Getting the Vapors at Red Kiva

Thanks to Red Kiva for hosting this month’s Chef’s Table. While these events mainly showcase food-focused chefs, we also like to explore restaurateurs and food and beverage industry innovators in general. I’ve been hearing for awhile about the West Loop lounge’s innovative “VaporTini” and have been curious to experience this cocktail that you don’t drink, you inhale. Literally

Owner Julie Palmer explained to our group that she got the idea during a trip to Helsinki. She was in a sauna and her friend poured vodka over the hot coals, creating a steam bath of liquor. That got her thinking, so she enlisted the help of her engineer father to recreate the experience. After months of testing and tinkering the VaporTini was born.

She selects flavorful liquors and pairs them with tasty garnishes. The liquor is poured into a glass goblet and served in a hot metal globe, and then patrons insert a straw and inhale the vapors. We tried all four available flavors: EFFEN Black Cherry Vanilla Vodka, Tanqueray Rangpur, Knob Creek, and Absolut Raspberri. It seemed that the Tanqueray was the favorite, but Julie experimented with a lavender liquor that everyone also seemed to enjoy (I know I did!). Charley, the Manager, served his Pears and Pama, a real-live cocktail of Absolut Pears and Pama Pomegranate Liqueur with a splash of soda and a lime. That sucker goes down like Kool-Aid and tastes like summer.

If you want to try breathing your booze for an evening, Red Kiva serves the VaporTinis on Thursdays from 5pm to 2am.


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