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2524 W Chicago Ave, #4
Chicago, IL, 60622

3124505867

HOLLOW LEG creates original cocktails, provides recipes, and teaches cocktail classes. All of our cocktails are as local, seasonal, sustainable, and organic as possible!

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Blog

Liquor reviews, cocktail recipes, mixology trends, and seasonal ingredients. Includes cocktail tips and info on local whiskey, gin, vodka, beer, and liqueur.

Bitters + Tinctures

Devin Kidner

We're thrilled to announce that we sell our hand-crafted bitters and tinctures! 

Now the bitters and tinctures you experiment with during class are for sale on-site - and we're taking online orders. You can check out our current offerings + pricing here.

Scroll down for more information regarding the bitters + tinctures,  as well as a handy pairing guide to help you pick your perfect match!

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What are bitters and tinctures?

Simply put, bitters and tinctures are potent flavouring agents usually made from high volume alcohol that add complexity and nuance into cocktails.

We like to call them the "X factor" of cocktails because they usually supply the undercurrent of flavour that piques the nerves and tastebuds in your mouth. Bitters and tinctures are a crucial element to making interesting cocktails that are personalised to your palate!

How do I use bitters and tinctures in a cocktail?

The beautiful thing about bitters and tinctures is that you can use a variety of flavours to achieve your desired outcome.

Let's say you want to add a twist to an Old Fashioned: You can give your drink a bitter, nutty  twist by adding in HOLLOW LEG Black Walnut Bitters or you can make your Old Fashioned a fruity/spicy flavour by combining HOLLOW LEG Tart Montmorency Cherry Tinctures and Black Pepper Bitters. Simply add a couple capfuls of bitters and/or tinctures into your cocktail until you find the right combination for you!

How long do bitters and tinctures keep?

All of our bitters and tinctures are bottled above a 50% ABV (100 Proof), and most are bottled at 75.5% ABV (151 Proof) using grain alcohol. This means the shelf life is pretty indefinite (though we say 1 - 2 years) because ethanol is an antimicrobial agent and the microbes that produce toxins cannot grow!

The best way to store your bitters to ensure they stay the flavour your bought them as is to keep them tightly closed when not in use and out of direct sunlight/heat.

Which bitters + tinctures pair best with the liquor I love?

We're big fans of experimentation, and are always blown away by the curiosity and creativity of adventurous class-goers who throw caution to the wind and toss, say, HOLLOW LEG Coffee Bitters in a tequila cocktail, but as your Cocktail Sherpa, we want to direct you to some flavour pairings that are always solid. Here are our recommendations:
 

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Have any other questions? Ready to take your at-home bar to the next level and add bitters + tinctures to your cocktailing? Interested in sampling before you buy? Drop us a line at devin@hollowleg.com and let's find the bitters + tinctures that are best for you!

Cheers!

Magic + Cocktails

Devin Kidner

Need some magic in your life?

Revamp your spirits with an incredible show that's over at The Royal George Theatre until 12 February! The Rosenkranz Mysteries is presented by Ricardo Rosenkranz, a physician at Northwestern who is also a stunning magician, and who beautifully laces in his story into a magical journey. Tix and info here!

Extra boozy bonus? HOLLOW LEG created the custom cocktails for the show, so you can finally have one of our creations outside of the classroom.

5 Classes for Valentine's Day

Devin Kidner

Chocolate and roses are great, but cocktails are better. This V-Day, ring in the day of love with one of our 5 offerings.

1. Reveal your inner-Grumpy Cat with our Anti-Valentine's Day Mixology class on February 10th

Unlike our normal Mixology 101 class, this specific class will focus on making bitter drinks like Manhattans and Negronis and will feature spirits like Aperol, Besk, and Fernet. If you don't like bitter drinks, we're chill with that and will have plenty of mixers on hand to make whatever you like.

2. V-Day Themed Bloody Mary Class (+ Pierogis) on February 11th

In this Valentine's Day-edition Bloody Mary class, we're making sure all of your hearts desires are being met. We'll be featuring special garnishes like candied bacon and pierogies, beer chasers, and we'll have a bunch of pierogi (savoury and sweet) to chow down on during class!

3. Valentine's Day Mixology: Love at First Sip (+ Hors D'oeuvres + Cookie Decorating on February 11th

A Valentine's-themed class fit for the King or Queen in your life! We'll be using special mixers from hot cocoa and cognac, to homespun caramel, pomegranates, whipped cream, and local bubbly. In addition, we'll be featuring incredible hors d'oeuvres from the incomparable Pyrite Sun, who specialises in seasonal, beautiful food that will pair perfectly with your creations. Pyrite Sun will also be hosting a cookie decorating class with their heart pocket pies that you can take with you (or eat on-site).

4. Valentine's Day Bitters Making Workshop on February 12th

In this special format Valentine's Day class, we'll have bubbly and canapes for you as you make your bitters! What makes a cocktail ten times better? When it's made with handmade, customised bitters or tinctures!

5. Valentine's Day Mixology: Love at First Sip on February 14th

A Valentine's-themed class fit for the King or Queen in your life! We'll be using special mixers from hot cocoa and cognac, to homespun caramel, pomegranates, and whipped cream. We'll have special garnishes for drinks and free hors d'oeurves before your dinner reservations. 

We have dinner recommendations that are close to our venue, too! Check them out here.

