Archive for the ‘Our Favorite Things’ Category

Mindy’s Pick of the Year…and it’s only January

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

The Floating World Artisan Sake Imports has brought us some of the most beautiful, unique and rare treasures I have seen in a while.  The Mukai brewery dates back to 1754 and the current Toji (sake brewer) is the eldest daughter of the family, Kuniko. She is one of the first professional female sake brewers in Japan. Kuniko experiments with unusual rice and yeast combinations and uses a rare red rice in part of the fermentation.

All their sakes are made by hand in small batches by small, family owned companies using locally grown rice. Each one is lovely and captivating. It was love at first sight, smell and taste for me. For those who are not sake fans, this one may change your mind. The Mukai Shuzo Inemanki from Kyoto is incredible and so versatile. It really shows you what a sake can be. Of course, you can grab a bottle and go to your local BYOB sushi spot, but there is so much more. This sake has a light smokey nose and pairs beautifully with our meats here at the LUSH snack bar, try it with the duck prosciutto. It is slightly fruity and balanced by a stunning acidity that is a perfect compliment to cheese. If you want to go Tapas style, get a little tin of Spanish octopus and you won’t know what hit you. Then again, you can just sip it slowly as an aperitif, all on its own.

Staff Favorites 2012!

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013

Welcome to 2013 LUSHes! We hope you all had a great 2012 and put as many strange, beautiful, awe inspiring fermented beverages in your mouth as you could find in the last year. We know we were hard at work sipping and discerning what we LOVE and even what we don’t. Discovering how our tastes have evolved and finding comfort in the tried and true. So here is a list of our faves of 2012 (keeping in mind that all us LUSHies have wildly eccentric and sometimes just downright bizarre tastes.) Most of these items are still available at your local LUSH, and all of these items are stamped with the LUSH seal of approval.

Andrew Farrell:

Bressan Scioppettino 2006; From the Friulli-Venezia Giulia region of Italy comes this beautiful red, almost aniline wine.  Also called Ribolla Nera, left on the vine just a little longer than most grapes it develops a luscious acidity and richness that would complement any of your darker, richer meat stews on a cold winter’s night.  Looking for something to stock a cellar.  This wine goes through a complex ageing process, including some time in oak, before it even sees the store shelves making it all the better with some age.  Overall, a nice hearty grape juice.

Patrick Boomer:

2007 El Rocallis, Penedes, Spain- Incrozio Manzoni; To tell the truth I bought this wine because it was expensive and I have a taste for the good life. After drinking it I had to buy a second bottle because I couldn’t believe the depth of character it actually had. It wants to be so many things at once. A complex Northern Italian, an elegant Napa, a frivolous light Spanish; all things at once! The biggest problem with this wine is at which temperature to drink it as it changes and adapts.

This wine spends a short six months in French oak but an incredible forty two months in bottle! A clean and brilliant sunshine yellow has golden overtones, penetrating your nose with aromas of jasmine, verbena, lime and exotic fruits. Rich, smooth and generous on the palate, it leads with notes of honey, orange peel, peach stone with a hint of almonds. If possible let this gem open up for a half hour before it changes your life.

Cole Pezley:

Bourbon–the quintessential American spirit. Rooted in strong southern tradition and enjoyed by the aristocrat and frontiersman alike, it’s as unique and varied as the country from which it hails. Black Maple Hill Small Batch Bourbon is no exception; at 95 proof it packs a good punch but has a surprisingly mellow and sweet finish with subtle hints of oak and butterscotch. It can stand up well with an ice cube or two and won’t thin out with a little splash of water. At a modest (whatever price it is) I’d put this stuff up against many bourbons that cost twice as much or more. So let the world know that you’re here to enjoy yourself but also to kick a little ass and pick up a bottle of Black Maple Hill Small Batch Bourbon. Cheers!

Laurel Parks:

Home is where the heart is!! Or at least, home is where the Gin is!  From my hometown of Alameda, Ca, the St. George 3-Gin Sampler was by far my favorite of the year. Botanivore, Dry  Rye and Terroir; all three are perfect aromatic and botanical representations of the Oakland Hills/Bay Area.  Although the Sampler may have been sold only for Christmas stockings, our shops still have a selection of St. George Gin and several of their other spirits, including Absinthe, Bourbon and a Single Malt.  You will NOT be disappointed in anything by St. George Distillery!

