iPhone so I have a readable version of LTH and Google maps at my fingertips...
    -- Nora --
    "Great food is like great sex. The more you have the more you want." ~Gael Greene
  • Post #12 - April 19th, 2010, 4:35 pm
    Post #12 - April 19th, 2010, 4:35 pm Post #12 - April 19th, 2010, 4:35 pm
    The Rocking Horse is near Las Islas Marias, but it's just a neighborhood pub with decent food (High Dive in UK is a sister-restaurant). Similiar is Dunlay's on the Square, with pizza, burgers, sandwiches, etc.

    Also, just opened is Ciao Napoli Pizzeria, on the Logan Square circle at Kedzie/Milwaukee (exactly 1 block south of the Longman & Eagle). The "pizza bar" seats are quite comical, opening pains may be expected. I had great food and no problems, but just be prepared if it's busy. Enjoy the show, it was fun to watch the pizza makers at work.

    miss ellen
  • Post #13 - October 10th, 2010, 11:56 pm
    Post #13 - October 10th, 2010, 11:56 pm Post #13 - October 10th, 2010, 11:56 pm
    The wife and I made The Whistler the third and final stop in our 15th anniversary tour this past Saturday and it was, not surprisingly, a completely worthy finale to a great afternoon-into-evening. We arrived about 6:30 to find the bar only lightly populated. We managed a couple of stools at the end of the bar and let Paul McGee and his crew take care of us. I started with (aka continued with) rum, and ordered a Fig Leaf, which I'd had on previous visits and was recommened strongly by Jason at Bar DeVille at the previous stop on our tour. It was as great as ever. I followed it up with Beretta (El Dorado 5-year Rum, Maraschino, Lime, Demerara, Peychaud’s Bitters, Mint), which was also quite lovely. Paul had amped up the lime juice on this drink since the last time I'd had one and that really helped to bring out the mint, which was great. My last cocktail was the whiskey-based Gristmill, which may have been my favorite cocktail of the night. The wife had 3 rounds also: Martinez, Church Key and one other cocktail (name temporarily forgotten), all of which she loved. We hung out for several hours until it started getting crowded -- and it got really crowded. Probably about 9:45, we said our goodbyes, promised ourselves we'd return soon and headed out.

    I really love The Whistler for so many reasons. As I posted above, it's a magical place with fantastic operators, exquisite cocktails and a great vibe. It was a more than fitting place to finish up our anniversary tour. Between all 3 of our stops -- Publican, Bar DeVille and The Whistler -- we were feeling the love all day...mostly for these awesome places, which are near and dear to our hearts. :wink:

    =R=
    If I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses --Henry Ford

    Without wood, barbecue wouldn’t be barbecue -- Aaron Franklin

    Freedom demands that those in power allow others to think for themselves.

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider
  • Post #14 - November 8th, 2010, 11:47 pm
    Post #14 - November 8th, 2010, 11:47 pm Post #14 - November 8th, 2010, 11:47 pm
    I made it back to the Whistler last week for a few rounds of cocktails and some more of Paul McGee's mixology mastery. He's not only highly skilled and knowledgeable but he's also one of the nicest people I've met in the food & beverage industry. So, not only are the drinks at the Whistler consistently amazing, but the vibe he imparts there is unendingly pleasant and warm.

    Because the Whistler is such a known nexus for cocktailians, it's a great vantage point for sampling new spirits, bitters, ice and the like. What craftsman, producer or distiller wouldn't their products showcased and dabbled with in a venue with such a great set of hands behind the bar -- where such dedicated enthusiasts are known to congregate?

    I love showing up at the Whistler and seeing what creations are on the ever-evolving seasonal menu. I don't think I've ever had one that I didn't thoroughly enjoy. It's great chatting with Paul about the menu because it's immediately clear how much thought and care he puts into creating it. Beyond the seasonal menu, the Whistler's spirit selection is incredibly strong and they turn out the classics as well as any bar I know. Paul is also seriously adept at creating 'dealer's choice' cocktails. He's fluent in the vocabulary of spirits and creates -- forgive the extended metaphor -- remarkably articulate creations.

