OyChicago blog

Cheers! Chicago: A gin competition…and finding the right one, part 2

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07/23/2010

Cheers! Chicago: A gin competition photo 1

Before I get into my real post, I have some exiting news to share with all of you Oy!sters! About a month ago, I was chosen amongst young, Chicago online writers and bloggers to attend the unveiling of a brand new, American-made spirit called, New Amsterdam Gin at the Old Town Social Club.

For those of you unaware of gin, it is created similarly to vodka, but after distillation the white spirit is then infused and steeped with various botanical and citrus ingredients. Not only did we get our hands on the gin before anyone else in Chicago, each one of us writers also had the opportunity participate in a cocktail competition to find out who can make the best tasting cocktail using New Amsterdam Gin! We spent the night enjoying free finger food and complimentary cocktails from Old Town Social while we contemplated our recipes. How much fun is that?!

The competition was fierce, but the fun was never-ending! Check out the video to see how it all went down, and you may even catch a glance of me talking about my dazzling creation, “The Magnificent Mile”.  Now, I ended up in de-facto second place (there was only one grand prize), which is not too shabby. Alex Ott, the head mixologist for New Amsterdam Gin and the head judge for our cocktail competition, even mentioned to me afterwards that my cocktail reminded him of a lollipop he enjoyed when he was a child here in Chicago! Despite my runner-up standing, I had more fun hanging out with a group of Chicago food and drink writers at a great location with some amazing cocktails!

What more could I ask for on a rainy Tuesday evening? The hospitality was great from both Old Town Social and the fabulous people at DeVries Public Relations and New Amsterdam Gin. I highly recommend picking up a bottle of this incredibly smooth, easy to drink gin and add it to your home bar for just $13.99!

Cheers! Chicago: A gin competition photo 2

Now…on to my topic for this blog, dating in the most public and arguably the most awkward of social settings: the bar. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have seen and heard my share of both failures and successes of those braving the elements and finding love in the wilderness of the bar scene.

From behind the counter, it sometimes appears like singles looking to mingle are treasure hunters hacking at the bramble as they meander through the dark  jungle that is dating. Now, just because the jungle can be fierce does not mean that there isn’t any treasure to discover, or exotic places to explore. Sometimes bars can be a great place to hang out and meet attractive and single people, but you have to know where to go and what times to be there.

Certain restaurants and hotels have cozy bars and lounges where young, single people can crash after work or even after dinner for a nightcap. There are bars that will even offer food, so you can eat and scope out the scene or if you're lucky, find yourself engrossed in a conversation with a complete stranger sitting next to you. Even if you are dating someone, you can still go to bars and have a fun time without feeling awkward. At Le Colonial, where I tend bar, we have a “date night” promotion on Wednesdays where you can bring a date and get discounts on bubbly and certain menu items. Since you can eat at the bar, you can pick a stool, pony up and enjoy some fabulous food and sparkly with your significant other. You can even pick a spot on one of the comfy sofas in the lounge and relax to your heart’s content. Who said that bars can’t be romantic?

Just a couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to witness a very special proposal at at my restaurant! As I saw the wonton desserts go out, I knew he was preparing to ask and wanted to see it for myself...lo and behold, he dropped to one knee and asked her! All the servers (who are female) were all choked up and as they left, everyone clapped and wished them a hearty congratulations! To think that they were introduced by mutual friends a few years ago at this very bar!

Seeing a couple at my bar enjoying fabulous cocktails and company always puts a smile on my face, and should give hope to those prowling around the dating jungle that, with the right attitude, good timing, and the right setting, anything is possible! So keep your head up, all you single people, and keep the stories coming!

L’Chaim!

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