The Chicago Sunday Cocktail

Sometimes when you spend hours browsing the Internet for cocktail recipes you find a unique cocktail that you truly love. As was the case for me last fall when I found the Chicago Sunday.

The History

I first saw the Chicago Sunday on a recap of a Woodford Reserve event. The event was called the Woodford Reserve Manhattan Experience where hundreds of entries were taken during 2011-2102 to see who could make the best variation of a Manhattan using Woodford bourbon. The event concluded with a “Master of Manhattan” winner and multiple winners from different cities. The winner from Chicago, the Chicago Sunday, was created by bartender Johnny Abens.

Abens tends bar at the popular rooftop lounge ROOF on theWit in Downtown Chicago. Their cocktail menu has never listed the drink as the Chicago Sunday, but instead they call it the New York Breakfast. Abens also won another cocktail competition with the same drink where he called it a different name. Confused yet? Well whatever you want to call it, it’s all the same drink and it’s all delicious.

The Recipe

  • 2 ounces Woodford Reserve
  • ¼ ounce maple syrup
  • ¼ ounce lemon juice
  • 4 dashes peach bitters

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass. No garnish.

The Execution

Here are a few tips to help perfect the cocktail:

  • I’ve seen credible mixologists use both grade A and B maple syrup so try both and see what you prefer. I tend to go with grade B. Refrigerate the syrup after opening.
  • The two companies I know that make peach bitters are The Bitter Truth and Fee Brothers. I own Fee Brothers and have been pleased with them.

The layers of flavor in this drink are surprising. Even at four dashes, the peach bitters don’t overpower the drink and mix well with the bourbon. The maple syrup provides a richness. While I think it's a reach to call this a variation of a Manhattan, I do seem to be reaching for the glass.