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  • Post #271 - October 2nd, 2010, 10:51 am
    Post #271 - October 2nd, 2010, 10:51 am Post #271 - October 2nd, 2010, 10:51 am
    bjackson wrote:Sounds amazing KL. I love the Violet Hour, but it seems to me like the quality of the bartenders might be getting a little lower. This is a broad statement, but lately when I've done a dealers choice, I usually just get something from the menu, or last seasons menu.


    This is true, and it is an unfortunate side effect success; how many drink menus have you seen, or press releases that say "so and so formally of the Violet Hour"? They have to continuously replace people that get hired off to start, or redo, drink menus at other places.

    With that being said, there are still a couple that will go completely off board if asked: Michael for one, Steven has been there since day one, and my understanding is that Kyle is back (again).) There very well maybe others, but I know those three for a fact.

    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 #272 - October 2nd, 2010, 12:58 pm
    Post #272 - October 2nd, 2010, 12:58 pm Post #272 - October 2nd, 2010, 12:58 pm
    headcase wrote:
    bjackson wrote:Sounds amazing KL. I love the Violet Hour, but it seems to me like the quality of the bartenders might be getting a little lower. This is a broad statement, but lately when I've done a dealers choice, I usually just get something from the menu, or last seasons menu.


    This is true, and it is an unfortunate side effect success; how many drink menus have you seen, or press releases that say "so and so formally of the Violet Hour"? They have to continuously replace people that get hired off to start, or redo, drink menus at other places.


    Every business suffers turn over...TVH was hit pretty hard awhile back, but as you say that comes with the territory. Even for those who've left, I don't think the place is just a stepping stone...I'm still friends with several who have and I think it's safe to say they all miss it to some degree and understand how special it is. Hopefully this new menu sparks the creativity of those who maybe haven't been there as long, but at the very least there's less reason to need a dealer's choice with the vast array of new drinks to try.

    headcase wrote:With that being said, there are still a couple that will go completely off board if asked: Michael for one, Steven has been there since day one, and my understanding is that Kyle is back (again).) There very well maybe others, but I know those three for a fact.


    Michael and Steven are certainly two of the best bartenders I've had the pleasure of having make me a drink. I'm pretty sure Kyle has left (for the Publican full time?), but Henry is recently back from an extended absence and was the man behind our wonderful first evening with the new menu.
  • Post #273 - October 2nd, 2010, 3:48 pm
    Post #273 - October 2nd, 2010, 3:48 pm Post #273 - October 2nd, 2010, 3:48 pm
    kl1191 wrote:
    headcase wrote:
    bjackson wrote:Sounds amazing KL. I love the Violet Hour, but it seems to me like the quality of the bartenders might be getting a little lower. This is a broad statement, but lately when I've done a dealers choice, I usually just get something from the menu, or last seasons menu.


    This is true, and it is an unfortunate side effect success; how many drink menus have you seen, or press releases that say "so and so formally of the Violet Hour"? They have to continuously replace people that get hired off to start, or redo, drink menus at other places.


    Every business suffers turn over...TVH was hit pretty hard awhile back, but as you say that comes with the territory. Even for those who've left, I don't think the place is just a stepping stone...I'm still friends with several who have and I think it's safe to say they all miss it to some degree and understand how special it is. Hopefully this new menu sparks the creativity of those who maybe haven't been there as long, but at the very least there's less reason to need a dealer's choice with the vast array of new drinks to try.

    headcase wrote:With that being said, there are still a couple that will go completely off board if asked: Michael for one, Steven has been there since day one, and my understanding is that Kyle is back (again).) There very well maybe others, but I know those three for a fact.


    Michael and Steven are certainly two of the best bartenders I've had the pleasure of having make me a drink. I'm pretty sure Kyle has left (for the Publican full time?), but Henry is recently back from an extended absence and was the man behind our wonderful first evening with the new menu.


    Kyle left, was working between Publican and The Hour for a while (I guess this is pretty normal for that family of businesses -- I know of three that spend time at both the Hour and Big Star), then he left the city for a while, Hawaii I think. I'm pretty sure when I was there two or three weeks ago I saw him back behind the bar.

