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Top Chicago bartender launches Crafthouse Cocktails

  • Crafthouse Cocktails are available in Moscow Mule, Paloma and Southside varieties.
Crafthouse Cocktails are available in Moscow Mule, Paloma and Southside… (Eric Kleinberg )
July 25, 2013|By Kate Bernot, @redeyeeatdrink | RedEye

Slingin' cocktails for a whole party full of people is difficult, especially if you're trying to replicate drinks as good as those you'd find at a fancy bar.

Crafthouse Cocktails aims to help. The new Chicago company launches with three flavors of premixed, booze-included drinks, due to hit stores this weekend or early next week.

Helmed by top Chicago mixologist Charles Jolya bartender at The Aviary who last week was named Best American Bartender at beverage industry event Tales of the Cocktailalong with nightlife veteran Matt Lindner, Crafthouse hopes to bottle drinks that are cocktail bar-quality. 

"We’d have guests come in [to the bar] and I would always be happy to share recipes with them, but it’s never quite the same when you make it at home," Joly said. "We started to talk about how we could get as close to bottling the experience we provide at the bar."

Pre-made cocktails can help bridge the gap between wanting to mix drinks at home but not having all the expertise or ingredients on hand.

"People are definitely becoming interested in learning how to make some basic cocktails, but not everyone wants to keep simple syrup in their fridge and fresh citrus on hand at all times," Joly said.

Joly also emphasizes the quality of the ingredients Crafthouse Cocktails use, which set it apart from other mixes.

"A lot of times with these premade cocktails, they use flavored malt beverages, which is gross," Joly said. "I’d be happy to drink any of the base spirits that we use on their own."

Crafthouse Cocktails are available in three varieties: Moscow Mule (vodka,
ginger beer, lime juice, sugar), Paloma (tequila, grapefruit soda, agave nectar and lime) and Southside (gin, mint, sugar and lime) and retail for approximately $19.99. Look for them at Binny's as well as smaller markets.

kbernot@tribune.com  @redeyeeatdrink


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