Slideshow: First Look: Cocktails at The Berkshire Room, Chicago

Barrel-Aged Cockails ($15)
Barrel-Aged Cockails ($15)

The menu has five different barrel aged cocktails right now, including a Manhattan, a Vieux Carre and something called a "Continuous Negroni." We asked about that one, and Schiller answered: "It's like the solera method, where they take a little out and put a little in. The mean age of the solera is constantly getting older, but it's relatively uniform. Let's take 15 negronis out, put another 15 in. We never empty the barrel. We're going to keep this going and going and going."

The Weston ($12)
The Weston ($12)

This cocktail is meant to be one of Schiller's days off in a glass. "There was a time when I was running the drink programs and the wine programs for three restaurants. I had, at most, one day off a week. I'd go to Star Lounge, pound some espresso. Then I'd go to Whole Foods and invariably, I'd buy a brutally expensive Vosges chocolate bar, go home, order Thai food and have whiskey and a pipe."

"I combined the whiskey, the chocolate, the cassia cinnamon in the Thai food and the pipe. Flavor mapping, those all make a lot of sense together. I made it on a whim, tongue in cheek, and I named it after my middle name, which is Weston." The pipe tobacco flavor comes from Queen Mary blend tobacco macerated in high-proof spirit for three months and then strained. When combined with bourbon and coffee syrup, a Weston is born.

The Long Voyage ($12)
The Long Voyage ($12)

The name of this cocktail comes from the main ingredient, Aquavit. This variety is barrel-aged, but not in the way you might think. "Back when they were trading spices, they brought the aquavit down from Norway and wanted to sell it in the Caribbean. But no one wanted it," explains bartender Scotty LoBianco.

"So they had to bring it all the way back up to Norway. Because of this long voyage, the spirit was aged. They tried to replicate the aging process on land, but it didn't work out. Now, they just put it on cargo ships for 4 to 8 months and the temperatures and constant turbulence gets the best result."

This cocktail combines the Linie Aquavit with lime and a ginger-galangal syrup meant to bring out the cumin flavors in the spirit.

Antique glassware
Antique glassware
Some of these coupes are from Schiller's personal collection. The rest? "When we went down to Kentucky to get the barrels to age cocktails in, we got a U-haul and stopped at a dozen different antique shops on the way back and cleaned them out. We found all these treasures."
The Dealer's Choice ($13)
The Dealer's Choice ($13)
For my choose-your-own-adventure drink, I start with Old Tom Gin—Schiller picks Ransom. Then, I choose spicy. Schiller says he interprets "spicy" here as herbal and "monastic." Then I choose a coupe as my glass. On the fly, Schiller creates a stirred cocktail made with Ransom Old Tom Gin, Benedictine, atomized tangerine bitters, Carpano Antica, Luxardo Amaro, Cocchi Americano, and allspice bitters.
Antique Bottles
Antique Bottles
Some of the antique bottles resting in cages are just for show. Others are ready to drink. Starting soon, the restaurant will have a "reserve whiskey list" drawn from some of these vintage bottles.