Graham Elliot serves up bourbon from Basil Hayden

Last week we had the opportunity to hang with Graham Elliot at his Near North restaurant to talk bourbon, kitchen play lists and who he’s hiring for his new sandwich shop, Grahamwich.

Graham Elliot

Graham Elliot working in his kitchen, a douche bag-free zone.

The evening started with an introduction to Basil Hayden’s, a small-batch bourbon with peppery notes and light finish. The tried and true Manhattan was the clear winner, but we also found the Apple Bubbly, a combination of bourbon and apple cider, to be clean and satisfying. However, drinks went by the wayside when Graham Elliot came out to introduce a dish he made for the event. We salivated over the sea scallops and Chef’s invitation to hang with him and his staff in the kitchen.

Sea Scallop

Sea scallops served on a bed of savory oats, butternut squash, maple jus and a touch of bourbon.

According to the chef, the first person in the kitchen every day gets to pick the tunes for the rest of the night. “I’ve only over-ridden the music once.” Graham Elliot turns and smiles at a bearded member of his prep staff, “We’d had enough of the Grateful Dead.”

His staff smiles back at him, laughing, having a good time. The kitchen had a good vibe, and it prompted a question about whether he’d hired anyone for his new shop, Grahamwich. “I’m interviewing right now. We want to keep it like this, a douche bag-free zone.”

He was a little quieter about what sandwich he was most proud of at Grahamwich, and tossed out suggestions back and forth with his staff. The message I took away was to try them all, and if they’re half as good as the samples passed around the party, that won’t be a problem.

Basil Apple Bubbly

Basil Apple Bubbly, one of the cocktails made with Basil Hayden's Bourbon.

Try more at:

Graham Elliot
217 W Huron St # 1
Chicago, IL 60654-3900
(312) 624-9975

615 N State Street
Chicago, IL 60654-3853

Basil Hayden’s Bourbon

This was a media event.

Graham Elliot, painted

Colorful paintings hang in the kitchen. This is Graham Elliot in painted form.