Thomas Mooneyham – Celestial Madonna

On July 6, 2013 by Paul

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When I walk into a shoot, I let the conversation guide me into what the focus will be on in the video. For this particular shoot, I went into it with a specific theme that I wanted to cover: The incredible generosity that bartenders demonstrate to their community and beyond.

This video originally posted on the Chicagoist in March of this year and through some error on my part, I forgot to add it to my site. That gap in time has only reinforced the true generosity of the community.

A few weeks ago, I did a story on Chicagoist about a new charity called “Un-86′d” that is raising funds to help restaurant staff who are injured and need help with paying bills, etc. It is a great organization and definitely fills a void for the restaurant industry. The ideas they have for the future of their organization is inspiring and will be great to watch grow.

Just days before I posted that article, a vicious beating of a restaurant worker happened in the Rogers Park neighborhood. The outpouring of donations that have been raised for him has been incredible and that generosity continues to flow from the community. On Monday, July 8th, Un86′d is hosting a hot dog competition at Red Door Kitchen and Bar from 4-9pm. For $20, you get three tokens that are good for hot dogs, punch or ice cold PBR. Jell-o Shots will be $2. Extra dogs, punch or PBR will be $3. All proceeds from the evening go to aid Michael Davis’ recovery from the attack.

In a few weeks, I will be heading to Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. It is a convention dedicated to the cocktail and I am really excited to go down (it’s my first time). On the last day of Tales, an event called “Pig & Punch” is thrown to raise money for local charities. Who knew raising money for charity could be so much fun?

By the way, at the end of the video you hear someone yell, “You Tosser!” That was Gage/Henri owner Billy Lawless. He is indeed a character and that interruption was the more PG version of the things he was saying.

The bartenders of this city are an extremely generous group. They are obviously generous with their time, as many gave up their valuable prep or down time to record these videos for us to share. Others have been generous in teaching about a particular spirit or sharing something that they have recently learned. Most importantly, we have discovered that bartenders are extremely generous in giving back to the community and to their fellow bartenders. Bartenders have donated their tips to a certain causes or to a bartender in need. We have also seen them do crazy things or competitions to help raise money for charities.

It is not surprising, then, to hear how much they respect and learn from each other. In a way, they are in competition, but they really are very open with each other and learn from each other. In today’s video with Thomas Mooneyham from The Gage, we focused the conversation on this unique relationship that the bartenders have with each other. As he says in the video, this openness is not only good for each other, but also good for the consumer as well.

Today, Thomas makes a cocktail utilizing vodka, a spirit that we saw recently saw is one that should get a second look when making cocktails. His drink also contains Yellow Chartreuse and Don’s Mix #2 (2 parts grapefruit juice and 1 part cinnamon syrup). The result is a cocktail that is very flavorful and bridges the gap between winter and spring.


Celestial Madonna


1.50oz Aylesbury Duck Vodka
1oz. Don’s Mix #2
.50oz Yellow Chartreuse
.25oz Lemon juice
3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters

Shake and strain over a ice-filled rocks glass.
Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

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