Baconfest Chicago is pleased to announce that Plantation Rum will be partnering with Sable Kitchen & Bar’s Mixologist Mike Ryan to sponsor a Bacon-Rum Cocktail for Baconfest Chicago 2012, April 14th at the UIC Forum.  Mike Ryan is one of Chicago’s most innovative Mixologists and we’re thrilled to welcome his Plantation-bacon creation to the roster of cocktails and beer on hand for Baconfest Chicago 2012.

Mike’s 2012 creation is called “Tea and Sympathy” – bacon washed plantation rum, earl grey and balsamic shrub, and bacon-lemon flambe.  We are STOKED!

Sable Kitchen & Bar will also be represented by Baconfest Chicago Veteran Chef Heather Terhune who will no doubt be wowing guests as she did in 2010 and 2011 with her Bacon-wizardry.  Word on the street is she’s making: Nueske’s Apple Wood Smoked Bacon Pretzels with cheddar-bacon jam dip!

More info on Mike Ryan and Plantation Rum below.

On behalf of Baconfest Chicago, and our charity beneficiary The Greater Chicago Food Depository, we thank Plantation Rum, Sable Kitchen & Bar, Mike Ryan and Heather Terhune for their generous support!

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PLANTATION RUM: The Finest Rums:

Cognac Ferrand has always had close relationships with the best distilleries in the Caribbean, selling them casks that had once contained its cognac.  Ferrand casks are highly prized by certain rum producers that use them to mature their spirits.  During these exchanges, Alexandre Gabriel had the opportunity to discover some very old batches of rum with extraordinary richness and a diversity of aroma and flavor.  Available in tiny quantities, the rums were intended either for the personal consumption of the distillery’s cellar master or used to give style to industrial rum blends.  Quite naturally, Cognac Ferrand decided to bottle these special rums as a series of rare vintages.

And so the Plantation Collection was born.  Plantation is now a full range of seven vintage rums and three blended rums made by Ferrand’s cellar master.  Each rum is the perfect expression of it’s country of origin, its terroir and its distillery.

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(Photo: Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants)

Mike Ryan

As head bartender at Sable Kitchen & Bar, Mike Ryan brings his signature culinary flair to the craft cocktail movement. The Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago graduate, former Moto sous chef and self-described “shot and a beer guy” became accidentally enamored with bar-tending while working as a cook at Fulton Market molecular gastronomy restaurant Moto between 2005 and 2008.  “He [owner Homaro Cantu] wanted a cook behind the bar,” remembers Ryan. “I was literally looking up things like highballs in a book.” Soon, Ryan became interested in the possibilities presented by unusual spirits, classic mixes and new flavor profiles.

Ryan grew up outside Philadelphia in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, and moved to Chicago in 2001 to attend culinary school, and, while working at Otom and Moto, began spending his free time at Wicker Park’s The Violet Hour. “I was trying all the classics, reading up on the history,” Ryan remembers. In 2008, he was asked to join The Violet Hour team.

“My mentor is [Violet Hour head bartender] Mike Rubel,” says Ryan. “He’s incredibly knowledgeable about spirits and their history.” Ryan spent his time at The Violet Hour “banging out drinks, tasting, learning, really understanding the relationships between sweet, sour, bitter and booze.” At the same time, he continued to hone his hospitality skills. “How great is it when you can give somebody exactly what they’re looking for, even if they don’t know exactly what they want?”

Ryan’s behind-the-bar plan for Sable is to leave guests feeling both at home and constantly engaged. As far as mixology goes, he says, “I’m a fan of bright, loud, vibrant flavors. I like to use egregious amounts of bitters, bold whiskeys and to try cool savory ingredients while utilizing my kitchen background to ‘take it to the next level.’” Ryan wouldn’t have left The Violet Hour for an opportunity any less promising, he says. “Being in charge at Sable gives me the chance to explore some thoughts I have about cocktails, and chase down a few philosophical ideas about bar-tending.” Under Ryan’s leadership, the Sable bar houses one of the largest selections of brown spirits in the city.

An Albany Park, Chicago, resident, Ryan was a 2009 scholarship recipient in the Cocktail Apprentice program at New Orleans’ annual Tales of the Cocktail, a high-profile industry convention. He has been featured in Time Out Chicago, The New York Times and Whiskey magazine.

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For More info on Sable Kithen & Bar and Chef Heather Terhune, visist:  Sable Kitchen & Bar.