Matthew “Choo” Lipsky – Red Azalea

On February 7, 2014 by Paul


I wish that I had been able to visit Lipsky when he worked at Charcoal Bar. The 12-seat cocktail den located below Sumi Robata bar was known for the Japanese approach to cocktail making (precision, hand-cut ice, minimal movement, etc.) and creating unique cocktails for each guest. Choo recently moved on to Luxbar, and the bar and clientele couldn’t be different. I am fully confident, however, that he will be able to educate and help promote the craft in the Gold Coast.

When the crew behind Scofflaw recently announced they were opening up a new location called Slippery Slope in Logan Square, we were surprised to see comments from some people that were along the lines of “there goes the neighborhood.”

Cocktail spots like Bar DeVille, The Whistler, and Scofflaw established themselves as the doesn’t-really-fit in the neighborhood spots when they first opened. As time went on, they became part of their surrounding areas and helped set the tone for future bars in the neighborhood.

In the Gold Coast, we are starting to see the craft cocktail movement slowly take shape. For such an affluent neighborhood, it is shocking to see so many bad drinks being thrown back — The Drawing Room, the godfather of the Chicago cocktail scene, is an obvious exception. With the recently opened Nico Osteria and Luxbar, the bar profiled today, things are starting to look better cocktail-wise.

At Luxbar, the cocktail program was recently taken over by Matthew “Choo” Lipsky. As he showed at his previous places of employment like Charcoal Bar, untitled, and MorSo, he takes the same thoughtful, seasonal approach to his cocktails.

In today’s video, Lipsky makes a fall/holiday cocktail called the Red Azalea that utilizes a house-made mulled wine, giving the cocktail lots of spice and is perfect for a cold day. Even though he recently released a winter cocktail menu, Lipsky says that there is still mulled wine left to make the cocktail for any guest that asks.

Pull up a barstool to Luxbar and you may, one day, tell people of the days when there were only two or three places in the area where you could get a well-made cocktail.

Red Azalea
2 ounces Absolut Elyx Vodka
2 ounces House Mulled Wine
1/2 ounce Lemon juice
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup

Add ingredients to a shaker tin. Add ice and shake.
Strain into a cocktail glass.
Top with a sprig of rosemary.

Matthew “Choo” Lipsky (Luxbar) – Red Azalea cocktail from Chicago Cocktail Chronicles on Vimeo.

Luxbar is located at 18 E. Bellevue

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>