Last Saturday, I was in Rockford, Illinois for a tasting event at a great little wine, spirits & beer store (the best one in Rockford, as far as I know). I have a friend who grew up in Rockford, and the last time I saw him, he mentioned that there was a new restaurant doing great cocktails in Rockford. This I had to see.
Low and behold, I found Social, which looks to be a great restaurant (the pork belly tacos were delicious). They have several people behind the bar who actually know a few things about cocktails, even! In talking with them, it turns out they took inspiration from a few places in Chicago in developing their approach to food and drink, and they are offering something completely different for Rockford.
Full disclosure - they do carry our absinthe behind the bar, which was my first beverage of the night. Then, I asked Greg and Jeff for whatever they felt like making. Greg made me what they call a JFK. Essentially, it was classic daiquiri (reportedly JFK's favorite drink). However, rather than serving it the traditional way, they actually chilled it with liquid nitrogen.
They shook the drink with ice quickly, strained it into the glass, and started adding in liquid nitrogen with a ladle. You can see from the pictures just how cold the ladle was, and when a drop of liquid nitrogen scattered across the bar, they warned me to steer well clear of it. It's so cold, it will freeze alcohol (and do some damage to you too).
The resulting drink has a smooth, icy texture, reminiscent of a well-blended frozen daiquiri, without all that extra dilution. It was fantastic on a hot day, and a real delight to try, especially in Rockford.
If you find yourself in the area, you must go there.