HOLLOW LEG + Jack Daniels = <3

Devin Kidner

HOLLOW LEG is excited to announce that we were chosen by CUSP Magazine and Jack Daniels to be featured in a new video series entitled, The Process, and our episode drops in early February!

CUSP Mag writes, "The Process looks at Chicago based entrepreneurs who are using their bartending & mixology experience to inspire their own business and brand."

Until our episode drops, check out the first video featuring Carlos Matias. "Carlos is a local mixologist who focuses on hospitality being a key component to the bar experience."

Where to Brunch Before/During/After Class

Devin Kidner

All of our Bloody Mary classes are BYOB (Bring Your Own Brunch), so whether you want to bring along or head out before or after class, we've got you covered. Ukrainian Village and our surrounding 'hoods have some awesome and unique spots for noshing, no matter what you crave.

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Bring to Class (Take Out or Delivery Options):

1. Shokolad - Our HQ is above Shokolad, and we can't say enough about their casual Ukrainian fare. They have awesome omelettes, pierogi, and crepes.
2. WHISK - Sweet tooth? You can't get more interesting pancakes and french toast than from WHISK. From Oreo Raspberry pancakes to Snickers stuffed french toast, you'll be in love. They also have awesome hashes!
3. Cafe Marie Jeanne - Take away some of the best pastries (good lord the doughnuts and croissants), or some smoked brisket.
4. Lockdown Bar and Grill - Not craving breakfast or brunch? Burgers also pair perfectly with Bloody Marys, and we think Lockdown has some of the best. 

Dine-In (Before or After Class):

1. Spinning J - Pies galore (S'mores Pie is ridiculous) and their sodas and shakes will have you drooling, but don't overlook their breakfast sandwiches and pot pies. Plus this place is just cool and vintage and unique.
2. Cafe Marie Jeanne - A rad a la carte brunch menu, the cheddar biscuits, lox, and cheddar grits are so so good.
3. BITE Cafe - Delivery available, too, though we prefer eating their food piping hot straight out of the kitchen, BITE offers some vegetarian dishes and they have poutine! We're huge fans of the grilled cheese and tomato fennel soup.
4. Hash - I think it goes without saying that you should be eating their hash here. The Pork Bubble & Squeak makes us happy.
5. FEED - One of our faves. Cash only. Go with the special of the day. Also, bring some quarters and try to win a golden egg! 

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Coffee:

A morning must. Our good friends from Dark Matter roast their beans just down the street from us, and you can grab an amazing coffee or latte across the street from us at Star Lounge, one of their rad coffee bars. 

5 Things To Do in Chicago THIS Week!

Devin Kidner

Another week, and more amazing things to do in Chicago - of course! Here are our top picks for a fantastic week, starting with...

  1.  Tiki Cooking Class @ The Chopping Block (Wednesday 14 December)

    In 2017, I’m making it my mission to cook and bake more, especially foods I don’t know how to cook. I love creating and drinking tiki cocktails (like this one), so am thrilled to be taking a class to teach me how to make food that pairs! More info here.

2. Adler After Dark (Thursday 15 December)

If you're looking for something different, and love museums but hate competing with kids to interact with the exhibits, Adler After Dark is for you. It's for 21+, you can buy some booze, and you can even go to the observatory to peer at the night sky! Info and tix here.

Photo by Luke Golobitsh

Photo by Luke Golobitsh

3. Go caroling at The Bean (Friday 16 December)

It's the last day of caroling at Cloud Gate (aka The Bean), so take advantage of it! This is one of my favourite Chicago holiday traditions, and after you're done singing, you can grab a pair of skates and head to the ice rink, or grab a bite to eat at Park Grill! More info here!

4. Drink to benefit Chicago animals! (Saturday 17 December)

If you want to spread some Christmas cheer by donating to Chicago's neediest animals, join us for a holiday-themed cocktail class, in which all proceeds of your ticket benefit Friends of Chicago Animal Care and Control. More info and tickets are available here.

5. Christmas Bingo (Sundays at 2 pm at The Royal George Theater)

Christmas + Bingo + Catholic comedy. What could be a better mix? You know you're sick of doing the same old, same old, so head over to The Royal George and get your laugh on (and get into some competitive bingo action), for this show. Info and tix here.

Enjoy the week! 

Tea-based Tiki Cocktail

Devin Kidner

Meet the "Teaki," our seasonal tiki drink. 

Despite folks crying out that tiki drinks are a passing fad, they remain popular, especially in the winter, when we're all desperately wanting to be whisked away to some Polynesian Island to where the air doesn't hurt our faces.

Our take doesn't use rum (which generally inspires the tropical feels), but rather mango brandy, which is juicy and sunny. We add complexity with generous amounts of Earl Grey tea bitters, which add astringency and depth, and then balance the sweet and tart with honey and cranberry juice.

Just to keep things light, we add a splash of Season's Soda's maple syrup demi-sec, which adds a zip of bubble along with the earthy, peppery notes of maple.

2 oz @RhineHall Mango Brandy
2 tsp. Earl Grey Tea Bitters
4 oz fresh cranberry juice
2 tsp raw honey
Generous splash of Seasons Soda's Maple Syrup soda 

Shake together first four ingredients without ice first (5-10 seconds), then with ice for another 10 seconds. Pour into a glass with crushed ice, then top with soda. Garnish with plum brandy soaked sour cherries and candied carrots. 

