If Wicker Park were a cocktail, how would it taste?

Wicker ParkBucktownUnrest, Conflicts and War

If I were to create a cocktail that embodies Wicker Park, the nutty neighborhood I call home, it would be some combination of PBR, musician sweat and tattoo ink, with a splash of expensive beer and an artful garnish of skinny jeans and plaid.

Thomas Kleiner had something else in mind. Challenged to concoct a drink that represents Wicker Park and Bucktown, the general manager of Club Lucky came up with a 10-ingredient allegory of the neighborhood’s ethnic history and summer activities, served with a participatory painting installation on the side.

The Six Corner Fizz, as he called it, was the winner of the inaugural “mixologist mash-up,” held last week at the Jackson Junge Gallery, 1389 N. Milwaukee Ave., to crown the neighborhood’s first signature cocktail. Organized by the Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce, the soiree drew some 150 attendees, who voted for Club Lucky’s fizz over drinks whipped up by bartenders from Tavern, Boundary, Pint and Subterranean.

The Six Corner Fizz, which gets its name from the nexus of North, Damen and Milwaukee avenues, will be on menu at Club Lucky, 1824 W. Wabansia Ave., starting this weekend ($10.75) and will remain there the rest of the year, Kleiner said.

The concept behind Club Lucky’s winning cocktail was a result of 10 days of brainstorming, said Kleiner, who wanted to reach beyond the hipster movement to showcase the complexity of the neighborhood. According to Kleiner, the vodkas represent the rich Polish heritage. The fact that the vodkas are infused with tropical dragonfruit and passion fruit symbolize the Puerto Rican residents. The prosecco and Gran Gala orange liqueur embrace Club Lucky’s Italian motif. A sprinkle of pearls, made through spherification of crème de violette and orange blossom liqueurs, are a floral nod to the Bucktown garden walk.

To acknowledge the neighborhood’s strong artistic community, Kleiner also made edible blue, yellow, green and pink paints, using milk powder mixed with blue curacao, crème de menthe, crème de banana and strawberry liqueurs, and invited guests to paint on a canvas. The communal painting, signed by everyone who added a doodle, will be donated to the chamber of commerce, he said.

It was an A for effort, certainly, but the Six Corner Fizz also tastes good. It’s refreshing and fruity but not too sweet. Made with an egg white and served on the rocks, it’s a cross between a punch and a fizz, Kleiner said, a throwback to classic cocktail culture.

The Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce, which partnered with TimeOut Chicago, Google Places, Drink Deck and 4 Rebels vodka (participants had to use 4 Rebels in their drinks), plans to make the contest an annual event, said chamber executive director Adam Burck.

Here’s the recipe for the Six Corner Fizz. The pearls are a bit complicated to make, so look up spherification instructions online if you wish.

1 1/2 parts 4 Rebels Dragonfruit vodka

1 1/4 parts X-Rated Fusion Liqueur

1/2 part Gran Gala Triple Orange Liqueur

1/2 part Heering Cherry liqueur

1/4 part fresh squeezed lime juice

1/4 part simple syrup

1 egg white (optional)

1/4 part Nobili Del Borgo Prosecco

Pearls made from The Bitter Truth Violet Liqueur (optional)

Pearls made from Campari and orange blossom water (optional)

Combine the first seven ingredients and shake without ice. Then shake with ice, and strain into a stemless wine glass containing ice. Top with the prosecco. Garnish with a pineapple leaf, Italian maraschino cherry and a lemon twist.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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