    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 #274 - October 2nd, 2010, 4:29 pm
    Post #274 - October 2nd, 2010, 4:29 pm Post #274 - October 2nd, 2010, 4:29 pm
    headcase wrote:Kyle left, was working between Publican and The Hour for a while (I guess this is pretty normal for that family of businesses -- I know of three that spend time at both the Hour and Big Star), then he left the city for a while, Hawaii I think. I'm pretty sure when I was there two or three weeks ago I saw him back behind the bar.


    Yes, and I'm pretty sure he's gone again...though I'd be happy to be wrong.
  • Post #275 - October 2nd, 2010, 6:16 pm
    Post #275 - October 2nd, 2010, 6:16 pm Post #275 - October 2nd, 2010, 6:16 pm
    kl1191 wrote:
    headcase wrote:Kyle left, was working between Publican and The Hour for a while (I guess this is pretty normal for that family of businesses -- I know of three that spend time at both the Hour and Big Star), then he left the city for a while, Hawaii I think. I'm pretty sure when I was there two or three weeks ago I saw him back behind the bar.


    Yes, and I'm pretty sure he's gone again...though I'd be happy to be wrong.


    Ok, you could be right then, I figured that he hadn't moved on again that quickly.

    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 #276 - October 3rd, 2010, 5:56 pm
    Post #276 - October 3rd, 2010, 5:56 pm Post #276 - October 3rd, 2010, 5:56 pm
    great place, hit Violet Hour Saturday as they opened, White Sox hat on and all.

    Really a cool place, probably too hip for the likes of me, but I loved everything about it. Dark, welcoming, great for conversations, and drinks that kick your ass.

    I perused their drink menu and nothing caught my eye, the line of all the Pappy bourbons did. I started with a Pappy 15 year on the rocks, a big ice rock. $22 a bit steep, but it was a healthy pour, and got built on the moonshine beer, and tequila from previous stops.

    Next up was a tequila old fashioned, herradura blanco & some mezcal, really nice, great flavors, etc. I tasted each of my companions drinks as well, and they were all well crafted.

    I am so glad I finally got here.
    R.I.P. jimswside - 5/2/16



    @GrubSeeker
  • Post #277 - October 3rd, 2010, 6:20 pm
    Post #277 - October 3rd, 2010, 6:20 pm Post #277 - October 3rd, 2010, 6:20 pm
    jimswside wrote:great place, hit Violet Hour Saturday as they opened, White Sox hat on and all.

    Really a cool place, probably too hip for the likes of me, but I loved everything about it. Dark, welcoming, great for conversations, and drinks that kick your ass.

    I perused their drink menu and nothing caught my eye, the line of all the Pappy bourbons did. I started with a Pappy 15 year on the rocks, a big ice rock. $22 a bit steep, but it was a healthy pour, and got built on the moonshine beer, and tequila from previous stops.

    Next up was a tequila old fashioned, herradura blanco & some mezcal, really nice, great flavors, etc. I tasted each of my companions drinks as well, and they were all well crafted.

    I am so glad I finally got here.


    Yikes, Jim. Are you still walking without support?
  • Post #278 - October 3rd, 2010, 6:35 pm
    Post #278 - October 3rd, 2010, 6:35 pm Post #278 - October 3rd, 2010, 6:35 pm
    little500 wrote:
    Yikes, Jim. Are you still walking without support?


    lol, we hit it hard yesterday, Violet Hour was drinking stop # 3 of 4.