All photos by Brett Calomino.

5 Things to Do in Chicago December 5th - 11th

Devin Kidner

Looking for something different to do this week in Chicago? Look no further than the five things listed below, which have all been tested and true by HOLLOW LEG itself!

1. Take afternoon tea at Brindille

Afternoon tea is a staple during the holiday season, and Brindille's is the best. With Chef Carrie Nahabedian at the helm, you'll be delighted with traditional English crumpets, finger sandwiches with seasonal ingredients, and a whole world of pastries that are executed perfectly (the Sacher torte is to die for!). Make it a Royal Tea with a glass of bubbly.

$60/person. Reservations required. More information here.

The Spirit Artist, a blend of Bourbon, cherry juice, orange peel, Demerara simple syrup, and chocolate bitters - magically delicious!

The Spirit Artist, a blend of Bourbon, cherry juice, orange peel, Demerara simple syrup, and chocolate bitters - magically delicious!

2. Take in a magic show at Royal George Theatre

Tired of holiday music already? Revamp your spirits with magic! The Rosenkranz Mysteries are running now through December 24 and it's incredible. Ricardo Rosenkranz, a physician at Northwestern, beautifully laces in his story into a magical journey, and the tricks will leave you wanting more. Tix and info here!

Extra boozy bonus? HOLLOW LEG created the custom cocktails for the show, so you can finally have one of our creations outside of the classroom.

3. Get some shopping done at Revolution Craft Show

If you're like us, the majority of holiday shopping is done at small businesses and craft fairs. You can't beat the uniqueness, the quality, and the good feels of helping small businesses! On Sunday 11 December,  Revolution Craft Show will be showcasing some of Chicago's finest, along with beer and food!

4. Immerse yourself in the Golden Age of Radio

If you're looking for something different to do, look no further than the Chicago Cultural Center. Most exhibitions and events are free, including this fun and festive recreation of Meet Me in St. Louis performed live on stage!

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5. Shop and walk through a winter wonderland during West Town Winterfest

Dying to put those snow boots to work? This Saturday, a bunch of West Town businesses will be open so you can peruse, grab a cuppa, and stroll through snow-laden streets. There's a trolley and an after-party, too! More details here.

Enjoy the week!

Kimchi Cocktail Recipe: An In-Class Creation

Devin Kidner

In our cocktail classes, we don't like putting Baby in a corner. That's why we don't centre our classes around recipes for certain cocktails.

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We know that what makes a good drink isn't a stuffy bar director or bartender or anyone else telling you that a drink is good. Nope. It's about your palate and your preferences!

In our classes, we give you the tools you need to succeed: Not just the muddlers and the mixers, but the science of how we taste and how to think about creating your perfect drink from the chemical effects to troubleshooting a finished product that doesn't make the cut.

With that, we're stoked when class-goers come up with interesting, creative creations that stem from their own imagination, and even more joyous when they share their recipes for others to enjoy.

Here's the cocktail we're sharing this week:

Just Add Noodles - a bright, spicy, and tangy drink that's both savoury and a little sweet. It's the fermented flavour of a Bloody Mary with the sweetness of orange, like a Mimosa! 

  • 2 oz. dry gin
  • 1 forkful of kimchi and a splash of the juice
  • 1 oz orange juice
  • ½ fresh cayenne pepper (or to taste)

Muddle the kimchi and cayenne into the gin. Add orange juice, then shake vigorously over ice. Serve cold in a small Ball Jar. Garnish with kimchi, a cayenne pepper, and an orange peel on a skewer.

Devin Kidner

Meet Our Farmers & Producers

Devin Kidner

Our Holiday Mixology, Bitters, and Bloody Mary Classes are up and running (with more to be posted soon!), and we’re so psyched to be featuring local farmers and producers in our classes.

Supporting local folks has been one of HOLLOW LEG’s main missions, and we're excited to be showcasing their produce and products in our classes. After all, the best cocktails are made from the best ingredients, and we want everyone coming to a class to taste the best the Midwest has to offer.

To us, cocktails are more than a drink, they're a glass of stories, passion, and an honest day's work. Please take a moment to meet the people who make (and will make!) your in-class creations possible.


Why they're amazing: I've personally known René (the lady half of this farming duo, Bruce is her husband) for years and have had the pleasure of seeing her at Green City Farmers Market. She and her husband are dedicated to sustainable farming, and, according to their website, is "verified in MAEAP for all crops produced. MAEAP stands for Michigan’s Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program and certifies environmentally sustainable agricultural practices." 

The Ellis Family on the farm 2015, picture courtesy of Ellis Family Farm

The Ellis Family on the farm 2015, picture courtesy of Ellis Family Farm

Peter and me (Devin) modelling for Crain's Business, photo courtesy of Crain's, photo by Lisa Predko

Peter and me (Devin) modelling for Crain's Business, photo courtesy of Crain's, photo by Lisa Predko

  • Eggs from Meadow Haven Farm (Sheffield, Illinois)

    Jeremy and Cherie House are some of my favourite humans, as well as some of the most incredible stewards of the land they work and the animals they raise. In any egg-based drinks we make (egg white drinks will be featured in our holiday classes), we exclusively use their eggs - read why here.
Jeremy and Cherie House of Meadow Haven Farm feeding their healthy, happy chickens

Jeremy and Cherie House of Meadow Haven Farm feeding their healthy, happy chickens

Savoury cocktails are both complex and interesting, and whether you're creating a Bloody Mary in our Bloody Bar Workshop, or inventing a new creation, this kimchi is the best. Bushel & Peck preserves everything by hand using produce from their certified organic farm.

