How about some bourbon in that margarita? The suggestion might not be that unusual at Dos Urban Cantina. The Logan Square Mexican restaurant recently tapped Louisville bar owner and bourbon expert Larry Rice to overhaul its cocktail program.
In 2015, executive chef Brian Enyart spent a year commuting to Louisville each week to help Rice in the kitchen of El Camino —a Mexican tiki bar that was the follow-up to Rice's bourbon-fueled The Silver Dollar— and returned to Chicago each weekend to scout locations for Dos Urban Cantina: "We had talked about collaborating with me on the bar side," Rice says. "When he hit me up a few months ago asking if I was still interested, and of course I told him I would do anything for him."
Rice will now be the one commuting to Chicago as a cocktail consultant working closely with the Dos Urban Cantina team to create drinks that complement the modern Mexican cuisine. Rice, admittedly, is a wine drinker when it comes to pairing booze and food, but he took on the challenge of creating a cocktail menu that enhances dishes. Take the Golden Mary, a riff on the Bloody Mary. It's made with double-filtered yellow tomato juice, tequila, Suze, Serrano bitters, and a cilantro garnish. Enyart's tomatillo salsa inspired the drink which pairs well with ceviche. Other drinks showcase agave —in addition to a few rum and whiskey drinks— such as a stirred margarita that was originally created in response to the 2014 lime shortage. The Cartel's Revenge features reposado tequila, dry curacao, and Amargo bitters. Other creative takes on agave classics include a twist on the Tequila Sunrise, made with Vida mezcal, crème de cassis, lime juice, and Jarritos tamarind soda that's garnished with melon balls.
Rice's first menu will debut in the coming weeks, with new ones launching seasonally.