Have you had a chance to meet Cindy’s Spirit Guide, Nandini Khaund? This award-winning mixologist, who rose to local notoriety while working at Wicker Park’s Violet Hour, one of Chicago’s top mixology bars and also the city’s first modern speakeasy, is whipping up some creative potions on our rooftop. Take one look at Nandini’s cocktail menu and you can see this is someone who doesn’t take ingredients lightly. She and her well-versed bar team put a tremendous amount of thought into every drink, tonic, tincture, potion, juice and everything else they make for the bar at Cindy’s. While they use plenty of well-known ingredients, the team also likes to dig deep to find more mysterious items, but the flavor results often show that search is worth it.
One of the ingredients Nandini got excited about this winter is Calamansi, a fruit from a citrus tree found in the Philippines. Also known as the “golden lime,” calamansi offers a sweet skin with a tart flesh that is reminiscent of a Persian lime while also looking like a cross between a kumquat and mandarin orange. It finds its way into a variety of uses like the Calamansi Shrub, a drinking vinegar of sorts made by cold pressing a whole calamansi with honey. It gets mixed with tarragon and soda for a refreshing non-alcoholic treat in our Golden Lime mocktail, but can get taken up a notch with Ron Zacapa 23-year aged rum and Cruzan Blackstrap rum for an earthy, delicious cocktail. Best of all, calamansi juice is thought to have anti-inflammatory properties that aid skin and digestion, while its oils from the peel are thought to help depression and anxiety. Just even more reasons to pop up to Cindy’s and visit the bar!