    I could go on but really, this is a place that one just needs to experience. If you're even mildly serious about cocktails and spirits, it's a place you'll want to visit . . . often!

    =R=
    If I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses --Henry Ford

    Without wood, barbecue wouldn’t be barbecue -- Aaron Franklin

    Freedom demands that those in power allow others to think for themselves.

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider
  • Post #15 - November 10th, 2010, 4:58 pm
    Post #15 - November 10th, 2010, 4:58 pm Post #15 - November 10th, 2010, 4:58 pm
    I might finally get over to Whistler tonight, and idea what it will be like around 8:30?

    SSDD
    He was constantly reminded of how startlingly different a place the world was when viewed from a point only three feet to the left.

    Deepdish Pizza = Casserole
  • Post #16 - November 10th, 2010, 5:22 pm
    Post #16 - November 10th, 2010, 5:22 pm Post #16 - November 10th, 2010, 5:22 pm
    headcase wrote:I might finally get over to Whistler tonight, and idea what it will be like around 8:30?

    SSDD

    Probably just filling up at that hour but still completely manageable. Pretty sure there's also live music on Wednesdays.

    Enjoy!

    =R=


    6000
    If I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses --Henry Ford

    Without wood, barbecue wouldn’t be barbecue -- Aaron Franklin

    Freedom demands that those in power allow others to think for themselves.

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider
  • Post #17 - November 10th, 2010, 10:19 pm
    Post #17 - November 10th, 2010, 10:19 pm Post #17 - November 10th, 2010, 10:19 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:Paul is also seriously adept at creating 'dealer's choice' cocktails. He's fluent in the vocabulary of spirits and creates -- forgive the extended metaphor -- remarkably articulate creations.
    I normally don't hang out in the Something to Drink forum, but tonight I tried to replicate a cocktail that Paul introduced me to as a a dealer's choice and I wanted to come over and post about it. On my last visit to the Whistler, I got to taste a *bunch* of cocktails and enjoyed all but one. At some point my glass was empty and Paul asked what I'd like. I asked if he'd making something bitter for me, and he happily obliged.

    He made me a Search for Deliciousness (he seemed embarrassed by the name) and credited it as initially created at Cure in New Orleans. My replica tonight wasn't quite right, but definitely getting there. Cynar, Punt es Mes, lemon juice, several dashes of bitters, and a tiny pinch of salt all shaken and strained, served with a squeeze of lemon oil from the peel. Wow.

    Paul is not only a wizard with cocktails, but a really friendly guy who seems happy to share his knowledge and enthusiasm. I look forward to many more nights of cocktailing at the Whistler.

    -Dan
  • Post #18 - November 10th, 2010, 11:58 pm
    Post #18 - November 10th, 2010, 11:58 pm Post #18 - November 10th, 2010, 11:58 pm
    dansch wrote:He made me a Search for Deliciousness (he seemed embarrassed by the name) and credited it as initially created at Cure in New Orleans. My replica tonight wasn't quite right, but definitely getting there.


    The Search for Deliciousness is in the book Rogue Cocktails (sometimes known as Beta Cocktails, due to a C&D from Rogue Brewing--my boycott of Rogue's products has entered its second year; they have not noticed), attributed to Kirk Estopinal of Cure (though formerly of the Violet Hour). It has one of the most esoteric ingredients lists I've seen in a cocktail...and goes a little something like this:

    2 oz Cynar
    3/4 oz Punt e Mes
    15-21 drops Lemon Juice
    6 dashes Regans Orange Bitters
    2 pinches Sea Salt
    5 swaths Lemon Peel

    My own interpretation of the procedure is as follows: Stir the first four ingredients over ice with a small pinch of salt in a rocks glass. When you've reached the proper dilution/combination, it should have only the slightest taste of salt. Express the oil from the lemon peels over the mixture, add one to the glass. Adhere the second pinch of salt to a small section of the rim of the glass.
  • Post #19 - November 11th, 2010, 9:00 am
    Post #19 - November 11th, 2010, 9:00 am Post #19 - November 11th, 2010, 9:00 am
    Thank you so much for posting that. Paul was more than forthcoming with the recipe, but by that point in the evening my ability to remember details was slightly impaired...

