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'Bohemian Tease' Snags Official Drink of 'Hood Honors at Mixologist Mashup

By Alisa Hauser | March 29, 2013 11:43am | Updated on March 29, 2013 1:36pm

BUCKTOWN —  What does Bucktown and Wicker Park taste like?

Just like a refreshing tea-based "Bohemian Tease" cocktail, which snagged top honors at the Wicker Park-Bucktown Mixologist Mashup Thursday at Dolphin, 2200 N. Ashland Ave.

"Bohemian Tease" was conceived by defending champions Tom Kleiner and Lori Haarman from Bucktown's Club Lucky Italian restaurant, which plans to add the "tease" to its summer cocktail menu.

Kleiner and Haarman sought all-local ingredients for the cocktail, which uses red Rooibos tea from DAVIDsTea, fresh pressed juiced from Olivia's Market, orange blossom-infused honey from the Chicago Honey Co-Op and black cherry-stuffed hibiscus flowers from Cermak Produce.

The local ingredients were combined with a house-made blood orange gelatin and elderflower, a cordial soda using elderberries, blood orange, rhubarb and Absolut vodka.

Reacting to the win at the end of the evening, Haarman said, "Honestly I did not think this would happen. Nobody wins two years in a row."

Haarman added: "What I'm most happy about is that we sourced every ingredient locally, from the community. We bought two pounds of tea from DAVIDsTea. Usually, you buy by the ounce."

Bohemian Tease garnered 36 votes, the lion's share from some 150 attendees who placed their votes for 10 different cocktails from 10 Wicker Park and Bucktown restaurants and bars.

The runner-up cocktails were Wicker Park Tavern's "What's Shakin' Bacon?" with 26 votes, and Red Door Kitchen and Bar's "The Greenstone Door," with 18 votes.

Bartender Emily Del Valle's "What's Shakin Bacon?" contained Absolut Vodka, Bailey's Irish Creme, organic maple syrup, Coca Cola and homemade bacon sugar. The cocktail was topped with a candied bacon garnish.

Bartender Jay Schroeder's  "The Greenstone Door" used Absolut vodka, cucumber puree, fresh lemon, lemon oil, Saint Germain elderflower liqueur and Thai basil.

During the course of the three-hour event, drinkers moved from table to table to taste samples of each cocktail and place their raffle ticket vote inside of jars next to each display.

Stanci Dawson and her boyfriend Abasi Thompson said they are regulars at Wicker Park Tavern and cast their votes for "What's Shakin Bacon?"

"It's sweet. Bacon makes everything better," Dawson, a nurse, said.

Alyssa Conway, from the Lakeview East neighborhood, said she voted for Antique Taco's "Antique Pop," a fruity concoction with sugary pop rock salt around the rim. She was torn between that drink and "What's Shakin Bacon?" but figured the bacon-centric drink had enough votes.

"Everyone loves bacon," Conway said.

While the winning drinks got plenty of raves, cocktails made by the other seven bartenders from participating bars and restaurants earned accolades too.

Mike Ganino from Protein Bar described "60647," by Lottie's Pub's Meghan Konecy, as "super balanced." 

Made of Absolut vodka, yellow chartreuse, blackberry rosemary shrub, fresh lemon juice and orange bitters, the "60647" cocktail also contained balsamic vinegar.

"The balsamic adds a bit of weirdness, kind of like Wicker Park," Ganino said.

While nine of the 10 cocktails were served in plastic glasses, just one was in a convenient plastic bag pouch with a straw: "Barfly."

The Savoy's mixologist Deirdre Darling's concoction contained vodka and Jeppson's Malort.

Darling said "Barfly" was inspired by the Ray LaMontagne song of the same name and modeled after a Capri Sun. 

The "Barfly" neighborhood focus stems from "all the hipster stroller moms in the neighborhood," Darling said.

Proceeds from the Mixologist Mashup benefit the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce.