i have been wanting to try the aviary for forever. and that i finally got my opportunity when i snagged reservations for a random friday night after work i was giddy like a schoolgirl!
for those of you who do not know (and are living under a rock if you are in chicago), the aviary is a cocktail lounge next to grant achatz’s newest chi-town restaurant next. all the cocktails are extremely involved and have a lot of ingredients. and they are expensive to prove it.
but i heard that it was sooooo worth it! so my friends and i arrived early and waited outside on the patio before our names were called and we were seated at our table.
the restaurant was honestly fancier than i thought it would be. i had expected a darker room, dark wallpaper, rock music playing. and it had more of an upscale white tablecloth feel to it. i didn’t hate it, just not what i was expecting.
right after we sat, we were served an amuse bouche of a iced tea type drink to cleanse our palettes. it was refreshing and a nice way to be introduced to cocktail lounge.
we each decided to try a different cocktail so we could try a bunch off the menu. so for the first round, i ordered the “ginger” cocktail. which i thought would be good because i like ginger and it had vodka in it. so it wasn’t anything too crazy. and boy was i wrong. it was served with these white floaty frozen bits of ginger, red chili peppers, and flakes of some sort of herb (no idea what it was!) and then you got a tiny bottle of vodka to pour over the white floaty frozen bits. then you were given this bamboo stick to mix it all up with. what resulted was this mess:
hot mess. it looked like feta cheese floating on the top of dirty water. everyone at the table tasted it and the concensus was this was just too strong and weird.
but thankfully all other cocktails went up from there! my friend terri got the boston club punch which was cognac with raspberry ice cubes with champagne poured over it. i loved this cocktail so much that i ordered it for my second drink! it was sweet, but not too sweet and really you could only taste the raspberry and champagne the whole time. the cubes melted while you drank making it sweeter and sweeter as it went down. just a great cocktail. i wish i could make this at home.
boston club punch
lindsey ordered the sangria in suspension which was a cocktail off the next “el bulli” menu. the pieces of fruit were actually suspended in the cocktail. which you can imagine meant that the cocktail itself was really thick. while i wasn’t a huge fan of this drink, i did think it was one of the prettiest cocktails we were served that night.
sangria in suspension
for our second round of cocktails, terri ordered the…blank. Honestly I have no idea what the name of this cocktail was. Only that we thought it tasted very earthy and tree-like. Which was unexpected from the description of it.
the question mark cocktail
last but not least was another favorite of the night which was the pina colada. this was served with cotton candy on top and inside were balls of rum that exploded in your mouth when you drank the drink. it was whimsical, fun, and tasty. exactly what we expected when we first got reservations at the aviary and a good way to end the night.
i give the aviary an A. they would have gotten an A+ except for the ginger cocktail which just fell flat for me flavor wise and look-wise. sometimes too much is just too much. which was the case with that one cocktail. otherwise i say everyone should go just to experience once. it is a lot of fun and the cocktails are strong!