Death & Taxes is an apt name, in more ways than one, for bartender Logan Lavachek's contribution to the current fall/winter cocktail menu at Sepia, one of Chicago's classiest places to down a drink. For starters, the title is in keeping with the one-time finance student's penchant for lifting phrases that have meaning in the fiscal world. Think of it as a bartender's calling card of sorts. But besides that, Death & Taxes—in its suggestion of life's brute certainties—leads me to think that the classic duo should be joined by a third truth: A delicious drink at Sepia is practically a sure thing.
Can't make it to Chicago to try them? We've coaxed the recipes from Sepia's crew and are excited to share them with you today.
Death & Taxes
Josh Pearson, Sepia's head bartender, tasks his stable of talented bartenders with arcane assignments that lead to inspired new drinks. For instance, Lavachek's latest project, which yielded Death & Taxes, was to develop an original cocktail that featured Metaxa, a Greek brandy. Lavachek crafted an oregano Earl Grey syrup to complement the Metaxa, alongside a good dose of a blended Scotch whisky known for its nutty, candied flavors and smooth finish. The result is a drink that leads with a tart introduction (thanks to lemon and grapefruit) but reveals itself to be fruity, herbal and sweet at heart.
Hello, Holy Rollers!
Josh Pearson turned out a heavily wine-influenced creation for winter with his Hello, Holy Rollers!, which plays Old Grand-Dad bourbon against dry white port and Barolo Chinato, an aromatic Italian digestif made from steeping Barolo wine in cinchona bark and other herbs and spices. It has a warming, full-bodied flavor profile, perfect for cold-weather tippling.
Bartender Ben Augustine, for his part, utilized French calvados apple brandy for his seasonally apropos Autumn Sweater. Spiced up with falernum and Ron Zacapa Guatemalan rum, the drink is subtly tropical, just right for a time when we're all ready to sneak away somewhere warm.