Meet Thomas Mooneyham, Chicago’s Hottest Bartender

10e2f63f65ce63ee8e1c306237cef2c0Through 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:

Katie Turley Mooneyham  © Reprinted By Permission
Katie Turley Mooneyham
© Reprinted By Permission
unnamed-1Thomas 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”

12 thoughts on “Meet Thomas Mooneyham, Chicago’s Hottest Bartender”

  1. Jonathan,

    You are a fortunate man indeed to have such a close and talented family. I hope you and Leslie have a wonderful anniversary…and Happy New Year!

  2. I just checked out Turley Road, gorgeous clothing! There are several of the dresses I am now coveting. I’ll be dropping in with my friends when in Chicago next.

  3. Great kid! Having been in the family restaurant biz, and having both bartended and cooked, I have seen some positive changes in the US restaurant world. There are still WAY too many chains and corporate horseshit places. But some of the chefs starting w/, Prudhomme, Puck, and now Batali and others, US cuisine has emerged into a respectable and good[not great yet] example of our native ingredients. Seeing restaurants now develop relationships w/ farmers, cheese makers, butchers, etc. is what has gone on in the great food cultures for hundreds of years. Eating what is in season and nearby is so important. No culture understands that better than in Italy.

    What has been fairly new on the scene is bartenders, like this engaging young man, evolving into chefs behind the bar. That’s something I never experienced in my earlier years behind the bar. I knew all the classics, and there were always a couple new ones[remember Harvey Wallbangers, that was my era]. But not the huge volume of creative drinks indigenous to just the restaurant and bar. I’ll be going to a place tonight w/ friends in Madison called, Sardine. They have spearheaded this movement and I have tried several, all interesting and good. But tonight, it’s Negroni. I’ve not had one since we returned from Italy, and that’s what I need. It’s also my birthday so I don’t have to drive. That means 2-3 Negroni and some nice vino w/ dinner. Making it to midnight ET is always my goal now.

  4. Congrats Professor and Mr. Mooneyham. We will have to check out the restaurant the next time we are downtown.

  5. I have to admit I first looked at the picture of this young hot bartender and I thought to my elderly self, “Woo, hot indeed!” now that I know he is your nephew, I will say this good genes! When I’m in Chicago visiting friends we will check him out, oops I mean check out The Gage.

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