    I didnt have any Jim Beam and beer today til about 5:30 p.m when I fired up the kettle.. :D
    R.I.P. jimswside - 5/2/16



    @GrubSeeker
  • Post #279 - October 4th, 2010, 7:52 pm
    Post #279 - October 4th, 2010, 7:52 pm Post #279 - October 4th, 2010, 7:52 pm
    Here's the new menu, as posted by Toby over on eGullet:

    Gin
    Baron's Brew Lady Grey infused Beefeater, Lemon, Neroli-Violet Syrup, House made Tonic
    Trading Floor Hayman’s Old Tom, Pineapple, Orgeat, Spice Trader Syrup, Peychaud's Bitters
    Juliet & Romeo Beefeater, Mint, Cucumber, Rose Water
    Perennial Death’s Door Gin, Fuji Apple Juice, East India Solera Sherry, Ginger Syrup, Angostura Bitters
    Black River Bombay Macerated Pineapple, Lemon, Egg White, St Elizabeth Allspice Dram
    The Willing Hostage Ransom Old Tom, Bonal, Cynar, Regan's Orange Bitters

    Rum
    El Commandant Santa Teresa 1796, Lemon, Honey Syrup, Nux Alpina Black Walnut Liqueur
    Maloney Park Swizzle Brugal Añejo, Lime, Matusalem Classico, Mint, Peychaud's Bitters
    Walsh's Rule El Dorado 12yr, Lime, Amaro CioCiaro, Housemade Grenadine
    Dark & Stormy Brugal Anejo, Lime, Cruzan Black Strap, Ginger Syrup
    Trinidad Punsch Scarlet Ibis, Lime, Batavia Arrack, Spice Trader Syrup
    Notorious F.L.I.P. Smith & Cross, Bonal, Coruba, Whole Egg, Demerara Syrup
    Stewed, Screwed & Tattooed Sailor Jerry, Carpano Antica, Flor de Caña 7yr,Punt e Mes, Regans’ Orange Bitters


    Whiskey
    Blinker Bulleit Bourbon, Grapefruit, Raspberry Syrup, Grapefruit Bitters
    Barbed Wire Daisy Weller 107, Lemon, Housemade Grenadine, Saigon Cinnamon, Fees Orange Bitters
    The Clapless Belle Bulleit Bourbon, Lemon, Ginger Syrup, Laphroaig Scotch
    Gun Shop Sazerac Russell's Reserve 6yr Rye, Maison Surrenne Cognac, Peychaud's Bitters, Herbsaint
    Duckhunter Prichard's Sweet Lucy, Lemon, St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram, Egg Yolk, House Orange Bitters
    Grave Dancer Wild Turkey 101 Rye, Punt e Mes, Laird’s Applejack, honey Syrup, House Orange & Root Beer Bitters

    Tequila
    Flaming Heart Lunazul Blanco, Pineapple, Licor 43, Green Tabasco
    Goya’s Coupe de Gras Lunazul Blanco, Lime, Amaro CioCiaro, House Made Grenadine, Regans’ Orange Bitters
    El Diablo El Jimador, Lime, Ginger Syrup, Briottet Crème de Cassis
    Heads You Lose Vida Mezcal, East India Solera Sherry, Nux Alpina Black Walnut Liqueur, House Orange Bitters
    The Great Speaker Del Maguey Crema de Mezcal, Demerara Syrup, Coffee-Pecan Bitters

    Brandy
    Seasonal Sidecar Laird's Applejack, Lemon, House Orange Curacao, Punt e Mes, House made Allspice Dram
    Key to the Alps Maison Surrenne Cognac, Grapefruit, Bonal, Angostura Bitters
    Swingin’ on the Lawn Mae de Oro Pisco Italia, Lemon, Rothman & Winter Cherry Liqueur, Egg White, Cherry Bitters

    Potable Bitters
    Pimms Cup Variation Pimms #1, Ginger, Tanqueray, Mint, Orange, Blackberry
    The Stroonz Cynar, Grapefruit, Old Forester Bourbon, Orange Oil
    Eeyor’s Requiem Campari, Dolin Bianco Vermouth, Cynar, Fernet Branca, House Orange Bitters

    Vodka
    Austin 75 Tito's, Lemon, House made Hibiscus Syrup, Gruet Sparkling
    Gilded Cage Tito’s, Lemon, Honey Syrup, Egg White, Peychaud’s Bitters
    Moscow Mule Tito’s, Lime, Ginger Syrup

