You’ve probably noticed expanded cocktail menus at your favorite restaurants lately, as those old standbys are riding a wave of nostalgic popularity. But these aren’t your parents’ cocktails. Today’s drinks are sophisticated, unique, and—best of all—tasty. The CIBP crew recently took on the tough task of hunting down the signature cocktails offered at some of the fabulous Peoria Heights restaurants. We decided to go straight to the source: bartenders.

Stoli Doli
Jim's Bistro
The Stoli Doli has been a staple on the Jim’s Bistro bar menu for a couple of years, though it’s only offered in the spring and summer months. In addition to the Stoli Doli, our bartender, Carrie, said the most-requested cocktails are Cosmopolitans and Martinis of all kinds, Gibsons, Old Fashioneds, and Manhattans.

In a large decanter with a pour spout, pineapple slices are soaked in four bottles of Stoli vodka for three to four days. When the flavors have mingled, the cocktail is served in a sugar-rimmed Martini glass with a pineapple chunk.

Chocolate Martini
Seven on Prospect
Carol, our bartender at Seven, said she experimented with many different versions of the Chocolate Martini until she found the best mixture. Her customers agreed. She said cocktail sales make up 85 percent of the bar sales, with Cosmos and Chocolate Martinis—among others in the family—and vodka tonics being most popular with her patrons.

Two parts vanilla vodka are added to one part each Baileys and Just Desserts Chocolate Chip Cookie liqueur. The Martini is served with chocolate syrup and a Hershey’s Kiss in the bottom of the glass.

 
 
 

French Toast Martini
French Toast
When French Toast opened, they wanted their own Martini—something French—so our bartender, Sam, created the French Toast Martini about five years ago, shortly after the restaurant opened. In addition to the namesake Martini, he said Cosmos, the Midnight at French Toast Martini (another drink unique to the restaurant), Manhattans—anything you put in a Martini glass—are top sellers.

Cognac, Grand Marnier, fresh orange juice, and lemon juice are chilled, shaken, and strained into a Martini glass.

 
 
 

Strawberries & Champagne Martini
Basta's

In creating this Martini, our bartender, Shane, said Basta’s went with flavors that are popular—and came up with a drink that really does taste like strawberries and champagne. The ever-popular Martini is a big seller at Basta’s as well, and Shane said it’s no wonder. “Ask any distributor, and they’ll tell you there’s been an 80 percent increase in sales of vodka and flavored vodka over the past few years.”

Strawberry vodka and Chambourd are shaken and poured into a glass, and Champagne is poured on top to serve. a&s