Fernet, a blend of booze and botanicals, is the liquid equivalent of a sucker punch; a hit of bitter you don't see coming until your mouth is puckering and you're cursing the bartender who slid the glass across the rail. But once the sting goes away, you start to taste what's under the bitter: layers of black licorice, tobacco and saffron, with a hint of sweet before a menthol finish. And you realize: This stuff is good.
Upgrade that to great with the launch of Fernet-Dogma, a Midwestern twist on the traditionally Italian spirit. Bartenders Alex Renshaw, Clint Rogers and Brian Sturgulewski of The Dogma Group, the team behind the bar menus at spots like Presidio, Bordel and The Dawson, partnered with CH Distillery to create their own version, now on sale by the bottle ($38) and pour ($9) at CH (564 W. Randolph St., 312-707-8780).
"Most fernets on the market are similar, so we thought it would be cool to start with some of the traditional elements — lemon peel, chamomile, eucalyptus, saffron — but go a little different," Renshaw says. Inspired by the Italian custom of pairing fernet with espresso, "we ended up with a coffee fernet, using Dark Matter coffee and botanicals from Rare Tea Cellar in Ravenswood. It's all local."
To help the coffee flavor pop, they rested the spirit in Four Roses bourbon barrels for a month before bottling.
"Dark Matter works really well because their coffee has this chocolatey quality, which is a nice back note to that initial bitterness of the fernet," Sturgulewski says. "The master distiller at CH worked really hard on it to make sure it was balanced; that you don't taste it and say, 'Wow, this is incredibly bitter!' and there's nothing else going on. It's complex."
Drink Fernet-Dogma straight, or add it to cocktails; Bordel (1721 W. Division St., 773-227-8600) has a drink on the menu using pisco, coconut liqueur, lime juice and "a little bit of the fernet," Renshaw says.
"It's seductive," Sturgulewski adds.
*This article originally appeared in the Chicago Tribune, July 20, 2015 written by Marissa Conrad
In partnership with our friends at Do312, we’ve asked several of Chicago’s tastemaker-types to put their own unique spin on the typical city guide. Leading up to this year’s fest, we’ll be showcasing different lists of local spots – tailored to this year’s Lolla lineup. We’ve already caught up with Eric Strom of GlitterGuts and Dom Brown from Porn and Chicken, now we check in with Kyle Hodges from Dark Matter Coffee.
Beachwood Inn is a small bar with no bullshit. You get a beer, a shot and chill out. This is the kind of dive bar that is inviting without being just a complete dump. Like your dad’s old basement bar, you feel at home.
Stacked with some of the most sought after instruments and gear in the country, this is a mecca for any musician. Chances are that some of these bands will be playing instruments from CME, as they are supplier of those hard-to-find items on technical riders.
Home to Chicago’s best coffee and the perfect stop to get the rust off from the night before. We would hit their HQ, The Mothership, for some secret blends, or a personal cupping session.
The history of this place speaks volumes of how and why Chicago is important to the world of music. The building serves double duty, as the home of both Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation and Chess Records, the label that helped put Chicago Blues, R&B and Soul on the map.
Everyone needs a break from touring, who doesn’t like nature and the beauty that it beholds? With both indoor and outdoor flower gardens and a lake, it’s easy to push aside any stress. If we are lucky there will be someone throwing a BBQ or picnic that we can hijack.
A recovering record store owner/employee, this Indianapolis native has called Chicago home for the last several years. Now the Minister of Propaganda at Dark Matter Coffee, Kyle Hodges oversees the curation of DMC’s music & art collaborations, partnerships and brand development. When not gorging himself on coffee & donuts, you can find him digging at record stores for a first pressing, still sealed copy of INXS ‘Kick LP’.
We wanted to extend another heartfelt THANK YOU to everyone who came to celebrate our 7th anniversary last weekend. Through the generous support from the breweries, food vendors and everyone in attendance, we were able to raise $6600 for Hope For The Day!! What a wonderful way to extend much needed support and love, so thank you again!
A special thanks to Collin Diederich for the video recap below!