    Wine and Sparkling
    Coffee Ay-Ay Ruby Port, House made Coffee Syrup Cruzan Black Strap Rum, Whole Egg, Nutmeg
    Seasonal Sangria Au Bon Climat Pinot Blanc, Lemon, Grapefruit, Rothman & Winter Pear Liqueur, Regans’ Orange Bitters
    Jimmy Roosevelt Gruet Sparkling, Sugar Cube, Maison Surrenne Cognac, Green Chartreuse, Angostura Bitters

    Seasonal Punches
    The Lady is a Tramp Lady Grey-infused Beefeater, Lemon, Licor 43, Pineapple, Regans’ Orange Bitters
    Buddha & Pest Sazerac 6yr Rye, Fuji Apple Juice, Zwack, Saigon Cinnamon, Angostura Bitters
  • Post #280 - October 8th, 2010, 5:09 pm
    Post #280 - October 8th, 2010, 5:09 pm Post #280 - October 8th, 2010, 5:09 pm
    headcase wrote:
    kl1191 wrote:
    headcase wrote:Kyle left, was working between Publican and The Hour for a while (I guess this is pretty normal for that family of businesses -- I know of three that spend time at both the Hour and Big Star), then he left the city for a while, Hawaii I think. I'm pretty sure when I was there two or three weeks ago I saw him back behind the bar.


    Yes, and I'm pretty sure he's gone again...though I'd be happy to be wrong.


    Ok, you could be right then, I figured that he hadn't moved on again that quickly.

    SSDD


    Kyle and Michael have both now left. The new menu is indeed great, though.
  • Post #281 - October 9th, 2010, 12:09 pm
    Post #281 - October 9th, 2010, 12:09 pm Post #281 - October 9th, 2010, 12:09 pm
    Selfishly, I'm sorry to hear both have left as both were outstanding. Well, I wish them the best! Anyone know where they went?
  • Post #282 - October 9th, 2010, 2:54 pm
    Post #282 - October 9th, 2010, 2:54 pm Post #282 - October 9th, 2010, 2:54 pm
    Kyle is at the Publican, Michael at Big Star.
  • Post #283 - October 11th, 2010, 3:37 pm
    Post #283 - October 11th, 2010, 3:37 pm Post #283 - October 11th, 2010, 3:37 pm
    tsg20 wrote:Kyle is at the Publican, Michael at Big Star.


    Just curious, are you sure of this? Like I said earlier in the thread, alot of the bartenders that work at those establishments (Violet Hour, Publican, Big Star) work between two of them. Yes Michael went over to Big Star when they opened to do the drink program there, but my understanding is that most Saturdays he is at the Hour; and I did see him there about a month ago. Kyle was doing the same sort of thing between the Hour and Public before he left for Hawaii a year or so ago, and I've also seen him at the Hour within the last Month. I've seen at least two others, Suzie and a guy who I can't remember his same right now, at both the Hour and Big Star recently.

    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 #284 - October 13th, 2010, 12:58 pm
    Post #284 - October 13th, 2010, 12:58 pm Post #284 - October 13th, 2010, 12:58 pm
    Yes, I'm absolutely sure of this - they both left 2-3 weeks ago (and I agree, they were both working at both places for quite a while).
  • Post #285 - October 13th, 2010, 9:52 pm
    Post #285 - October 13th, 2010, 9:52 pm Post #285 - October 13th, 2010, 9:52 pm
    I agree... I was there on Mike R's 'last night' (although he later said he might be back a few more times). He said he'd be working on creating the Violet Hour menu, as well as tending bar at Big Star.
  • Post #286 - October 14th, 2010, 9:26 am
    Post #286 - October 14th, 2010, 9:26 am Post #286 - October 14th, 2010, 9:26 am
    tsg20 wrote:Yes, I'm absolutely sure of this - they both left 2-3 weeks ago (and I agree, they were both working at both places for quite a while).


