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Three Dots and a Dash's Julian Cox shares details on the new menu

Written by
Elizabeth Atkinson
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It's been a while since we've seen big changes on the Three Dots and a Dash menu, but L.A. import Julian Cox is up to the challenge. Nothing you currently know on the menu will be the same starting tonight—but you'll still see some old favorites (the Three Dots and a Dash and the Mai Tai, to name two), just dressed up a little differently.

"It's a new day, there's new things that we're trying—everything evolves," Cox said. "It's about time to do some changes."

Photo: Jeff Marini

The menu is one of those sweeping changes. Although we don't have exact details on what it'll be like, it's safe to say it won't look like anything we're familiar with at Three Dots up until this point. There are 18 new cocktails or formulations of cocktails—and Cox has looked at each to see what's great and what needs to be changed.

Photo: Jeff Marini

Cox is taking an "honor tiki, but what's next?" approach to the new menu, adding fun techniques like using liquid nitrogen in cocktails. Gastronomic techniques are familiar to the Chicago bar scene (the Aviary, anyone?), but in River North, it's a change from what the regulars are used to, and Cox is taking heart. "I've spent a lot of time in River North—I'm not gonna make the same cocktails I'd make in Logan Square or West Loop," he said. "I'm trying to make cocktails that would appeal to people who both know and don't know cocktails."

Photo: Jeff Marini

Newcomers shouldn't be worried—you won't see words like "clarified" or "evaporated" on the menu. Cox says they'll bring interest through big flavors and technique instead of worrying what the menu says. But, you know, since we had him on the phone, we had to ask about some of these cocktails—and we're going to use the word "clarified." 

Photo: Jeff Marini

Based on the drink Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio) drinks in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, the Polynesian Pearl Diver takes the classic Pearl Diver concept and adds a twist with clarified butter syrup, Scotch whisky and baking spices. There's also the "obligatory whiskey drink," in Cox's words—the Western Sour, based on Trader Vic's Eastern Sour, with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, grapefruit and lime juices, and a house falernum with almonds, clove, ginger and "a whole lotta lime zest."

Three Dots and a Dash's new menu is available beginning tonight.

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