Hotel serves up new art-inspired cocktails

The new cocktail menu at The Gwen in Chicago is inspired by a collection of artistic works and styles. (a room with a bar, tables and chairs)

The Gwen, a Luxury Collection Hotel in Chicago, unveiled the property’s new cocktail collaboration with industry-lauded mixologist Freddie Sarkis. Available now, the menu is inspired by a collection of artistic works and styles – from the Renaissance movement to contemporary pop and street art.

In addition, the menu pays homage to pioneer Chicago sculptor Gwen Lux with a namesake cocktail. The hotel resides in the landmark McGraw-Hill building, which boasts an art deco façade complete with bas relief sculptures by Lux.

“When we set out to create this menu, our focus was creating cocktails that matched the timeless design of The Gwen,” Sarkis said. “Much like art and design, the menu is meant to invoke discussion, and be accessible to all of our guests.”

Sarkis’s menu is broken down into three sections – Classic & Renaissance, featuring unique twists on cocktail classics; Minimalist & Contemporary, inspired by some of Chicago’s most iconic art moments, and the large-format Pop & Street cocktails.

“The Pop & Street cocktails are especially exciting for me,” says Sarkis. “Pairing the large-format with these particular art styles helps to create this communal experience for our guests. We’re also able to expose travelers to our local art scene with drinks like the Bear Champ cocktail, a homage to a local street artist JC Rivera.”

A long-standing fixture in Chicago’s cocktail scene, Sarkis was part of the opening team at Sable Kitchen & Bar, and conceptualized the cocktail program at Celeste. Prior to partnering with The Gwen, Sarkis was tapped to launch of the Chicago outpost of the Broken Shaker cocktail bar.

The full menu of cocktails:

Classics & Renaissance

  • Rembrandt’s Sazerac: Bourbon, rum, bitters, absinthe
  • Davinci’s Umbrella: Rum, amaro, sparkling wine, black tea, honey, lemon
  • Oaxaca Old Fashioned: Tequila reposado, mezcal, agave, bitters, salt

Minimalist & Contemporary

  • Gwen Lux: Gin, dry vermouth, raspberry, egg white, lemon, sparkling wine
  • Dali’s Delight: Vodka, Italian aperitif, vanilla, strawberry ice, lime, club soda
  • Chicago Picasso: Corn whiskey, rye whiskey, sherry, burnt brown sugar, bitters, served smoked
  • Viva Mexico City!: Tequila, Green Chartreuse, lime, mint
  • Cafe Correcto con Cocco: 5-Year Rum, spiced rum, house espresso cordial, Italian aperitif, coconut milk
  • Fateful Lightning: Cognac, Italian aperitif, passionfruit, ginger
  • Velvet Night: Vodka, pineapple, activated charcoal, chili, sparkling coconut water

Pop & Street

  • JC’s Bear Champz; Bourbon, brandy, honey, lemon, earl grey tea, grapefruit, bitters
  • Miss Van’s Virtue: Tequila blanco, mezcal, elderflower liqueur, lemon, agave, fresh pressed apple, bitters, and a bottle of sparkling wine
  • Warhol’s Wonder: Vodka, sherry, Szechuan peppercorn, lemongrass, pineapple, lime