Katie Schmalz:

2011 Umathum Rosa, Burgenland, Austria. Pepi Umathum describes his wines as “food for the soul” and calls them “liquid folk-tales.” The Umathum Rosa, a blend of Blaufrankisch, Zweigelt and St. Laurent, fits perfectly into that middle ground between Italian and French Roses. It matches France’s finesse and minerality and Italy’s best for depth and complexity of fruit and spice. All the while it retains the floral aromas that are so distinctly Austrian. There’s an elegance, a delicate brambly spice, a snappy freshness that makes this Rosa a joy to drink on its own, but still pairs with almost anything from grilled steak to salade nicoise.

So there’s a peek. More favorites from last year to come!

Celebrating National Boss’ Day, Lush style

Sunday, October 16th, 2011


Mitch’s picks
You know him. You can’t miss him. Big n’ burly, bearded, ponytailed, and larger-than-life, the captain of this crazy Lush ship is the magical Mitch Einhorn, and this Sunday is devoted to wines that he chose himself. His palate is as big as his personality; expect lots of crazy California Rhone blends, but also weird, super intense Austrian powerhouses, and maybe some northwest loving throw in there, too. Get inside the brain of our fearless leader by sipping on some of his favorites this Sunday. (more…)

Stillwater Artisanal Ales

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

LUSH West Town
1412 W. Chicago Avenue
Chicago, IL 60642

The original gypsy brewer, Brian Strumke, popped in to LUSH West Town for an impromptu tasting of his Stillwater Artisanal Ales.  Based in Baltimore, Maryland, this rockin’ beer dude makes beer all over the world.  He has paired up with 12% Imports, headed by Brian Ewing, to form a most dynamic duo.  Alas, no brewery.  But, no problem.  Following suit to Mikkeller ‘in’ Denmark, Stillwater beer is crafted on borrowed time with borrowed space in breweries far flung.  It is about good beer. And good relationships. And beer.

We tasted American. English. And Belgian style brewing.  Beautiful (and creepy) labels catch the eye. The rest happens in the bottle, in the glass, and with friends.  It is all about collaboration. So, join LUSH and Mister Strumke for an epic evening of beer…swing by to check it out. More special, whimsical, gypsy ales jumping onto the shelves soon.

jip-sē brü-ər
modus operandi:
‘A sincere artist is not one who makes a faithful attempt to put on to canvas what is in front of him, but one who tries to create something which is, in itself, a living thing.’ -Sir William Dobell

‘The goal of Stillwater Artisanal is just that, living art. Although packaged within a medium often overlooked for its artistic merits, our desire is to offer something new and intriguing. We present more than just a fine crafted beverage, rather an occasion that evokes an emotion and inspires contemplation. For art is not a sum of actions but rather an approach to life. We draw our inspiration from the world around us, whether that be a season, location, or even humanity itself. Our intent is to encapsulate this muse exhibiting an artistic rendition to the best of our abilities.’  –

Nature is the Spirit: A lesson in Biodynamic Viticulture from Ted Lemon of Littorai.

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

(Hi everyone. I’m Cara Patricia, the current Events Coordinator for LUSH and full time student of wine & beverage. I originally published this article on my personal blog,, which revolves around the strange world of Biodynamic viticulture.  Biodynamic is a step up from typical Organic and is quite confusing to most at first. I hope that the following article gives you a little more insight into what Biodynamic means and why we tend to be drawn to sustainable, earth-friendly, terroir driven wines in our search for deliciousness in winemaking at our LUSH stores. Some of wines I will talk about are available at LUSH. Cheers!)

What a great seminar we had at the Avenues in Chicago’s Peninsula Hotel!  Hosted by Maverick Wine Company, Ted Lemon, founder of Littorai in Sonoma,  held a very informative and excellent discussion about Biodynamic viticulture and winemaking. During which we also were able to sample eight of his wines using organic, sustainable, and full-on biodynamic procedures. (more…)

LUSH: Back to the Basics

Friday, February 11th, 2011

by Ms. Jessica Tessendorf

LUSH lingo leaving you a little bamboozled? Let’s get straight to the facts. An honest to
goodness list of everything your neighborhood LUSH can provide just for you.

