Green Day: Sable Puts a Sophisticated Spin on St. Pat’s Revelry

By St. Patrick’s Day proper—when the dying of the river and its attendant 8:30 a.m. shots seem like ages ago—the green is already off the clover. But if you’re looking for a way to celebrate tonight and you’ve long since graduated from green beer, go for an afterwork nip at River North’s Sable Kitchen & Bar, where the head bartender, Mike Ryan, is pouring flights of Irish whiskeys with a craft cocktail chaser for $20…

A lineup of drinks at Sable
Top of the evening to you: Sable’s St. Pat’s flight
 

By St. Patrick’s Day proper—when the dying of the river and its attendant 8:30 a.m. shots seem like ages ago—the green is already off the clover. But if you’re looking for a way to celebrate tonight and you’ve long since graduated from green beer, go for an afterwork nip at River North’s Sable Kitchen & Bar, where the head bartender, Mike Ryan, is pouring flights of Irish whiskeys with a craft cocktail chaser for $20.

You’ll try Redbreast 12-year (triple-pot-distilled single malt from County Cork’s Midleton distillery), Powers 12-year (a blended whiskey also from Midleton), and Knappogue Castle 12-year (triple-distilled single malt from Bushmills distillery in County Antrim). “Irish whiskeys are generally triple distilled, so they’re quite a bit lighter than a lot of Scotch malts,” says Ryan, who, despite his Irish/German roots, is bucking tradition in a Hawaiian shirt today. “My favorite examples are pot distilled and incorporate a certain quantity of unmalted barley, which brings a peppery, grassy note.”

End the tasting with Ryan’s festive Everybody’s Irish cocktail, a blend of Knappogue Castle 12-year, Green Chartreuse, crème de menthe, and fresh lime juice. It’s just green enough to shield you from pinches, should you find yourself woefully underdressed in city black. 

Sable, meanwhile, has another reason to celebrate: The spot was just named one of America’s Best New Bars in the April issue of Food & Wine magazine—the only Chicago bar to receive the distinction. “Our goal all along was to create a bar where you can just roll in and grab an Aviation [one of Ryan’s favorites, a gin and liqueur concoction] or a beer, a shot, or two ounces of whiskey—with a side of education if you want,” Ryan says. “It’s not a theme park, it’s not a ride, it’s just a bar. A good one.”

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