Meet the Bar Meisters from across the nation
Welcome to BARTENDER SHOWCASE featuring Chicago's own Natalie Smythe, an industry veteran, and amazing bartender! BARTENDER SHOWCASE brings the best bartending talent from all across the country. These passionate and talented artists of their craft are leaders within the industry and are educating and inspiring through their shaker tins.
- Press Play on Natalie's Spotify Playlist & Enjoy the Tunes.
- Learn About Natalie's Chicago Inspired Cocktail.
- Scroll Down to Get to Know the Amazing Natalie Smythe.
Natalie's Spotify Playlist & Inspiration
The inspiration for this playlist is a mixture of sounds from my memories behind the stick and things I grew up with and/or regularly listen to. I tried to choose things that remind me of the sound of longer days and warmer nights in my life here in Chicago. Dancing always keeps you warm, so you’ll be warm and refreshed with this playlist playing no matter how mild the spring is!”
Tulip, Too Late
Created by Natalie Smythe
Cocktail Name: Tulip, Too Late
- 1 part Jägermeister
- 1 part Tempus Fugit Gran Classico
- 1 part Strega
- ½ part Fruitful Mixology Mango Liqueur
- top with Fever-Tree Soda.
Garnish: Mint and Lemon Half-Moons
Method: Build ingredients in the glass, add ice, and top with Fever-Tree Soda. Stir to incorporate. Add mint and lemon half-moons to garnish.
Inspiration: In a city that experiences four seasons in 12 acts, there is a running joke that exaggerates how many winters we have in one year. Thus, March/April is the “spring of deception” territory. The epitome of rebirth, spring in Chicago is a torturous, visceral war between seasons: winds are still strong and chilly; rain turns to snow right before your eyes; and sunny, seventy-degree days are wedged between dark, thirty-degree disappointments. Thus, I bring you a cocktail that is appropriate for these bright, cloudy days with bone-chilling breezes: the “Tulip, Too Late.” This playful bittersweet ode to spring in Chicago is an americano riff that highlights the herbaceous freshness of Jagermeister with a feature from Italian-style bitters Strega and Gran Classico. This bittersweet symphony finishes with a hint of mango and a mint garnish to brighten our spirits and prepare us for brighter days!
Natalie Smythe brings the noise from Chicago, Illinois. The daughter of immigrants from the Philippines and Panama, she enjoys exploring the cultural feedback loops that characterize Chicago’s immigrant history. When she isn’t exploring flavor in food & beverage or dishing out memorable moments in hospitality, you can find Natalie singing at the top of her lungs in languages she doesn’t speak (but loves learning the words to); dancing the samba in random moments of joy; laughing at nonsense with her beloved sister, and listening to WBEZ Chicago. You can find Natalie at one of Chicago’s newest additions to the Italian restaurant scene, located in Chicago’s beloved Humboldt Park neighborhood.
Natalie's Tips & Tricks
Natalie, what are some tips & tricks in regard to the cocktail you created?
- No Strega? Sub yellow chartreuse or Dolin Genepy.
- No Gran Classico? Sub Luxardo Bitter Rosso.
- No mango from fruitful mixers? ….passionfruit syrups from iono, anyone? I feel like passionfruit is all over the place. Remy has a passionfruit liqueur called passõa, which is funny because it is french, but the Brazillian name they gave it is a misnomer in Portuguese LMFAO.
- You can also serve the drink as a spritz— bring the proportions down and top with soda or sparkling wine.
Q&A with Natalie
Tell us about the inspiration for your fantastic drink? The city, the style & the reason you chose this drink. What do you love most about the city?
Spring is almost non-existent in Chicago. We hunt Easter eggs in 40-degree weather; my women’s soccer season in my school days always featured a blizzard in late March—we ran suicides in 1-2inches of snow! What I love most about this city (especially considering spring) is the persistence and determination of our communities. There are so many pockets of people working together to build the spaces that reward and nurture our humanity. Additionally, in the face of so much adversity, Chicago has some of the funniest people you’ll ever meet. That sense of humor is healing and reflective during those cold winters or moments of grief. I wanted to create a cocktail that answered the question: “What would a Chicagoan say if asked about the spring?” all while elegantly looking forward to the beauties of spring: grass and flowers fighting for their own growth against randomly sunless, chilly days; birds arriving from migration too early; beautiful tulips planted along Michigan Ave because they could not possibly grow on their own in time for “spring.” Thus, I named the cocktail “Tulip, Too Late,” a bittersweet americano riff that’s perfect as an aperitif –a reminder that winter is over and to get ready for the summer.