    Thanks

    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 #287 - October 24th, 2010, 3:14 pm
    Post #287 - October 24th, 2010, 3:14 pm Post #287 - October 24th, 2010, 3:14 pm
    Michael is still there. I was at Big Star today and she confirmed Michael is still there and leads the bar program at both VH and the bar program at Big Star. I think rumors of his departure are greatly exaggerated (as they say).
  • Post #288 - November 21st, 2010, 2:49 pm
    Post #288 - November 21st, 2010, 2:49 pm Post #288 - November 21st, 2010, 2:49 pm
    A week ago My Bride and I attempted to make our maiden voyage to this highly respected place.

    A Friday night with The Hawk out in force. The line out the door and down the block. My Bride's lack of understanding how a place could be so good to warrant such a wait.

    Needless to say she was able to barely tolerate it for about 20 minutes and after seeing there was a line inside too her German got the best of her and she stalked off in a huff. I Love a girl with spirit. :)

    Image
    The wall art was in fine form.

    Image
    ... and yes. They do have some discreet signage. :)

    I caught up to her at North Ave and was able to steer her over to ...

    Cafe Absinthe
    1958 W North Ave, Chicago
    (773) 278-4488

    ... where a glass of the Green Fairy AKA: an Absinthe Drip (made with the true Absinthe now that is legal once again) was able to soothe her and rescued our enjoyable evening.

    A nice bar with a great bartender and a lively group of customers.
    "Make Lunch, Not War" ~ Anon
  • Post #289 - November 22nd, 2010, 12:16 am
    Post #289 - November 22nd, 2010, 12:16 am Post #289 - November 22nd, 2010, 12:16 am
    Panther in the Den wrote:...our maiden voyage...Friday night

    Well, there's your first mistake...

    Panther in the Den wrote:I caught up to her at North Ave and was able to steer her over to ...

    Cafe Absinthe
    1958 W North Ave, Chicago
    (773) 278-4488

    Not a bad audible, not bad at all. The Violet Hour/Cafe Absinthe one-two punch is a great Thursday night combo. Friday, now that's another story entirely...unless you're waiting outside when they open at 6 PM (or arrive very shortly thereafter), you're in for a wait. Anytime much after open on Fridays and Saturdays isn't really worth it anyway. The bartenders are too busy to give you the best experience.
  • Post #290 - December 28th, 2010, 10:21 am
    Post #290 - December 28th, 2010, 10:21 am Post #290 - December 28th, 2010, 10:21 am
    The X clan and I descended upon the Violet Hour last night for cocktails to celebrate the holidays. We were there early (6 PM) and there was a line when we left around 8:30. I somehow got the feeling this was not a typical Monday night for them, but the holidays throw everyone for a loop.

    With a party of 8, there were a lot of cocktails sampled. I stayed in the Whiskey section for my two, starting with the Clapless Belle (W.L. Weller 7yr Special Reserve, Lemon, Ginger Syrup) followed by their Old Fashioned. I loved the Clapless Belle. It really opened up as I drank it. The old fashioned was good, but I longed for the flavors of the Belle. I has samples of everyone else's drinks, but there were so many and my samples so small that I can't really give a good assessment.

    We did have a few bites while we were there as well. We tried the beer nuts, Grilled Lamb Sausage Flatbread with Pickled Beets and Persian Feta, Red Curry Squash Crostini with Pickled Spanish Octopus and a cheese plate. With two gluten-intolerant diners, the kitchen was able to offer the flatbread and the crostini without the breads. With or without the bread product as we did it both ways, the ingredients and combinations were top notch. There was a pleasant heat in the red curry squash crostini and octopus. The lamb/beets/feta was a great combination as well.

    All in all, it was a successful visit. It was too long between visits for us and we resolved to amend that in the new year.
    -Mary
  • Post #291 - January 5th, 2011, 7:56 pm
    Post #291 - January 5th, 2011, 7:56 pm Post #291 - January 5th, 2011, 7:56 pm
    Last night, I had a truly wonderful experience at the Violet Hour, after a rather disappointing one at Bar DeVille (which I'll not explain in too much detail, but it wasn't my cuppa).

