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Things get wild at Esmé, the exuberantly creative fine dining restaurant in Lincoln Park. The bar menu includes a Flamin' Hot Cheeto; the tasting menu has paired caviar with sweet potato ice cream, miso caramel, and celery root hot sauce. Tia Barrett, the beverage director and operations manager for the Michelin-starred restaurant, comes up with drinks and pairings to go along with these inventive dishes, championing beverage producers who have a charitable component or are people of color along the way.
She shared a recipe for a riff on a Kir Royale with us. The drink is utterly simple in its classic form: crème de cassis and champagne. Barrett replaces the cassis with a mix of blueberry pomegranate juice, vanila liqueur, and elderflower liqueur, adding a splash of vodka for an extra kick to the sweet, floral notes.
Tia Barrett's Riff on a Kir Royale
1 oz. Pom blueberry pomegranate juice
0.5 oz. vodka
0.5 oz. Giffard Vanille de Madagascar
0.25 oz St-Germain
4 oz. Champagne
Mix blueberry pomegranate juice, vodka, Giffard, and St-Germain. Top with champagne. Garnish with a lemon twist
Barrett talked to us about her career for a profile.