Level Two - The Zest of Christmas

With 12 typical flavours of Christmas, Level Two at Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile takes us on a jovial journey of wonderful cocktails!

By: Soumya Jain

Posted on: December 5, 2014

With 12 typical flavours of Christmas, Level Two at Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile takes us on a jovial journey of wonderful cocktails!
I doubt anyone is really working in offices nowadays. With Christmas around the corner, tension about meetings and deadlines has been replaced with gift shopping and party arrangements. Is it not?
But it’s also about catching up with friends, sneaking a bit early out of work for a couple of drinks with your hard-working colleagues, and maybe party planning in a bit more amiable atmosphere. And that’s where I think the limited edition Christmas cocktails at Level Two in Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile takes precedence over any other venue!
Available only from December 14-25, 2014, the team at Level Two chose 12 staple Christmas flavours, and gave them an alcoholic twist to remind you about what Christmas actually means! So sample concoctions that are reminiscent of gingerbread and cranberry or egg nog and sugar plums!
For the child in you
Who could ever resist chocolate? And a big, warm tumbler of hot chocolate, especially in this weather, is always a delight. But wait, it’s not just hot chocolate that Level Two is serving you. ‘Death by Chocolate’, as it’s named, is a well-orchestrated mix of Simple syrup, Godiva White, steamed milk, white chocolate shaken cream, with a sprinkle of cocoa powder on top. Warm and soothing, my heart melted over this one…
If this is too sweet for you, they have another warm drink on the menu, inspired by spiced cider – Naughty or Nice Cider. Warming our hands around this one, we slipped it slowly as our palate played with some spicy, comforting notes. Making it is almost like alchemy with the cider steeped with cinnamon, cloves, green cardamoms, black peppercorn and star anise for quite a few hours. It can be mixed with bourbon, cognac or rum, but its taste will definitely keep you coming back for more!

Tough guy
What would you expect from a cocktail inspired by walnuts? I had absolutely no idea. But when Nuts and Bolts came, it was definitely something unique. More on the bitter side with deep aromas, whiskey lovers will appreciate this cocktail. Made using walnut bitters, Carpano Antica, St. Germain, Aperol and the rich FEW White Whiskey, this libation came without any garnishing. “We don’t want to garnish just for the sake of it. If it doesn’t add any value, then we let the drink do its job,” said Mr David Lennon, Director of F&B at Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile. 
Something similar was the cinnamon inspired cocktail. It was quite potent and hard-hitting – “like a mix of vodka and whiskey” – said my companion. The Cinnamon Old Fashion is made with cinnamon bitters, Simple syrup and Pyrat XO rum. 
Fresh and fizzy 
Not that they are actually aerated, but these drinks are fresh in terms of the concept and taste too! The Cable Car cocktail – inspired by cloves - was our first favourite with its citrusy notes with just a slight hint of bitterness. Using Simple syrup, lemon, Grand Marnier and Sailor Jerry, the tangy notes were quite balanced by the sugar rim the glassware had. The spiced rum added a piquant flavor, though I couldn’t detect much of cloves in it.
Stinger was exactly what its name says it is, but in a wonderful way. Inspired by peppermint, it was almost like a burst of menthol in our mouth. Using White Crème de Menth and Dusse VS cognac, it was garnished with a sprig of mint. Needless to say, you won’t need a mouth freshener after this drink!
Being a wine lover, I absolutely fell head over heels for the Purple ‘Pear’adise. Looking very pretty with a deep purple pear syrup showing on the side artistically and pear slices garnishing on the rim, I would say this is more of a girly drink. Quite dry like a white wine, it uses Simple syrup, lemon juice, St George pear brandy and Grafignia Malbec to remind us of pears – full points for that! Mouth watering because of the dryness and quite tangy, it even had aromas of young pear wafting from it. 

There are more Christmas cocktails on the menu, but I guess these should be enough for you to grab your coat and head there. You won’t get anything close to them at any other bar, because the Level Two team creates its own bitters, syrups and blends. Indeed, the cinnamon and walnut bitters were created in-house by allowing the bitters to sit for three weeks in a cool, dark place in an air tight container once the desired flavors are correctly assembled. They taste test them every 48 hours to see that the process is coming along well.  Once the optimum flavor is reached, they strain the contents using a coffee filter into either a dark glass jug, or the eyedropper.
With live music playing in the evenings, surrounded by some meaningful artworks, Level Two does guarantee a pleasurable time. Sophisticated, it has a young, vivacious feel too. And as Christmas approaches, make sure you do sample these cocktails at least once to get into the festive mode!
Coordinates: Level Two, Hyatt Chicago Magnificent Mile, 633 N St Clair St, Chicago, IL

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