    Seated at the bar, we started with a pair of Ramos Gin Fizzes (which, for whatever reason, could not be conjured up at BdV). We skipped our dessert after a great dinner at Takashi and were looking for something a bit on the sweet and creamy side. It's one of our favorite cocktails and it was pulled off with great skill by our bartender Jane. I've written before that I've become somewhat disenchanted with some of the bartenders at the Violet Hour, who seemed to be able to only execute the menu choices, but not be able to go off menu or riff. Jane was a complete 180 from those previous experiences.

    After we finished our Ramos Gin Fizzes (which my fiancee has dubbed 'a pillow of heaven', which I think is pretty apt), we went on menu to try out the Hummingbird for her, and the Winter in Tremont for myself. I didn't try enough of the Hummingbird to give an honest account, but it was appreciated by my fiancee, and I enjoyed my sip. The Winter in Tremont, however, was something special I felt. I really liked the Fernet in this drink, which I often shy away from. I would have never really thought that pear and Fernet would be great companions, but I was proven wrong here. It had a strong taste of sweet apple to finish which I really enjoyed.

    On what was supposed to be our final cocktail, I opted for the Barrel Aged Manhattan, because my love of Manhattans and my curiosity with the barrel aging process, which seems to be vogue right now. My partner asked for a Ramos Gin Fizz or something like it, and while our bartender seemed to be a bit worried that by tinkering with the RGF that she'd produce something that wasn't greater than the sum of it's parts. I don't quite recall the entire riff, but she did sub out some of the simple for St. Germain (I've heard this referred to as MSG for bartenders, which seems pretty correct. You can replace some simple with some St. Germain and make almost anything a bit better), and subbed out Ransom Old Tom for Junipero. She really enjoyed this riff, as much or more than her original RGF, so in that respect I think it was a huge win. For myself, the Barrel Aged Manhattan, at first I did not enjoy at all. It really took a few sips for me to appreciate what was going on there and realize it wasn't just a complex perfect manhattan, but something else entirely. It felt more like an older cousin to the Manhattan, than a variation of one. That being said once I got into what was going on with the flavor profile, I really enjoyed it.

    After this point, my memory gets to be a bit hazy, however, I ordered two more cocktails, both dealer's choice. I got a Raincoat, which was my favorite of the night. I think it may have been her own creation, but it was bourbon, walnut liqueur, almond syrup and bitters. I thought it was pretty heavenly, and then I ended with the Art of Choke, which was, as always, great.

    We stumbled home after 4.5 hours at The Violet Hour, where time stood still, full of nothing but praise for the establishment.
  • Post #292 - January 6th, 2011, 12:20 am
    Post #292 - January 6th, 2011, 12:20 am Post #292 - January 6th, 2011, 12:20 am
    bjackson wrote:The Winter in Tremont...

    Any idea of what else is in this beside pear brandy and Fernet? Stephen's Summer in Tremont* has appeared in a couple different variations, both in Rogue Cocktails and on the Violet Hour menu (the VH version dialed the Fernet down)...given their penchant for "winterizing", I'd guess they ditched the raspberry and perhaps added...allspice dram or some spiced syrup/tincture?

    *Clear Creek Pear, Grapefruit, Lemon, Raspberry & Simple Syrups, Fernet, Egg White, Soda, Peychaud
  • Post #293 - January 7th, 2011, 1:01 pm
    Post #293 - January 7th, 2011, 1:01 pm Post #293 - January 7th, 2011, 1:01 pm
    kl1191 wrote:
    bjackson wrote:The Winter in Tremont...

    Any idea of what else is in this beside pear brandy and Fernet? Stephen's Summer in Tremont* has appeared in a couple different variations, both in Rogue Cocktails and on the Violet Hour menu (the VH version dialed the Fernet down)...given their penchant for "winterizing", I'd guess they ditched the raspberry and perhaps added...allspice dram or some spiced syrup/tincture?

    *Clear Creek Pear, Grapefruit, Lemon, Raspberry & Simple Syrups, Fernet, Egg White, Soda, Peychaud


    Hi KL, I don't really recall what was in it exactly, but they did dial back the Winter in Tremont to .5oz, but as far as the rest I don't quite recall unfortunatly.
  • Post #294 - January 9th, 2011, 7:23 pm
    Post #294 - January 9th, 2011, 7:23 pm Post #294 - January 9th, 2011, 7:23 pm
    Hi Toby Here. I would first and foremost like to thank bjackson for the wonderful review. I am so glad that they got to sit with Jane for a solid half a shift. Good work.