    So, I basically had all of the ingredients right, in almost the right proportions, just the wrong bitters, a bit too much Punt e Mes, and not enough expressed lemon oil. Looking forward to trying again.

    -Dan
  • Post #20 - November 11th, 2010, 5:54 pm
    Post #20 - November 11th, 2010, 5:54 pm Post #20 - November 11th, 2010, 5:54 pm
    So I did finally get to the Whistler last night, and to be honest I wasn't blown away. Everything just seemed a big off as far as taste and balance goes.

    I had the following:

    The Gristmill
    Old Weller Antique Bourbon, Amaro Montenegro, Demerara Syrup, Lemon, Allspice Dram
    This was my first of the night, way too acidic, not too much flavor other than lemon.

    Fig Leaf
    Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth, Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum, Demerara Syrup, Lime, Angostura
    A little better, more complex, but had a bitter bite in the middle of the palate that seemed out of place. I don't mind bitter cocktails, this just didn't work for me.

    Rye Old Fashioned
    Fine, a little tall for me, but not too much to complain about.

    Torino Fizz
    Plymouth Sloe Gin, Carpano Antica, Gran Classico Bitter, Lemon, Egg White
    I remember this as being pretty decent, but it was my fourth drink in just over two hours, so I don't remember specifics.

    I'll probably give it another shot sometime, and if someone else suggested it I wouldn't argue too much, but would much rather pay 33% more at The Hour or the Drawing Room

    SSDD
    He was constantly reminded of how startlingly different a place the world was when viewed from a point only three feet to the left.

    Deepdish Pizza = Casserole
  • Post #21 - November 11th, 2010, 11:52 pm
    Post #21 - November 11th, 2010, 11:52 pm Post #21 - November 11th, 2010, 11:52 pm
    headcase wrote:So I did finally get to the Whistler last night, and to be honest I wasn't blown away. Everything just seemed a big off as far as taste and balance goes.

    Did you have a chance to talk with Paul? I've found that the refinement of the drinks can vary depending on your approach, which is something I'm willing to forgive The Whistler, given its size. To expand a bit on this: On my last visit, I sat down and ordered a drink. Paul and I had talked before, but he obviously didn't recognize me. He made the drink and served it with aplomb, then went about his business. At some point shortly thereafter I made an observation regarding a conversation he was having with the other fellow behind the bar, something that triggered his recollection of where he knew me from, and after exchanging pleasantries, the very next thing out of his mouth was, "That drink's a little sweet, isn't it?" I didn't necessarily agree...but then, I knew what I was getting into by ordering a drink with bourbon, peach liqueur and no citrus or bitter element to speak of. I found the question a bit strange initially, but on further reflection it's not really that odd that he would have some drinks for the run-of-the-mill customer who wanders into his neighborhood bar and others for people who demonstrate a more refined palate or an expectation of something more challenging...or even make the same drink in two slightly different fashions, depending on the audience.
  • Post #22 - November 19th, 2010, 12:42 am
    Post #22 - November 19th, 2010, 12:42 am Post #22 - November 19th, 2010, 12:42 am
    kl1191 wrote:
    headcase wrote:So I did finally get to the Whistler last night, and to be honest I wasn't blown away. Everything just seemed a big off as far as taste and balance goes.

