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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, November 29

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Drink Mon Oct 14 2013

Deconstructing Fall's Best Cocktails: The Ford Model Tea Party

Chicago's top mixologists show you how to make their favorite fall drinks.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Ford's Model Tea Party.jpg
Going to The Aviary is an exercise in wonder. Nothing is simple or straightforward -- mixologists work magic in a lab-like bar, creating delicious spectacles that play on all the senses, not just the taste buds. These are the kind of drinks that make you double check the list of familiar-sounding ingredients, puzzled, and certainly not the kind you would attempt at home.

Take, for example, the Ford Model Tea Party. It comes in an antique teacup, while a glass teapot filled with dry ice wafts tea-scented steam over the top. Visually striking right away, this cocktail practically announces that it has a lot going on. At the first sip, you are surprised that it is cold. On the second sip, you'll also be surprised that such a strong drink can be so elegant and drinkable, with floral and citrus notes balanced by rich and oaky scotch, almost like a very strong tea that leaves you feeling all warm inside. It looks delicate, but it packs quite a punch.

Beverage Director Charles Joly explains that the Tea Party is perfect for those situations where you want to appear prim and proper, but are really in need of a stiff one. Here he breaks down his signature drink for Gapers Block readers ambitious enough to try it -- according to him, if you can brew tea, you can make this cocktail illusion at home.

Ford's Model Tea Party

1 1/4oz Ford's Gin
3/4oz Old Pultney 12yr Scotch
3/4oz Atsby Armadillo Cake Vermouth
1/2 Mandarine Napoleon
3/4oz blood orange tea syrup*
1 1/2 oz water

*tea syrup
100g water
5g tea

Brew and let steep 5 minutes, strain.
Combine remaining tea with 1/3 sugar (by weight) and stir to dissolve
Pour the cocktail (4oz) into a vintage tea cup.
Put a high quality Earl Grey tea (The Aviary uses one from Rare Tea Cellars) in a small tea pot with hot water and drop in the dry ice. Don't keep dry ice in your kitchen? You can also create an aromatic by placing Early Grey in a very hot container of water -- the aromatic should be similar to a hot potpourri.

Joly encourages you to play with ingredients you already have at your home bar. The Atsby is a very particular vermouth, but you can create something that will taste quite good by mixing 2 parts dry vermouth with 1 part sweet vermouth. Orange teas are readily available in stores. He uses Sicilian Blood Orange tea by Rare Tea Cellars.

Photo credit: Christian Seel

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

The State of Food Writing

By Brandy Gonsoulin

In 2009, food blogging, social media and Yelp were gaining popularity, and America's revered gastronomic magazine Gourmet shuttered after 68 years in business. Former Cook's Illustrated editor-in-chief Chris Kimball followed with an editorial, stating that "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds...
Read this feature »

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