    There is one part that I would like to talk about.

    "I've written before that I've become somewhat disenchanted with some of the bartenders at the Violet Hour, who seemed to be able to only execute the menu choices, but not be able to go off menu or riff. Jane was a complete 180 from those previous experiences."

    The part of this that I am having a bit of a hard time with is that you are “somewhat disenchanted with some of the bartenders at the Violet Hour, who seemed to be able to only execute the menu choices”. That is about 50ish cocktails including the classics. A bartender who can execute 50 cocktails with precision and speed is a hell of a bartender in my mind. I understand how regulars of The Violet Hour have come to expect the Omakase experience from their bartender. The problem is that it’s not feasible all the time. Why? You ask? Well it’s a matter of training.

    Training bartenders in a busy bar is a very difficult thing to do. Let me give you an idea of what it takes to train a bartender at The Violet Hour.

    In a perfect world…

    Step one: Barback for six months to a year. This is a very important part of the training. The person is steeped in the culture, learns how to deal with ice, tastes hundreds of cocktails, becomes familiar with the hundreds of spirit bottles, starts to refine their palate, gets fluid in the space behind the bar.

    Step two: Go through basic training, bartending 101. This is an intensive class with me that introduces them to TVH philosophy. We taste the classics, we talk water content and balance. We go through shaking and stirring technique. They start to study the first 50 recipes. At this point they have still not made a cocktail.

    Step three: Bartending 212: A station is set up and they make the most basic cocktails before the bar is open. Either a senior bartender or I walk them through the most basic of all cocktails. They study more. A lot more. This happens a few more times until they can make the classics and some of the more popular menu cocktails.

    Step Four: They get a station while the bar is open and they make most of those cocktails while being overseen. They start to shadow a senior bartender. They study more. Throughout this whole process they email me and ask questions. I also sit down with them when in town and go over more advanced philosophy and technique.

    Step Five. They shadow a senior bartender taking notes and asking questions. They start to study popular drinks from past menus. They probably are getting toward 100 cocktails on note cards and in their heads. They study more.

    Step Six. They get a service station shift on the slow nights. Their drinks are checked by bartenders and servers. They still have not waited on a customer. They study more.

    Step Seven: They work the service station for a few months until they are comfortable with the menu. At this point we probably change the menu on them so they have a slew of new drinks to learn. They keep studying. At this point they have invested hundreds of hours of study and work, and they have yet to wait on a patron.

    Step Eight: They get two stools in front of the service well to make the menu, past menu and classic cocktails. So it is at this point that they are allowed to disenchant a customer.

    Step Nine: They work for another couple of months, at least, until they are very comfortable with people and cocktails before they start riffing. Even then they are encouraged to have other bartenders taste their creations. Some work, some don’t.

    Step Ten: They hit their stride and they are able to do everything.

    I hope this enlightens people to the amazing amount of time and effort the bartenders go through to work at The Violet Hour. The bartenders there are amazing. They make me smile every time I sit at the bar. I am awed and surprised constantly by their creativity and their courtesy. They make a very hard job look not only easy but fun. They are the wind beneath my wings.
    WRECHED EXCESS IS BARELY ENOUGH

    HEAT
  • Post #295 - January 9th, 2011, 9:07 pm
    Post #295 - January 9th, 2011, 9:07 pm Post #295 - January 9th, 2011, 9:07 pm
    Alchemist wrote:Training bartenders in a busy bar is a very difficult thing to do. Let me give you an idea of what it takes to train a bartender at The Violet Hour.
    You forgot the part where some go all Luke from Empire and leave before finishing the training, essentially becoming a negative return on all the time invested...yes, this makes you Yoda, deal with it.