    Did you have a chance to talk with Paul? I've found that the refinement of the drinks can vary depending on your approach, which is something I'm willing to forgive The Whistler, given its size. To expand a bit on this: On my last visit, I sat down and ordered a drink. Paul and I had talked before, but he obviously didn't recognize me. He made the drink and served it with aplomb, then went about his business. At some point shortly thereafter I made an observation regarding a conversation he was having with the other fellow behind the bar, something that triggered his recollection of where he knew me from, and after exchanging pleasantries, the very next thing out of his mouth was, "That drink's a little sweet, isn't it?" I didn't necessarily agree...but then, I knew what I was getting into by ordering a drink with bourbon, peach liqueur and no citrus or bitter element to speak of. I found the question a bit strange initially, but on further reflection it's not really that odd that he would have some drinks for the run-of-the-mill customer who wanders into his neighborhood bar and others for people who demonstrate a more refined palate or an expectation of something more challenging...or even make the same drink in two slightly different fashions, depending on the audience.

    I think you're exactly right and maybe this gets at the reason I love the Whistler so much. I was back there a couple of times this week and feel like more than at any other bar I visit, Paul adjusts my drinks and my progression to my preferences via the feedback I give him -- and he's very receptive to it. Often, things start out a bit more sweet than they end, which is great for me because as the night wears on palate fatigue can set in. I like how he stays in front of that dynamic. I was struck by this week by the consistent balance in the cockails I had at The Whistler. As I keep drinking, and some of my senses begin to dull, balance is really a moving target and Paul's very intuitive about honing in on it, even as those variables of perception set in.

    =R=
    If I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses --Henry Ford

    Without wood, barbecue wouldn’t be barbecue -- Aaron Franklin

    Freedom demands that those in power allow others to think for themselves.

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider
  • Post #23 - December 14th, 2010, 11:41 pm
    Post #23 - December 14th, 2010, 11:41 pm Post #23 - December 14th, 2010, 11:41 pm
    Great stuff last night at the Whistler, as they hosted their first-ever themed cocktail party . . .

    e-mail from The Whistler wrote:The Whistler is excited to announce it's first official cocktail party! On Monday, December 13th, at 6:00pm, head bartender Paul McGee will be stirring and shaking up a menu of over 30 cocktails from Charles H. Baker Jr.'s inimitable cocktail trove, Jigger, Beaker & Glass.

    Charles H. Baker Jr.'s two volume culinary and cocktail guide, The Gentleman's Companion, are documentation of Baker's world travels in the name of the finest cuisine and cocktails available in the 1930s. Yachtsman, raconteur, drinking companion of Hemingway and Faulkner -- Baker's collection of recipes are as exotic and esoteric as the man himself. Around The World with Jigger, Beaker & Glass is Baker's 1946 edition of his 1939 publication, The Gentleman's Companion: Being an Exotic Drinking Book.

    I stopped in early and had a few rounds. It was great to experience Paul's take on some of these legendary cocktails, which I've been reading about for some time. I started out with a Pendennis Club's Special, which is made with London Dry Gin, Apricot Liqueur, Lime and Peychaud's Bitters. I loved the the way spice and complexity of the gin imparted a new depth to the apricot. Next up was a Rosy Dawn, which was bouncier than the first drink but very stiff. It's made with London Dry Gin, Orange Liqueur, Cherry Brandy, Lime and Soda. The strength of the gin really came through but was balanced deftly by the well-calculated fruit elements. My third cocktail was the Admiral Schley Punch, which combined rum and bourbon, along with Lime and Demerara Syrup. I really liked the way the rum and bourbon -- my 2 favorite spirits -- worked together. I cannot remember ever having them together before in any drink other than egg nog. Last, I had a Cap Haitian Rum & Honey, which combined Demerara Rum, Haitian Rum (Barbancourt 4-year) Honey Syrup and Angostura Bitters. This was the sweetest cocktail of the quartet. I liked the complexity created by the combined rums, and the herbal notes in the honey and bitters complemented them nicely.

    The night was made even more special by the little touches that were included. Paul created a written menu, which included quotes from Baker with every cocktail. Some were direct references from Baker to the drinks with which they were listed. Others were just general quotes from Baker that fit well with the cocktails with which they were paired. None of the 30+ different drinks on the menu were pre-batched, which made the entire undertaking even more ambitious. Also, Paul's wife Shelby put together an awesome, era-appropriate playlist, which gave the evening a fantastic vibe.

