We've long been a fan of playing "dealer's choice" when drinking at the best bars, leaving our cocktail's fate in the hands of whoever's manning the shakers.
At The Berkshire Room, the throwback-inspired cocktail lounge attached to River North's Acme Hotel, the choose-your-own-adventure equivalent of drinking is advertised in bold on the menu ($13), inviting adventurous imbibers to let their palates dictate the drink's profile.
Start by selecting a base spirit. The Berkshire Room has choices beyond the standards, including Old Tom gin, aquavit, rhum agricole, pisco, sake and shochu.
Next, choose a flavor profile: "Sweet and sour," "herbaceous" and "spicy" are three possible routes.
A request for a smoky rye cocktail in a rocks glass led to a complex cousin of an Old Fashioned, with Bénédictine, brandy, a spritz of mezcal and house-made chai bitters. We kept our order simple, but seasoned bar master Ben Schiller, formerly of the BOKA Group, is always up for a challenge.
Next time, an herbaceous, spicy Armagnac libation in a Julep glass, perhaps? If you can dream-taste it, they can mix it.
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