You’ll Certainly Want To Tap These . . .
FoodEase's wine bar offers a rotating list of red or white vino on tap. (Photo: FoodEase)
Restaurants and bars are constantly coming up with innovative new techniques to serve beverages. For instance, the barrel-age trend emerged about two years ago at spots like Boka and David Burke’s Primehouse as bartenders intensified the flavors of mostly gin- and whiskey-based cocktails like Manhattans and Negronis. They aged them from two weeks to several months.
Even more ambitious mixologists such as Blackbird’s Lynn House and Carriage House’s Michael Simon are like mad scientists at home. They’ve designated space to experiment with not only techniques, but also house-made bitters, herbal tinctures and liqueurs.
But you’ll find that one of the biggest trends happening right now at some of the city’s top destinations is beverages on tap. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic. Bartenders embrace the technique because it’s environmentally sound, economical and allows them to be more efficient. The taps also eliminate the need for a large inventory and reduce the waste that bottles produce. With cocktails on tap, particularly the more complex ones, the drink is perfect every time. And bartenders “in the weeds” during happy hour or on the weekends appreciate any help they can get!
Tavernita’s The Tippling Bros.—the top-notch mixology duo of Tad Carducci and Paul Tanguay—have developed the most innovative and expansive tap system in the city to serve all of their beverages. The main bar features 48 taps from which the bartenders pull seven specialty cocktails, 19 small-batch wines, sangrias, vermouths, house-made soda, and Spanish and craft beers. This system makes them pretty efficient when serving up signature cocktails Booty Collins (green tea-infused Absolut Vodka, passion fruit, lemon, cayenne and yohimbe bark) and Pisco Double Punch (BarSol Pisco, pineapple, lemon and Aji Amarillo chile pepper paste).
Tavernita's main bar features 48 taps from which the bartenders pull all beverages. (Photo: Tavernita)
At Yusho, the hit hangout in Logan Square, head bartender Alex Bachman whips up a daily cocktail on tap using key ingredients from the kitchen. There is also sparkling sake on tap, which of course is extra crisp because of carbonation.
Venues with wines on tap boast exceptional flavor and intensity. At Volo in Roscoe Village, for example, the massive wine list includes a nice selection of boutique vino on tap. The menu is small and seasonal, starting at $6 a glass, and complementing many of the New American small plate dishes.
While the list at Volo is a good mix of American and European vino, Bar Toma’s wine-on-tap offerings are comprised of Italian grapes grown in California. Those shopping at upscale grocery shop FoodEase may settle into its wine bar for a rotating list of red or white vino by the glass for $5. And Wicker Park newcomer Covo Gyro Market features two bountiful Greek wines on tap.
Those looking for non-alcoholic options will be thrilled to learn that bellyQ features Vietnamese coffee and hibiscus iced tea on tap. And the highly rated Trenchermen offers iced coffee on tap, which should come in handy for those waiting to be seated during the brunch crush.
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