The Chicago Style Cocktail Conference is not your typical booze-fest. The three women founders behind this new cocktail conference coming to Chicago in May – coinciding with the James Beard Awards – are making it a point to address some much needed issues in the cocktail community – such as diversity, sexism and inclusion. They will even touch on substance abuse and sustainability in their featured panels.

Sharon Bronstein, directing of marketing for the 86 Co., a spirits & importing company,  Shelby Allison, owner of the celebrated Chicago tiki bar Lost Lake, and Caitlin Laman, decorated bartender and beverage director at the Ace Hotel Chicago are the women behind this forward thinking cocktail conference that is already getting a ton of buzz.

For this week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast I spoke with Shelby Allison, a James Beard Award nominee, and one of the founders of Chicago Style Cocktail Conference.

Listen to Episode 11: Chicago Style Cocktail Conference.” – me

Shelby also revealed to us her current go-to, pre-batched cocktail that she keeps in the fridge for a moment’s notice – The Florentine – an equal parts cocktail created at NYC bar, Attaboy.

In the spirit of the Negroni, this equal parts drink has vermouth and a bitter-sweet Italian liqueur. But in this stirred cocktail, the vermouth is dry and is accompanied by a low ABV (alcohol by volume) aperitif wine – Cocchi Americano. Cynar – an Amaro made from artichokes – is much darker and herbaceous than its Italian relative, Campari. This aromatic combo makes for a complex, rich and bittersweet sipper.

The Florentine created at New York’s Attaboy
1 oz Cynar
1 oz Cocchi Americano
1 oz Dolin Dry Vermouth

Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and fill with ice. Stir until well chilled, and then strain into a cocktail glass. Optional garnish: orange peel.


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