If you didn’t know craft cocktails are served at Blue Max — Oak Park-River Forest’s favorite coffee shop in Forest Park – you’re not alone.
You don’t expect a coffee shop to be serving alcohol at all, and although beer has been on the menu, this small homey place is now serving cocktails, many in pint glasses with lots of ice, very suitable for après-workout refreshment.
“These are more like girly drinks,” said barista Camali Fisher, who mixed several tall and fruity drinks for me. These are low-alcohol (about a shot per pint of liquid), and they look great, so I see her point about these drinks appealing maybe a little more to the ladies.
The consultant on these beverages is Chicago-based master mixologist Adam Seger, whose signature liquor, Hum, is featured in many of the craft cocktails offered at Blue Max. Hum is a rum-based mixer that Seger has infused with ingredients like hibiscus, ginger and cardamom. The rum is sourced from North Shore Distillery, so despite the exotic ingredients, it’s a “local” beverage.
I had a sip (or two) from several cocktails:
* Babalu, with fresh lime juice, club soda, raspberry syrup and Hum, very refreshing.
* Serena Tea, a white jasmine-peach tea with lemonade and Hum, which seems like it’d be great for cooling off after a workout.
* SegerSway, an coffee drink with coconut syrup, club soda and Hum, topped with whipped cream and caramel.
The SegerSway was my favorite, and though I’m not a big fan of whipped cream on coffee, I thought the richness of the cream went a long way toward mellowing out the drink, which comes on strong with coffee and the ginger and cardamom notes of the Hum. SegerSway is a very complex drink and although it might be hard to pair with food (because there’s so much going on in it), it’s a highly satisfying creation that seems to bridge the world of the coffee house and the world of the craft beverage tavern…which is exactly what Blue Max is doing.