  • Spices – Epic Spices (Chicago, Illinois)

    Fresh and well-sourced spices are a must for making quality, potent bitters. Epic Spices is our go-to because Steven is incredibly knowledgeable and has a huge selection.

Holiday cocktails beg for some homespun caramel made from the best darn butter you've ever tasted. Enter Nordic Creamery. On top of being amazing folks, Al and Sarah Bekkum are award-winning cheese and butter makers. Their cows are pasture-raised and their butter never has chemicals or preservatives. 

The adorable Bekkum Family on their farm in WIsconsin

The adorable Bekkum Family on their farm in WIsconsin

  • Tomatoes, Garlic, and Onions – Leaning Shed Farm (Berrien Springs, Michigan)

    Fresh tomato juice in Bloody Marys is only made better when sourcing locally grown tomatoes from Leaning Shed. Dave and Denise grow over 45 types of heirloom tomatoes, 5 varieties of garlic, and the best darn onions this side of the Mississippi!
Dave showing off what he grew, picture courtesy of Leaning Shed

Dave showing off what he grew, picture courtesy of Leaning Shed

  • Cold Brew CoffeeDark Matter Coffee (Chicago, Illinois) or Printer's Row Coffee Co. (Chicago, Illinois)

    We're stoked that Dark Matter are our neighbours, and their philosophy is that they produce "quality coffees [that] are sourced based on traceability, innovation and social responsibility." You'll love their stuff.

Printer's Row Coffee Co. feature our friends Nick and Nicole, and their small batch coffee tastes as pure and fresh as their passion for the craft. They're always surprising us with brews that are unique and thoughtful, perfectly pairing with whatever cocktail we may have in mind!

Nicole and Nick, the wife and husband team behind Printer's Row Coffee Co.

Nicole and Nick, the wife and husband team behind Printer's Row Coffee Co.

  • Soda - Seasons Soda (Chicago, Illinois)

    It's not often enough you get to see an amazing success story bloom before your eyes, but then again, most people haven't had the pleasure of meeting Bobby Chang. Bobby sold his handcrafted sodas at Green City Market before turning his tent into a full-fledged business sticking to the philosophy, "source responsibly, process minimally, and deliver a beverage that embodies the essence of its origins."

    His sodas are interesting and nuanced: Bitter Lemon Tonic, Ginger Demi-Sec, and Maple Demi-Sec, just to name a few.
 Bobby Chang of Seasons Soda, photo courtesy of Seasons Soda, photo by Amanda Jane Jones

 Bobby Chang of Seasons Soda, photo courtesy of Seasons Soda, photo by Amanda Jane Jones

  • Edible Flowers/Unique Herbs - Pyrite Sun (Chicago, Illinois)

    Sarah Mallin is a gem. By far one of the most knowledgeable and down-to-earth folks I've ever known, her garden bursts with the most interesting and coveted edible flowers and herbs. If ever someone has made our cocktails more beautiful, it's Sarah's expert gardening and keen eye for the uniquely beautiful. She's also an amazing pie-maker. For serious. Check her out on Instagram at @pyritesun.
Sarah Mallin and her gorgeous pies, photo courtesy of Pyrite Sun

Sarah Mallin and her gorgeous pies, photo courtesy of Pyrite Sun

I doubt the Ball Jars company knows how grateful we are for their jars. We use them exclusively for all of our events to store our mixers and syrups, and as our cocktail shakers. Made in the USA and locally to boot, we're thrilled with the quality, the convenience of the measurements on the side of the jars, and the many accessories that have been designed to make pouring and sipping easier. Cheers, Ball Jars!

At HOLLOW LEG, cocktail-making is a community affair. We hope you enjoy the drinks you create in class with the world-class ingredients we've sourced for you!

Leftover Halloween Candy Cocktails

Devin Kidner

Face it: You can’t eat as much candy as you could when you were 10. But before you chuck the whole lot in the bin, think of transforming your candy into some fun cocktails, and check out our upcoming classes for more inspiration. Here are 5 popular candies and how you can incorporate them into cocktails this week:

Reese’s Black Russian: Ceres Vodka and a syrup made from Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Dark Matter cold brew is simply to die for. Normally made with coffee liqueur, we opted for something…a little more interesting.

To make the syrup, add 2 oz Dark Matter cold brew, 2 Tblsp. Whole milk, and 2 tsp. powdered sugar into a saucepan. Heat on medium heat until the mixture steams. Chop up 3 Mini Reese’s (equivalent to about .75 oz, or 1 classic-sized Reese’s) and add into liquid. Stir until completely melted (this will take longer for the peanut butter, and we used a silicone spatula to break the candy apart). Pour into a shaker.

Over the syrup, add the Ceres Vodka and dry shake your drink, completely combining all ingredients. Take a quick sip and, if you desire, add 1 extra teaspoon of powdered sugar. Stir, then pour over crushed ice into a glass, and garnish with a Mini Reese’s (or a Reese's Pumpkin!).