1. FREE booze! If the lights are blinking, you’re drinking. 12-10, 7 days a week. Anything
we have opened is fair game.
2. FREE Scheduled tastings. 2-5 each and every Sunday afternoon. Check out the website
or call your local shop to see what the weekly theme is. Not a wine fan? 25% of our
scheduled tastings are either beer or spirits. We provide the topic, the booze, and some
tasting notes, you provide your face.
3. Personalized tastings. Pick a topic, or don’t. Have it blind, or not. Have some snacks
to pair, or drink your food. Set a date with Ms. Carrie ( at Roscoe Village, or Ms. Alicia ( at West Town & University Village, get
some friends together, and have a more tailored tasting event. (more…)

LUSH Staff Dinner 2011: Inovasi

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Chef John des Rosiers, INOVASI

LUSH Staff Dinner

Wednedsay, January 12th, 2011

Chef was gracious enough to personally cook a 20 course tasting menu, served family style, as well as allow us the very amazing opportunity to share our cellar.  With 20 wine nerds and a few Twisted friends, we were absolutely a force to be reckoned with. Although, I think our chaos was mainly contained and all in good fun.  The menu is listed below. Any mistakes are on me, and Chef, my apologies should I misrepresent any courses. I was writing furiously as you so diligently and eloquently punctuated each dish presentation.  Chef also accommodated a gluten free request. What a  marathon. (more…)

Guessing Game

Monday, January 17th, 2011

We are going to play a little guessing game here today.  Guess what beer I can’t wait to drink the shit out of?  Have you guessed it yet? Probably not because we don’t even have any quite yet.  It’s the Cisco Brewers ‘The Woods’ Cherry Woods which is an ale aged in oak with whole sour cherries and some of those delicious proprietary bugs to give it that slightly sour taste.  This little microbrewery out of Nantucket is amazing, at least from what I can tell from sampling a few of their beers.  I am really excited to get this stuff in and you should be too!


LUSH 5th Anniversary Party, by invite

Friday, January 14th, 2011

RSVP required. Registration now closed. Each guest will need to check-in and provide valid state ID to attend.

LUSH University Village, 1257 S. Halsted Street

Friday, January 14th, 2011


Please join us for a wild & indulgent celebration at LUSH University Village, 1257 S. Halsted.  5 years, damn straight. Slinging wine, educating, and cultivating a love of the beverage lifestyle.  My how the time flew by.  Look how far we’ve come…and how many bottles we drank.  Thank you for the support and good times! This party is for our amazing clients and friends.

We are itching for a party, and would love to kick it with you.  We are inviting our wino friends to provide a delicious collection of wine, as well as a couple beer geeks to get the beer tapped. Snack Master Kelly is crafting a tasty, snacky party menu. We’ll be breaking out the fire pits on the patio, to keep us warm while we saber a few bottles. RSVP required,

[Please note that Ms. Rachel will bounce if necessary. This is NOT a party for all of Chicago. This was a party with an INVITATION to a list of clients. Do not just show up and expect free food and drink.  Do not bring 8 friends for a free party. We are not a bar.  If you break something, you best expect the wrath and a bill. I am watching you. Help keep it FUN!]

I heart Snacks #1

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

by Snack Master Kelly Cosgrove

Snack Blog 1:

Well, it’s been an exciting few weeks getting the snack side of LUSH open.  From hours and hours of tasting cheeses (harder than it sounds!), meats, olives and anything you can think of, we’ve created a fun menu that I like to say is changing by the minute!  We have broken down our menu in to a few different sections: snacks, fermented milk products (aka cheese), cured pig parts, pasta and sandwiches.  One of our customers recently asked what the best item on the menu asked, and honestly, I don’t really know if I can answer that. Maybe it’s because everything’s so new, but I really and truly love it all!  I mean, how can you not love duckfat popcorn? Or thin slices of Prosciutto di San Danielle or Jamon di Serrano?  Or the fancy version of grilled ham and cheese using the delicious Colonel Newsom’s Preacher Ham?  Oh my goodness, I had better be visiting my gym often or I will have no clothes that fit!

Be sure to stop by often, there will new additions as the seasons change and most likely a “snack of the day” offering which will be super fun and exciting!