Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development

A Novel Idea Best of Flavor 2017

Catcher in the Rye, made with Rittenhouse rye, beet syrup, lemon, Angostura bitters, ginger ale

Lesley Gehring

Drawing inspiration from classic novels, the team at Loews Chicago Hotel created six handcrafted cocktails for spring at the hotel’s ETA Restaurant and Bar. The cocktails serve as an ode to the books while reimagining classic drinks. Out of those six, the Catcher in the Rye emerged as a customer favorite.

“The Catcher in the Rye was a fun one for our team to create,” says Lesley Gehring, Assistant Food & Beverage Director. Starring Rittenhouse rye, beet syrup, lemon, Angostura bitters and ginger ale, the drink is well-balanced but with a subtle complexity, she says. “Beets have an earthy flavor but can also play to the sweet side. This cocktail highlights both flavor profiles. The rye brings out the sweetness of the beets, and the beet brings out the earthiness in the rye.”

Gehring likes the opportunity to use cocktails as a platform for unique ingredients. “Our customers are often surprised to see nontraditional ingredients like beets in cocktails, as they’re a bit more unusual than a traditional flavor like orange or berries,” she says. “Once they try it, they love the complexity the ingredient brings.”

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