Skittles Cosmopolitan – Cosmos are a classic drink, made with Triple Sec (orange liqueur), tart cranberry juice and lime juice. In this recipe, however, you will forgo the Triple Sec and infuse the vodka with orange Skittles as a substitute – adding both a sweet orange flavour and cool colour!

  • 3 oz. orange Skittle-infused vodka (we’re using Chicago Distilling Co.’s Ceres vodka - recipe below)
  • 2 ½ tsp powdered sugar
  • 1 oz. fresh cranberry juice
  • 1/2 oz. freshly squeezed lime juice

Separate out all of the orange Skittles from your candy bag - you'll need at least 15. Place them in a jar that has a top. Cover with 3 oz. vodka and 2 ½ tsp. powdered sugar (or more, to taste). Screw on the lid and shake vigorously. Let sit for 20 minutes, shaking intermittently.

While your vodka is infusing, pour cranberry juice and lime juice into a shaker.

Once vodka is infused (the colour should be opaque and very orange), pour into the shaker. Shake vigorously with ice for 12 seconds. Strain into a martini glass and serve with a shot of Skittles!

Breakfast Caffè Corretto With Almond Joy Bitters is the perfect way to wake up: Bitter, oaky, slightly sweet, and caffeinated, it's perfect for folks who need something a little less candy-like. 

  • 1 oz. Rhine Hall Oaked Grappa
  • 2 shots of Dark Matter Espresso, served in a cup large enough to add booze
  • 1 oz. Almond Joy Bitters (recipe follows) 

For the bitters: Chop up 2 Snack Size Almond Joys into small pieces (Mounds work, too, if you have nut allergies) and place into a jar. Cover with ¼ cup Everclear and ¼ cup Rhine Hall Oaked Grappa. Let sit for several days to a week in a cool dark place, shaking the contents of the jar every day. Strain.

For the cocktail: Head to Star Lounge (or your favourite coffee shop), and ask for a double shot of espresso in a small to-go cup (unless they allow drinking, in which case, ask for a small latte cup). 

Pour the oaked grappa and Almond Joy bitters in the cup. No need to stir. Sip and enjoy, while munching on Almond Joys in between. 

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Candy Corn Mimosas are surprisingly delicious, even if you don't like candy corn. We infused aged rum with the corn, creating more complexity and depth of flavour. The orange juice brightens the drink, and the bubbly, of course!

  • Rum (we used Grander Rum because it's been matured in Bourbon barrels which lend an oaky, spicy flavour that balances the sweetness of the candy corn)
  • Candy Corn (we used Brach's Autumn Mix because they use real honey and the pumpkins are adorable for garnishes. We used the traditional candy corn in the bag, not the chocolate ones.)
  • 1 oz OJ
  • Bubbly (any brand will do as long as it's a dry bubby, but we used Illinois Sparkling Company's Extra Brut because it's local and delish!)

To make the Candy Corn Syrup: Place 3 Tblsp. candy corn into a jar with lid. Cover with 4 ounces of rum. Let sit overnight, shaking intermittently. Strain.

To make the cocktail: Pour 2 oz. of candy corn syrup and 1 oz. of orange juice into a glass. To taste, add bubbly, adding more if you like a sweeter cocktail, and less if you want something a little less sweet).** Garnish with candy corn pumpkins on a skewer!

**PRO TIP: Mimosas are usually 1 part OJ to 1 part bubbly, but for this cocktail it's more like 1 part syrup and 1/2 parts OJ to 2 parts bubbly. This should make mixing fairly easy. (1 oz : 1/2 oz : 3 oz; or 2 oz. : 1 oz : 6 oz; and so on)  

York Peppermint Patty Brazilian Mojitos are as refreshing as they are decadent - and it's easy to interchange ingredients! You'll need:

3 oz Cachaça*
3 York Peppermint Patties, chopped
1 small wedge of lime
Mint for garnish (we used Chocolate Mint - an heirloom variety)
Splash of club soda

Melt the Cachaca and peppermint patties in a saucepan, stirring frequently, until completely melted and combined. Remove from heat and let cool completely.

In your coupe glass, squeeze in lime wedge and fill the glass halfway full with crushed ice. Pour the peppermint patty mixture over the ice and add a splash of club soda. Garnish with a peppermint patty and some mint. 

*You can use white rum, which is traditionally used in a mojito. White rum is a little richer in taste, as it's made from molasses, and not fresh sugarcane juice.

Cocktails are meant to be fun! Use the above recipes as guides to incorporate other candies in cocktails, and remember: It's okay to trick-or-treat at any age...especially in the name of cocktails!

We make fun, themed, and seasonal cocktails all year long! Check out our upcoming events and classes here!

Happy Halloween!!

Meet Your Eggs: A guide to using safe eggs in cocktails

Devin Kidner

Eggs are used in cocktails to add a creamy texture and mouthfeel, increase volume, create rich flavour, and add an appealing foam. 

Eggs are often used raw in drinks, and so it is important you buy high quality eggs from a source you trust.

In our classes, we only use Meadow Haven Farm eggs. Now, if you're not in the Chicago-area (or near one of these pickup locations), you're not necessarily out of luck! Head over to this site by the USDA and search for farmers market near you - and look for someone who sells eggs. Use Meadow Haven farm's "Meet Your Eggs" poster below as a guide to ask the farmer how they raise their chickens and collect/wash their eggs.

