Beverage Manager Kelly Dawson enjoys creating new and classic cocktails from the large collection of whiskeys offered at Chicago’s Untitled Supper Club.
The 1920’s inspired speakeasy carries about 530 different American Whiskeys and offers a large private barrel selection that cannot be found or purchased elsewhere.
Dawson’s favorite cocktail to make is the Sazerac and the lesser-known Vieux Carre. Named after the French Quarter, the cocktail was created by Walter Bergeron, who worked at the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans as the head bartender, before and after prohibition.
“With the variety of guests I see at Untitled, I’m able to recommend the off-menu cocktail to all types of drinkers—young, old, new, and experienced,” explains Dawson. “Guests like it because while it’s fairly simple to make, it’s complex in flavor and, most importantly, very tasty.”
“It’s a beautiful whiskey cocktail that displays the whiskey without covering up the flavor with other overpowering flavors. The bartending community is familiar with it, but a lot of people outside the industry are unfamiliar. It’s nice to introduce guests to something delicious they have never tried, especially when I know they’ll end up loving it.”
– Beverage Manager, Kelly Dawson
Kelly’s Tips For Creating the Perfect Vieux Carre
If it Ain’t Broke: Classics are classic for a reason. Other than choosing the brand of spirits, I try to keep it as close to, if not exactly, the original recipe. It’s the classic saying—don’t fix what isn’t broke!
Balance: I try to think about how strong or light the spirits are that are being used. You want them to stand up to each other and complement each other. Every flavor is important, so it must be equal to the task.
Quality Ingredients: Use spirits you love, and that taste good on their own. I was taught to make the Vieux Carre with Rittenhouse, which is a great spirit. So is Michter’s Rye or Whiskey Acres. I like the balance of Pierre Ferrand Cognac and Carpano Classico because it isn’t too sweet. Benedictine, Angostura, and Peychauds, and an expressed lemon twist are all you need.
Trade Secrets: I like to jigger everything. It removes human error from the equation. Stir quickly, well, and with lots of ice. It’s important to work with love, intention, and respect for the ingredients. That ultimately comes through to the finished product.
- 3/4 oz. Rye
- 3/4 oz. Sweet Vermouth
- 3/4 oz. Cognac
- 1/4 oz. Benedictine
- 2 dashes Angostura Bitters
- 2 dashes Peychauds Bitters
Preparation: Chill a large coupe. Stir ingredients until glass is cold to touch; strain into coupe. Express orange peel over top and drape peel on side of glass.