Drinks at Aviary with Julie and Bob

For a long time now, Liz and I have wanted to bring Julie and Bob to experience the cocktails at Aviary. The two of us had a phenomenal, memorable time here nearly 3 years ago, and it’s been on our to-do list to bring others to experience this place with us.

As a belated Mothers and Fathers day outing, the four of us got in right when they opened on Sunday (around 5:00 PM) for some early cocktails before dinner.

Liz, with her drink: Passion of the Ice (orange, allspice, scotch, rum, passionfruit). Her drink had the most flair to its presentation, as the process involved a bunson burner… which then caused the ingredients to mix with some dry ice at the top (hence all the smoke). Really wish I would have taken a video of this thing in action.

Julie got the Furious George (cherry blossom, raspberry, hibiscus, mezcal). Her drink involved a built-in straw in the glass, and the act of blowing into it caused a bit of ice to flip in the glass (thereby mixing the drink).

Bob got the Wake and Bake (saffron, bergamot, blood orange, american whiskey). My memory is failing me on the specifics of the drink, but I do recall an aromatic paper bag.

And me, I got the Branding Iron (smoke, cinnamon, coffee, vanilla, whiskey). Which involved a literal branding iron, which burned an Aviary logo into a wood coaster.

To snack on, we got some truffle popcorn, which was delicious. And then we went for round two.

Julie liked my drink a lot, so she ordered the Branding Iron for her second.

My second drink was I Got 99 Palmoas… (grapefruit, vanilla, cinnamon, reposado tequila). Definitely a big hit at the table. Hard to see, but mine had small spheres of ice that was a bit reminiscent of bubble tea.

Liz got Back That Ice Up (pomegranate, caramel, almond, pineapple rum). Hers was also an ice-based drink, with tiny “dipping dots” sized ice (but a myriad of flavors/colors).

And Bob’s second was Loaded to the Gunwalls (mace, pineapple, hazelnut, batavia arrack).

Though it was a little loud and tough to hear, we all did have a good time visiting and catching up over drinks. I got to tell Julie and Bob about the talk I did for 20×2 Chicago, and how the moment in my story has stayed with me.

That got Bob to share with me a few stories of his, of moments that had stayed with him. He talked about a homeless guy he had seen, while heading to work downtown one morning. It was cold out, around 20 or lower, and the guy had no shoes or socks on. Bob was already dressed to be working outside (lots of layers), in addition to his coat.

He was walking down the street with his friend, and they both had to part to walk around the homeless guy. And when they passed, the guy looked up – directly at Bob. The guy didn’t ask for any money, and didn’t say anything. He just looked at Bob.

And Bob nad his friend just kept on walking.

A bit later on, Bob was still thinking about the man, and headed back to offer him his coat. He knew he’d be warm enough, and decided he wanted to give the homeless man his coat. But by the time he returned to the spot, the homeless man was gone.

Bob was telling me this story, and describing it as “a test.” That he didn’t have the well-being of others in his heard and his mind. It was there eventually, but it wasn’t there in the moment. And that encounter stayed with him.

I got to share with him my story of finding $20 on the ground and how I also felt that was, in some ways, a kind of test. And we talked about the role of Bible stories, fairy tales, mythology, folktales and urban legends. They’re all full of chance encounters, where ordinary people are given a chance to demonstrate their character.

A little after 7PM, we headed out a few blocks away to City Winery for an early dinner.

I didn’t get a ton of great photos this evening, but they’re reminders more than anything else. At Aviary, while capturing the presentations would have been great… I opted to try more to enjoy the moment, and worry less about documenting everything.

Tonight was a fun, and long overdue night out. Julie and Bob made the long trek into the city to hang out with us (an hour here, and another hour back)… and we’re glad to have had them experience Aviary with us.

Hope it’s not another 3 years until we go back again!

Date Night: Drinks at The Aviary
$20 and a Decision
When You Read Them Fairy Tales, Kids Pay Attention

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