Tag Archives: Grant Achatz

D’USSE Launch at Aviary


Not gonna lie- we felt sooo fancy

Some invites I don’t pass up…they normally include; anything Nike throws, launches of designer stores, parties thrown by liquor companies, birthdays of close friends and Bright Pink events. *notice I did not include; bachelorette parties, showers, destination weddings and girls trips so don’t feel like ya’ll ever need to invite me!*

Last night I was invited to the Chicago launch of a cognac called D’USSE (sounds like “do say”) at The Aviary. What?! And no, I’m not all shocked with excitement over a party that only serves cognac, but when it takes place at one of the best restaurants arguably in the world…you RSVP immediately.

At least I did, I’ve had Chef Achatz’s food and it’s- a. amazing, b. not cheap and c. not easy to get a reso for.

The invite said “dinner” would take place between 8-11pm with paired cocktails from Mixologist Charles Jolly, so we all assumed we’d be sitting to eat and therefore, arrived on time.

Well, turns out it was a passed bites and cocktail party- which was a pleasant surprise in my opinion…I got enjoy the party and be in bed before 10pm.

Around 50 of us had our own “Hunger Games” type battle to snag the bites that were total flavor explosions in the mouth. A mini “taco chip with guac”- yes. Little polenta cake with some kind of jam- si. The signature potato crunch bite- we could not get enough.

The drinks were solid too, especially considering I’m not a big dark liquor drinker.

But the real bonus of the night was that Chef was walking around chatting up guests. I pretended like he doesn’t intimidate the sh$t out of me and calmly asked about Next’s upcoming Vegan menu. I told him how much I was looking forward to being able to eat the food and not be a pain in the ass about substitutions.

They gave me a bottle to take as a prop for the set for my Fox hit, and of course I emptied it into a nice decanter at home and filled the bottle with iced tea. Kidding, but sure wish I would have thought of that last night.



During my extensive cocktail career; I’ve sampled drinks I’ve loved, loathed and guzzled so fast I didn’t even taste. (college)

But nothing comes close to what I sampled this weekend at Aviary.

I’m someone who gets very uncomfortable in fine dining restaurants so I was a bit on edge at the thought of going to a preview of Grant Achatz’s new cocktail lounge. If I can’t laugh loudly I don’t want to be there.

Ryan was invited because- he’s good friends with the owner Nick Kokonas and has employed most of the staff at some point- and he took a gamble on me as his plus one.

From the second we entered the beautiful white room- I felt at ease. In one corner sat a table of my girlfriends who were laughing and chatting away. Across the room- other 30 something groups of friends were also enjoying rounds of cocktails and conversation.

Our table for two was bathed in perfect lighting (a must on any date) and the music was just loud enough to create a cool and non distracting ambiance.

Nick sat with us and explained some of the classic and creative cocktails- I took him up on sampling the “Ginger” and “Cranberry”.

The Ginger was served in three parts- a glass with a perfect slope of crushed ginger ice that was speckled with green and red berries and leaves. This was presented with the ginger concoction and a swizzle stick made from lemon grass. I was instructed to pour the liquid over the ice and act as though I was “starting a fire” with the lemon grass.

The combo of fun and flavor caused us to laugh and realize this place didn’t take it’s self too seriously.

We also sampled a drink served “forty-style” and a layered version of a Hurricane.

Ryan wouldn’t let me take photos- out of courtesy to other diners but luckily my friend Nicole Tempesta snagged a shot of “The Blueberry”- something so complex that attempting to explain it wouldn’t do it justice.

This is a place I’ll return with out of town friends and as often as possible and I recommend you do the same- if we can get a reservation.

The Blueberry