This handy poster talks about Meadow Haven Farm's egg production from the soil, up! Use the info here as a guide to understanding how your local farmer produces their eggs.

Don't be scared to use egg whites in your cocktails! According to this Washington Post article, Don't Fear the Egg White: 

Of course, salmonella is no joking matter. But the reality is that since the salmonella scares of previous decades, the danger of encountering the bacteria has become infinitesimal. You’re more likely — about four times more likely — to choke on a handful of bar nuts than you are to get salmonella poisoning, according to statistics from the National Safety Council. Beyond that, most cocktails that call for raw eggs also call for fresh lemon or lime juice — and the citric acid, along with the alcohol, further neutralizes salmonella risk.
— Jason Wilson, Washington Post

As the season continues, we'll update this post to include links to egg white cocktail recipes, tips and tricks of how to incorporate eggs into drinks, and other useful information! Check back soon!

Stop the "After-Shot Shiver"

Devin Kidner

The final Presidential debate is on tonight, and that means you’re probably whipping out your Bingo cards or consulting this hilarious little site, which is dedicated to drinking during the debates – and features a live drink-totaling scoreboard!

We’re all for drinking while watching the debate (as long as you’re being responsible), but we also don’t want you to suffer as you drown your delirium with shot after shot.

We’re taking this moment to (briefly) scientifically describe to you the best way to take a shot without that pesky Hillary shimmy every time (spoiler alert: the key is to breathe!).

So, why do we often shiver when taking shots?

Well, it's related to the way we taste. As you probably know, there are 5 basic flavours that receptors on our tongue can detect: salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and Umami. This contributes to taste (along with our olfactory sense), but isn't the end-all-be-all.

There are, in fact, chemical senses that we pick up on, too, that are not related to flavour such as the pungency of ginger; the cooling effect of menthol (mint); the sting of alcohol (that causes you to shiver); the burn of cinnamon; and the heat of peppers. 

These chemical stimuli are not detected by our tongues, but rather a nerve called the trigeminal nerve.

When you take a shot, you are overloading your sensitive nerves with a lot of chemicals, thus causing you to shake. Remember that alcohol is ethanol, which is volatile, and, in shot form, is a concentrated dose!

So, how should you best take a shot without the shimmy? 

Breathe out.

It's that easy. Before you take a shot, take a nice deep breath in. Then throw back your shot, and the moment you swallow, breathe all the way out, pushing the alcohol fumes upward to your nasal cavity and out of your mouth, minimising the sting of alcohol on your nerves.

And there you have it! An easier way to take a shot, without all the shimmy! Try it tonight as you watch the debates. America!

After Class: Where Should I Go?

Devin Kidner

We are asked all the time where folks should go after class for dinner and drinks, and this post should be helpful for all of your needs!

Whether you're looking for a great place for a large group dinner, a cozy spot to get intimate, or a hip new bar to try, see below for our recommendations!

HOLLOW LEG HQ is located in the heart of Ukrainian Village, in the trendy West Town neighbourhood. We're proud to feature local haunts that are a quick walk or Lyft ride away!

Food, Great for Groups:

The Ukrainian fare at Tryzub, photo courtesy of DNAInfo

The Ukrainian fare at Tryzub, photo courtesy of DNAInfo

  1. The Cotton Duck ($$$; 5 min. drive) - This BYOB spot serves up American food in a super cool space that doubles as an art exhibit. Make reservations (not necessary for smaller groups) at (773) 661.6131.

  2. Haywood Tavern ($$; 3 min. drive) - An American Gastropub that has great food, brews, and craft drinks without an ounce of pretension. Located on California Ave. near Rootstock Wine and Beer Bar and California Clipper! Make reservations at (773) 661.1084.

  3. Yuzu Sushi & Robata Grill ($$; 5 min. drive) - Another BYOB restaurant specialising in Japanese food that is creative and interesting! Make reservations at (312) 666.4100.

  4. Tryzub Ukrainian Kitchen ($; 3 min. drive) - Casual craft pizza place with lots of beer on tap and a fun atmosphere. Make reservations at (773) 698.8624.

  5. Forbidden Root ($$; 5 min. drive) - A local brewery with great food housed in a historic theatre. Make reservations (not necessary for smaller groups) at (312) 929.2202.

Food, Great for Couples:

The patio at a tavola, picture courtesy of a tavola

The patio at a tavola, picture courtesy of a tavola

  1. Briciola ($$; 4 min. drive) - A BYOB Italian spot that is as authentic as they come - Chef Mario makes you feel welcome and the cozy interior will make your evening even more romantic. Reservations at (773) 772.0889.

  2. Boeufhaus ($$$; 5 min. drive) - French-German food in this brick-exposed brasserie. Incredibly yummy and great service! Reservations at (773) 661.2116.

  3. a tavola ($$$; 3 min. drive) - Italian cuisine, and the best gnocchi in the city. Romantic, incredible wine list, great patio. Reservations at (773) 276.7567.

  4. Kai Zan ($$$; across the street!) - Best sushi in the city, hands down. Reserve in advance - this hot spot is always busy!  Reservations at (773) 278.5776.

  5. Rootstock ($$; 2 min. drive) - Great wine bar with a selection of amazing mezcals, beers, and other liquors. Small plates of seasonally-inspired food. Doesn't take reservations!

