The Darla Jean Jelly Bean by Rebecca SkochThe winning cocktail, Darla Jean Jelly Bean.

Chicago magazine writers, editors, and readers gathered last night at Bucktown hot spot Duchamp (2118 N. Damen Ave.; to celebrate the magazine's February cover story, The Discerning Drinker's Guide, and, well, drinking. With more than a shaker in hand—think flames!—mixologist Kris von Dopek whipped up specially crafted Typesets for the crowd. The cocktail, which contains a smooth mix of Templeton rye, port, and maple syrup, was recently featured on our list of the city's 20 best cocktails.

The fête also brought together Chicago's best would-be bartenders with the announcement of our Winter Cocktail Recipe Challenge winner. Many entries stood out, boasting ingredients such as fresh Bosc pears and pumpkin purée. But in the end, it was wild fennel pollen simple syrup that swayed judge von Dopek. The winning cocktail, submitted by Bucktown resident Rebecca Skoch, is a tribute to her mother's love of jelly beans and her dad's winter tradition of indulging in German springerle cookies with a glass of single-malt. Here is Skoch's recipe. PLUS: Check out photos from our Night of Discerning Drinking below.


1.5 ounces bourbon
0.5 ounces absinthe
1 ounce wild fennel pollen simple syrup
0.75 ounces fresh meyer lemon juice

Combine all ingredients. Shake. Serve with extra large ice cubes.

Wild fennel pollen simple syrup

1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon wild fennel pollen

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer. Strain pollen out with a cheesecloth. Refrigerate.


Event Photography: Steve Stearns