Ask Alpana: 8/14

Check Please! Host and Master Sommelier Alpana Singh joins us on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm with answers to your wine, beer and spirits questions. Learn more about her recommendations below.

Is it considered low class when bringing a guest a second glass of wine to pour remainder of first glass into new glass?

“I would not recommend doing this as the wine in the first glass has had time to open up and the exposure to oxygen has made it a slightly different tasting wine vs. a fresh glass. From a service perspective, you would not pour off the old glass into the new glass for this reason.”

Why is it so difficult to get access to good East Coast beers here in Chicago? There are 2 fabulous beers that Chicago needs to get more access to.

1) Ommegang Brewery, Cooperstown,NY - Abby Ale
2) Flying Fish Brewing Company, Cherry Hill, NJ - Exit 4

There are very few restaurants in Chicago that have these. What gives?

“Beer selections, especially craft brews, depend on the overall philosophy of the restaurant. Some don’t like to focus on the microbrews because they feel customers will not recognize them, and as a result they won’t sell as well as the nationally advertised brands. Usually when you see a well-selected craft beer list, it means there is a person who is passionate about the product leading the charge. Specialty brews require a well-trained staff who can speak knowledgeably about the product, and some restaurants are not equipped or just don’t feel it is a priority to do so. The product is available but it takes a dedicated restaurateur to focus on them. Another reason is the size of the beer company. There may not be enough production to warrant distribution across state lines. Craft beer tends to be incredibly supported on a local level. Ommegang is distributed in Illinois; whereas Flying Fish from what I gather is not available in Illinois.”

Do you have any recommendations for some good moonshine? Legal, of course.

“Moonshine is raw whiskey as it first comes out of the distillation process without aging. It is usually a very raw and harsh product that comes around with additional cask aging. Another component to consider with moonshine is that is it associated with something that was once illegal, which means there are no strict standards for it. Considering this, I would recommend white whiskey. A couple of local products to consider are: FEW White Whiskey or Death’s Door White Whiskey.

The Chicago Air and Water Show kicks off this weekend along the lakefront at North Avenue Beach. Want to sip something while you watch? Check out Alpana's recommendations below.

Air and Water Show Cocktails

White Port & TonicWhite Port & Tonic

  • 2 oz of White Port
  • 3 oz Tonic
  • Fresh Lime
  • Ice

PalomaPaloma Cocktail

  • 2 oz Blanco Tequila
  • 3 oz Grapefruit Soda
  • ½ oz Lime Juice
  • Ice

AviationAviation Cocktail

  • 2 oz Gin
  • ½ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 2 teaspoons Maraschino Liqueur
  • ¼ oz Crème de Violette
  • Lemon Twist Garnish