Local Watering Holes:

Rhine Hall Distillery, photo courtesy of Rhine Hall

Rhine Hall Distillery, photo courtesy of Rhine Hall

  1. The Beetle (across the street!) - Our local watering hole, The Beetle has plenty of beers on tap in a casual setting. A pool table and lots of TVs ensure that you won't miss the big game.

  2. Rhine Hall Distillery (6 min. drive) - A family-owned grappa and brandy distillery using locally sourced produce.

  3. Bar DeVille (5 min. drive) - This joint often has a DJ, stand-up comedy, and is super hip. Lots of microbrews and two pool tables!

  4. Sportsman's Club (5 min. drive) - This place is gnarly. Taxidermy theme, table games, and lots of unique cocktails and local beer. Cash only.

  5. California Clipper (2 min. drive) - Totally retro bar (circa-1937), with lots of old-fashioned cocktails and often, live music!  

Quirky Neighbourhood Staples:

Ruth and Phil's Ice Cream

Ruth and Phil's Ice Cream

  1. Fatso's Last Stand (2 min. drive) - Amazing fast food including fried shrimp, burgers, and fries. Try the Fatso's Sauce! Cash only.

  2. The Empty Bottle (3 min. drive) - Tiny venue with live music, dancing, cheap beer, and good people. Bring ear plugs; cash only.

  3. Spinning J Bakery and Soda Shop (3 min. drive) - Pies, soda fountain classics, and gelato in the most adorable vintage spot, ever. Featured in the Netflix show Easy.

  4. Ruth and Phil's Gourmet Ice Cream (3 min. walk) - This ice cream is the best. Seasonal, locally-sourced, and unique flavours. Drop by and say hi to Alison for us!

  5. Star Lounge - Dark Matter Coffee (across the street!) - Just the best darn coffee/espresso in the city with the best baristas in the coolest space.

If you need ideas for catering, take out, or delivery for your class, please drop us a line at hollowlegproductions@gmail.com.  

See you in class!

We're gonna be on TV!

Devin Kidner

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WGN-TV just launched a new show, SEE Chicago, which gives tips on all Chicago has to offer, from shopping to events and entertainment - and we're going to be on it!

We were approached earlier this year by the production team who was looking to find hidden gems in Chicago that are a little off the map - and they thought our workshops were a perfect fit! 

We filmed the episode back in June, and have been eagerly awaiting its debut, and now it's time!

Don't miss us this Tuesday at 8.30pm!!

Rhubarb-Strawberry Coconut Frozen Daiquiri

Devin Kidner

A daiquiri on a dreary Monday? 

Yes. All the yeses.  

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We weren't feeling like this Monday was anything special until this baby came out of the blender.  

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Made with Grander Rum, which is aged an "8-year-old rum that is matured in bourbon barrels and bottled at 90 proof," this rum has a lovely whiskey flavour that added a lot of charachter to this sweet-looking daiquiri.  

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 To make this gem, you'll need:

2 oz. Grander Rum

4 oz. Rhubarb-Strawberry Syrup

1/2 - 1 oz (depending on how coconut-y you like it) coconut milk (the solid cream and the liquid) 

A cup full of ice! 

Pour measured ingredients into blender and blend until smooth. Should have a gorgeous, frothy coconut top! 

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Rhubarb-Strawberry Syrup: 

1 cup water

1 cup sugar

2 stalks rhubarb, chopped

5 strawberries, chopped

Place ingredients into pot and bring to boil. Stir and lower heat to a gentle simmer. Let simmer 5 minutes. Strain and let cool completely!

Red Pepper Rhubarb Margaritas!

Devin Kidner

This year you deserve a margarita with some punch. Forget everything you know and make this gem...now!

I dreamt of making a margarita that was both tart and spicy because I felt like the classic drink can either be too sour or way too sweet, with little complexity. Rhubarb has a rich flavour, red pepper adds heat, and agave syrup is smoky and sweet, making this margarita unforgettable.

The only thing you have to prepare is the Rhubarb Red Pepper Syrup, and you need four ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 stalks of rhubarb (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper
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Toss them in a pot and bring to boil. Turn down the heat and let gently simmer for 10-15 minutes. Once cooked, strain and let cool.


Rhubarb Red Pepper Margarita


  • 4 oz of Rhubarb Red Pepper syrup
  • 2 oz Tequila (we used Jose Cuervo Especial Silver)
  • A couple dashes of citrus bitters (or the juice from one wedge of one lime)
  • Ice (LOTS of it!)

Pour ingredients into a shaker and shake vigorously for about 12 seconds. Strain into a glass half-rimmed with salt and filled with crushed ice. Enjoy!

Rhubarb Roses for Mother's Day!

Devin Kidner

Rhubarb is in season just in time for Mother's Day!

Ever since I was little, I've loved rhubarb. Mostly in the form of rhubarb crumble, an English dish my grandmother introduced me to that is equally tart, sweet, and creamy (thanks to the custard that gets poured on top!). 

This year I wanted to make rhubarb cocktails fit for a Queen, and of course that means garnishing them with roses made from rhubarb (full recipe at the bottom)!

Aren't these roses sweet? First you need to slice some rhubarb about 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick. I do this by using a knife, but you can also use a vegetable peeler. Make sure to get some ruby red in every slice, and don't be afraid to make some strips purely green (they dye a pale pink/orange as you sauté them!).