    Alchemist wrote:I hope this enlightens people to the amazing amount of time and effort the bartenders go through to work at The Violet Hour. The bartenders there are amazing. They make me smile every time I sit at the bar. I am awed and surprised constantly by their creativity and their courtesy. They make a very hard job look not only easy but fun. They are the wind beneath my wings.
    Toby, please don't think we don't appreciate everything you and the rest of the crew do to bring us one of the world's best cocktail experiences on a nightly basis. I'll quote a post I wrote just a couple days after spending the night drinking with Troy & Joaquin at Death & Co.

    kl1191 wrote:I thought I'd broken the Violet Hour's hold on me...drinking in fancy NY bars and underground Chicago lounges, I may have been heard to bemoan that its best days were behind it. ... My drinking companions and I sampled 12 drinks tonight, and they were all entirely worthy of what I consider the Golden Age of this establishment. ... This bar is something special, not just in this city, but in this country and on this planet. Don't take it for granted.
  • Post #296 - January 12th, 2011, 7:09 am
    Post #296 - January 12th, 2011, 7:09 am Post #296 - January 12th, 2011, 7:09 am
    The Bartenders at The Violet have started a blog. http://partyondamen.wordpress.com I hope that it will be interesting and informative to have this as another venue for thoughts, musings, and insights from The Violet Hour.

    Cheers,
    Toby
    WRECHED EXCESS IS BARELY ENOUGH

    HEAT
  • Post #297 - January 14th, 2011, 11:59 pm
    Post #297 - January 14th, 2011, 11:59 pm Post #297 - January 14th, 2011, 11:59 pm
    bjackson wrote:
    kl1191 wrote:
    bjackson wrote:The Winter in Tremont...

    Any idea of what else is in this beside pear brandy and Fernet? Stephen's Summer in Tremont* has appeared in a couple different variations, both in Rogue Cocktails and on the Violet Hour menu (the VH version dialed the Fernet down)...given their penchant for "winterizing", I'd guess they ditched the raspberry and perhaps added...allspice dram or some spiced syrup/tincture?

    *Clear Creek Pear, Grapefruit, Lemon, Raspberry & Simple Syrups, Fernet, Egg White, Soda, Peychaud


    Hi KL, I don't really recall what was in it exactly, but they did dial back the Winter in Tremont to .5oz, but as far as the rest I don't quite recall unfortunatly.

    Had the Winter in Tremont tonight. As far as I can tell, it's the summer minus the raspberry and the Fernet kicked up a bit. I continue to be amazed at how the Pear Brandy just obliterates the Fernet, making it tame and docile. More than anything you really taste the Peychaud's, which is remarkable given the relative quantities of bitters. I believe Stephen said there was 3/4 of an ounce of Fernet vs. 3 dashes of Peychaud's. A stunning drink. Also had a very tasty Corn n' Oil riff.
  • Post #298 - March 25th, 2011, 12:35 pm
    Post #298 - March 25th, 2011, 12:35 pm Post #298 - March 25th, 2011, 12:35 pm
    Hi, long time lurker, first time poster here.

    Anyone know if the spring menu is now available or if not when it will be?

    Thanks!
  • Post #299 - March 25th, 2011, 1:14 pm
    Post #299 - March 25th, 2011, 1:14 pm Post #299 - March 25th, 2011, 1:14 pm
    raytan wrote:Hi, long time lurker, first time poster here.

    Anyone know if the spring menu is now available or if not when it will be?

    Thanks!


    I'd be very surprised if it wasn't live already. I had a couple drinks from it on the 10th and I believe they'd had the staff meeting/tasting a day or two earlier.
  • Post #300 - March 25th, 2011, 3:00 pm
    Post #300 - March 25th, 2011, 3:00 pm Post #300 - March 25th, 2011, 3:00 pm
    Their blog indicates its coming soon:

    http://partyondamen.com/?p=148

    "The Party Continues…
    Yes folks Party on Damen is back from hiatus!

    We have finally redesigned the blog.

    The post will start flying off the shelf with our slick new blogging machine!

    Thanks to our friends at Badfeather for helping set things up.

    Spring Menu right around the corner.

    Talk to you soon.

    H"

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