18th Street Brewing
3 Floyd's Brewing
5 Rabbit Brewing
Against The Grain
Band of Bohemia
Central State Brewing
Dark Horse Horse
Forbidden Root Brewing Co
Goose Island Brewing Co
Half Acre Beer Co
Lagunitas Brewing Co
Local Option Bier
Marz Community Brewing
Spirits & Support
Archie's Iowa Tavern
Death's Door Spirits
Nevada: Tabb's Food & Liquor
Puerto Rico Food & Liquor
Sauce & Bread
Black Bear Combo
Buckingham Palace SVU
Audio Sound: Big Audio
"To get back to the warning that I received. You may take it with however many grains of salt that you wish. That the brown acid that is circulating around us isn't too good. It is suggested that you stay away from that. Of course it's your own trip. So be my guest, but please be advised that there is a warning on that one, ok?" Woodstock 1969
When the famous words were echoed from the microphone to the crowd at Woodstock, the legend of Brown Acid was born. While the folklore of this drug and many others during this time of enchantment, it was hard to pin-down if the acid was actually good or bad. According to one very experienced attendee, the acid was so pure, people mistakenly took more than one hit. A fair number of these people where novices, inadvertently labeling their experience as a "bad trip", instead of just a very intense one. The resemblance between Brown Acid then and our version now shares a similar characteristic when it comes to purity.
Released once, four years ago, Brown Acid is our answer to the common approach to third wave espresso: bright, clean and vibrant, blending similar cultivars, from the same country, but three different farms.
These three farms share similar care in farming and a beautiful mill where they process and dry. The largest factor in their differences are their degrees of fermentation: washed, semi washed and natural. Each coffee was strategically placed in this blend to bring out the best in each bean.
We begin with sparkling washed beans from Santa Elena, an established farm in El Salvador, which commonly places in the Cup of Excellence, among other awards. With its particular style of processing, the semi washed bourbon from Las Nubes, contributes body and sweetness. Santa Josefita, on the conservative side of dry-processing, is a natural processed that brings juicy fruit and acidity to the blend.
Pick-up orders can be grabbed at the location/times below.
738 N Western Ave
Mon-Fri 6am-6pm, Sat 7am-3pm, Sun 8am-3pm
We will be releasing two different mixes for this collaboration, a cassette version and a CD version. The cassette will be a shorter mix, highlighting the labels releases - the CD will feature a longer, psychedelic path of music, featuring some from the same artists. Both mixes are also available via our Mixcloud for streaming.
Chicago has a long and storied history with Soul music - it's part of what makes this city's heart beat. Soulis also the communicational connection that helps everyday people with whatever ails them.
Being big fans of both the music and the event, DMC & Soul Summit teamed up to bring the Soul Summit blend and mixtape CDs. This blend is no jive friends, just straight to the point with it's black gold brew - using two of our washed coffees from El Salvador, El Condor and San Eduardo. El Condor is a tasty, straight-forward coffee, while the Eduardo washed has classic Salvadoran flavors. Notes of melon, cocoa and lemon make this a dance floor filler that will put the soul back in your day with every sip.
There are 3 mix cds, one from each Soul Summit resident: Dave Mata, Duke Grip & Sloppy White, that will be given out for FREE, while supplies last, with each bag purchased. We will also be giving out a batch of these heaters at Soul Summit on Saturday, June 21st at the Double Door. Along with the three resident DJs, Soul Suffers, from Russia, will be the featured band and admission is also FREE !! What could be better than sweatin' to some classic Soul music on a Saturday night?
"Jim Karr had a desire to engage with people. He set out manifesting this action through boundless friendships and through tireless work in the coffee community. He made no designation between the two. In creating Steam Volt there were regular discussions about the responsibility of business, and how great collaborative efforts must be driven by the hard-fought personal convictions. After all of the noise settles down the good ideas come in through the open windows. Jim was that open window for a lot of us, a sounding board and encouraging voice amidst a complicated work/life scenario. His memory will always be a guiding force. Seems appropriate then, with this bag of coffee in his honor, to let some light in and see what can be seen."