    Paul told me they plan to have these themed cocktail parties on a regular basis, with the themes being based on specific cocktail authors and their books. In fact, he referred to them as 'book nights.' Next up is likely to be a Tiki night, based on the books and recipes of Jeff Berry.

    Also, it was great to run into and finally meet kl1191. We seem to be 2 of the biggest fans of the Whistler around here, so it made perfect sense for our paths to cross on this night. I hope they cross again soon.

    I'm so glad that in the dead of winter, even on a Monday night, I dragged my lazy ass down to Paul's place. It was a truly special experience.

    =R=
    If I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses --Henry Ford

    Without wood, barbecue wouldn’t be barbecue -- Aaron Franklin

    Freedom demands that those in power allow others to think for themselves.

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider
  • Post #24 - December 16th, 2010, 8:33 am
    Post #24 - December 16th, 2010, 8:33 am Post #24 - December 16th, 2010, 8:33 am
    Is there anyway to know about these special events before they happen? I think this sounds like an awesome idea.
  • Post #25 - December 16th, 2010, 9:50 am
    Post #25 - December 16th, 2010, 9:50 am Post #25 - December 16th, 2010, 9:50 am
    bjackson wrote:Is there anyway to know about these special events before they happen? I think this sounds like an awesome idea.


    I found out from The Whistler and Paul McGee's twitter feeds.

    http://twitter.com/WHISTLERchicago
    http://twitter.com/bagchatter
  • Post #26 - December 16th, 2010, 10:42 am
    Post #26 - December 16th, 2010, 10:42 am Post #26 - December 16th, 2010, 10:42 am
    kl1191 wrote:
    bjackson wrote:Is there anyway to know about these special events before they happen? I think this sounds like an awesome idea.


    I found out from The Whistler and Paul McGee's twitter feeds.

    http://twitter.com/WHISTLERchicago
    http://twitter.com/bagchatter

    Pretty sure they have an e-mail list, too, which I think I signed up for at their web site:

    http://www.whistlerchicago.com/

    =R=
    If I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses --Henry Ford

    Without wood, barbecue wouldn’t be barbecue -- Aaron Franklin

    Freedom demands that those in power allow others to think for themselves.

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider
  • Post #27 - January 3rd, 2011, 6:02 pm
    Post #27 - January 3rd, 2011, 6:02 pm Post #27 - January 3rd, 2011, 6:02 pm
    The Whistler's Next "Book Club" event has been scheduled for 1/31 and will indeed by Tiki themed.

    Details here.
  • Post #28 - January 31st, 2011, 11:45 pm
    Post #28 - January 31st, 2011, 11:45 pm Post #28 - January 31st, 2011, 11:45 pm
    And, this happened:
    Image

    That's the Zombie for 4 from Tiki Night tonight at the Whistler. Flaming overproof rum and dry ice only added to the appeal of the absinthe laced rummy concoction. I'm sure Ron will have some great shots, including of the excellent Volcano Bowl and various other tropical delights. The only regret is how quickly they ran out of Painkillers...I got one of the first, but they were then quickly 86'ed. I think they underestimated how much coconut cream they might need.
    Last edited by kl1191 on June 1st, 2011, 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #29 - February 1st, 2011, 5:12 pm
    Post #29 - February 1st, 2011, 5:12 pm Post #29 - February 1st, 2011, 5:12 pm
    Tiki Night @ The Whistler - 11.0131

    Image


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    =R=
    If I asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said faster horses --Henry Ford

    Without wood, barbecue wouldn’t be barbecue -- Aaron Franklin

    Freedom demands that those in power allow others to think for themselves.

    I just wanna live until I gotta die. I know I ain't perfect but God knows I try --Todd Snider
  • Post #30 - February 18th, 2011, 7:36 am
    Post #30 - February 18th, 2011, 7:36 am Post #30 - February 18th, 2011, 7:36 am
    The Whistler has been nominated for a GNR. Please discuss the nomination here. Discussion continues through March 7.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven

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