Make sure you cut them to about the thickness shown below. Too thick and they become very clunky. Too thin and they fall apart as you roll them into roses!

Heat up a large fry pan with 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar and bring it to a simmer. Add the rhubarb and poach for about 45 seconds. You want the rhubarb to soften but not break down. It should be easy to roll.

Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes on a paper towel.

Make sure your strips of rhubarb are laid out straight, with the rosiest side facing down, and start gently rolling into a rose from the palest, most colourless side. You want to make sure that the majority of your colour ends up on the outside!

As you roll, periodically pause and use your pinky to push the middle of the flower up. You don't want the middle of your flower to sink!

Return your roses to the paper towel and let them cool completely.

Grab a sprig of mint and place the rose on top. You may have to remove the smaller leaves on top of your mint so your rose lays flush on the larger leaves.

In order to make the rose and leaves stay on the edge of your glass, you will need to take a sharp knife, hold the rose upsidedown (gently), and make one or two deep slits on either side of the rose (mine only needed one). You can then wiggle the rose on the edge of the glass with the mint leaves tucked underneath.

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If you have trouble finagling the mint leaves, you can always tuck two leaves under the rose once you affix it to the side of your glass (see below). The cocktail below has the rose facing inwards toward the drinker, rather than straight up, which allows Mom to gaze lovingly at your rose every time she takes a sip!


Rhubarb Cocktail (makes 2)


  • 3 1/2 oz. Rhubarb Coriander Simple Syrup (see recipe below)
  • 2 1/2 oz. whiskey (we used KOVAL Oat Whiskey, but any smooth whiskey will do!)
  • 1 1/2 oz. fresh squeezed lime juice
  • 2 oz. Club Soda

Pour all ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously. Strain into glasses and serve ice cold.


Rhubarb Coriander simple syrup is easy to make! Just add 1/2 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water to a pot and add 2 stalks of rhubarb and two teaspoons of stalk of coriander. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes. Strain and let cool.

You can keep this drink completely local and omit the coriander if you wish, but I think the coriander adds a brightness and warmth to the drink!

Happy Mother's Day!

Girl Scout Cookie Cocktails, Part 3

Devin Kidner

It's time for Part 3 of our Girl Scout Cookie cocktail series, and today is really fantastic because it combines whiskey and peanut butter and beer. Oh yes. All three...

In case you're joining the conversation a little late, here is Part 1 (the Samoa) of our GSC cocktail experiment and here is Part 2 (the Trefoil)

Let's get down to business...

The Do-Si-Do has long been one of our favourite cookies. Creamy peanut butter sandwiched between oatmeal cookies are an instant classic. They're casual and perfect for a lunchtime snack.

Our riff is a little more...grown up...but still has all the flavour of these classic cookies, and has a twist...a beer twist.

Garnish:

Before you begin, grab an 8 oz. Ball Jar (we used the 8 oz. quilted jar because it's prettier), and create the cookie garnish.

You'll need:

  • A plate
  • Maple syrup
  • Pastry brush
  • Cookie crumbles (finely crushed Do-Si-Do cookies work well, or make some shortbread crumbles. Into a small bowl, add a tablespoon of butter, a tablespoon of sugar, and a tablespoon of flour. Rub together the ingredients with your fingers until they start to make little pebbles. Toss on a baking sheet (on top of some parchment) into a 350° oven for 10 minutes.)

Pour some maple syrup onto the plate and with the pastry brush, paint on the maple syrup around the top of the Ball Jar.

Pour the cookie crumbles onto the plate and roll the top of the jar in the crumbles until evenly coated. Set aside.

The Do-Si-Do Cocktail without the glorious beer float. Photo credit: Brett Calomino

The Do-Si-Do Cocktail without the glorious beer float. Photo credit: Brett Calomino

Ingredients:

  • .5 oz creamy peanut butter (we used MaraNatha No Stir, Organic Creamy Peanut Butter)
  • 1.5 oz Four Grain KOVAL Whiskey (the mash is made with, among other things, oats! This gives the cocktail a wonderful oaty flavour, as well as a creamier mouthfeel)
  • 3 dashes of Oaked Grappa/Vanilla Bitters
  • .5 oz maple/brown sugar syrup

Shake all of the above ingredients for 10-12 seconds, or longer, until peanut butter has completely combined with the other ingredients. The mixture will be thick.

Add ice (I used 6-7 ice cubes), and shake again for 10 seconds. Strain into an 8 oz. Ball Jar filled with ice.

Now for the beer float!!!

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See this amazing beer? It's brewed by Slapshot Brewing right here in Chicago. It's a brown ale brewed with peanut butter, and it is incredible. A great nutty aroma, a fantastic peanut buttery finish, it really does add a nice finish to our Do-Si-Do cocktail.

Why top an already fantastic cocktail with beer? A few reasons:

1. It adds a little bubble to the cocktail, making it more interesting to sip
2. It adds an incredible aroma to the top of the beer.
3. It adds more complexity to the beer.
4. Because...beer. Local beer. Local beer brewed with freakin' peanut butter. That's why.

So about that beer float. After you've strained your cocktail into the Ball Jar, fill the rest of the way with beer. It's that simple. Sip away!

Next week we will unveil our final Girl Scout Cookie Cocktail, the Thin Mint, but it will ONLY be available through our newsletter. So if you want to know how to create it, sign up here:

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