The secret is out: Cindy’s, the restaurant atop the CAA, unquestionably has the best views in Chicago to drink and eat to. You have Millennium Park, the Art Institute, Maggie Daley Park and of course, the glistening beauty of Lake Michigan. What better way to take it all in than with a cocktail made by the CAA’s Spirit Guide Nandini Khaund? Nandini loves to share so we asked her to mix up one of her signature cocktails, The Golden Boar, and offer up the recipe for you. Sure, you can make it yourself, but we bet with our view and her skills, it’ll be better here so why not just come down and let Nandini make it for you instead? We chatted with Nandini to learn more about her background, the inspiration for the Golden Boar and her favorite summer drinks.
CAA: What do you love about Cindy’s
Nandini Khaund: When I found out details of the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel project, it seemed like kismet that I had to be here. Cindy’s is an architectural beauty atop this amazing restoration, ripe with potential for evolving into a lush, green space. I want to grow the cocktail program organically along with her, and be inspired by the view, the history of the building, the Art Institute and eventually the rooftop garden where we will be able to grow our own herbs and produce. In addition to featuring local, seasonal elements, we strive to support local distilleries and beer and mostly female winemakers and producers.
CAA: Where Were You Before Cindy’s?
Nandini: Before Cindy’s lured me in, I worked at Violet Hour, Big Star and The Charleston. I refer to Violet Hour as the Hogwarts of Alcohol: It’s a collaborative, creative environment where we have the opportunity to learn so much about all things booze. I was there for almost eight years, probably enough time to have learned some sorcery! At the CAA, we have a team of rad bartenders and servers from all over the city with unique and informed backgrounds, and I hope to cultivate a similar atmosphere as Violet Hour. I am the editor of a (currently defunct) independent cocktail app “Craft Cocktail,” featuring an apothecary-inspired menu with explanations, stories, and a grimoire of healing benefits. I also do events at boutiques and galleries where I create an “intoxication installation” to serve in conjunction with the work or artist represented. I style large format cocktails that people share, where the flavor is meant to tell a narrative.
CAA: What’s your go-to cocktail or drink on a hot summer day?
Nandini: My go-to drink on a hot summer day? I love classic gimlets and daiquiris and margaritas, but honestly I’d probably be pretty happy with a beer and a shot of tequila!
CAA: What inspired the Golden Boar, the drink we’re featuring here?
Nandini: The Chicago Athletic Association opened in 1893 for the Chicago’s World Fair. That year, Captain Magnus Andersen and his crew of 11 sailed The Viking from Norway to Chicago to be featured at the Exposition. Golden Boar is an homage to all things Norse. Freyja, the Norwegian goddess of love, fertility, war and death, rode a boar with golden bristles and wore a cloak of falcon feathers. Aquavit is a Norwegian liquor similar to vodka in that it’s distilled from grapes or potatoes, but it is infused with spices such as caraway and dill.
Nandini Khaund’s Golden Boar at Cindy’s
5 oz Skadi Aquavit
.5 oz Solera Cream Sherry
1 oz Carrot Syrup
.75 oz lemon juice
Garnish: Sprig of Thyme
To make the carrot syrup:
Make fresh carrot juice and bring 2 parts juice to a boil with 1 part sugar.
Reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes, whisking occasionally.
For Golden Boar Cocktail:
Combine all ingredients into shaker, add ice and shake.
Strain into a rocks glass with ice.
Garnish with a sprig of thyme.
Tasting notes: The scent of thyme accentuates the vegetal notes of aquavit in the cocktail, while the sweetness of the sherry complements the carrot and lemon.