Through the years, I have taken great pride in the success of two of my nephews as leading bartenders in Chicago. Jason Turley was previously the subject of a blog entry and I cannot resist bragging about my nephew Thomas Mooneyham. Thomas Mooneyham has become the rage in Chicago as the hottest bartender in the city. He is the lead bartender at The Gage restaurant and he has been featured in variouspublications. Having heard about the rave reviews of Thomas’ new drinks, Leslie and I went to the restaurant last week to find out for ourselves. They were honestly some of the best cocktails that I have ever had. Truly.
We had some great food at the bar (including the ribs appetizer which is to die for and I love the pepper appetizer as well) and then had some of Thomas’ creations. I was particularly enamored with The Wreck of the Eastland which is a combination of LeCompte original Calvados, Averna Amaro, and St. Elizabeth Allspice Dram. This is a seasonal drink but it vaguely reminded me of the Calvados in France that I had at Ste Mère Eglise . . . but better. Perfect for the holidays.
As a gin lover, Leslie loved the Thirteen Degrees, a mix of Deaths Door gin, Velvet Falernum, Pear & Sage Syrup, Santome Prosecco. If you like gin, this is the ticket.
The most extraordinary in my view was Thomas’ Shoney’s Cup, a mix of Sheep Dip Scotch, Zirbenz Stone Pine, and Cardamaro. If you get just one, this is the one I would recommend.
When I have such a great experience, I often share it on the blog. My nephew’s involvement is truly secondary. The Gage is across from Millennium Park at 24 South Michigan Avenue. Any of our readers in Chicago would be well served to pop in and try one of these drinks if you are looking for a good start to the New Year. If you see an incredibly hunky guy serving drinks, tell him that he needs to visit his Uncle in D.C..
You can see him work here:
Thomas is the son of my sister Angela Turley, a clothing designer in Chicago who owns Turley Road. He is the brother of my late niece, Katie, who recently received a plaque in Andersonville in Chicago in her memory. It reads: “Kate Turley Mooneyham, writer, poet, philosopher, and lover of Andersonville”