Ēma found a way to put breakfast into a cocktail.

Ēma found a way to put breakfast into a cocktail.

ChicagoMag.com |
May 26, 2017

Ēma's Balm Dot Com

There’s breakfast, and there are cocktails. And then there’s breakfast in a cocktail, which sums up what’s happening with the balm.com ($12), on the menu at Ēma (74 W. Illinois St., River North).

“The inspiration for this drink is basically breakfast,” says Julian Cox, beverage director at Lettuce Entertain You, which operates Ēma. It started when he challenged himself to play with Chef C.J. Jacobson’s house-made yogurt, which appears alongside granola on the restaurant’s newly launched brunch menu as well as frozen on the dessert menu.

It was a tough one, Cox says, but he succeeded by keeping it light and refreshing rather than heavy and sweet like other dairy-based drinks. Cox mixes 1 teaspoon of the yogurt, which brings a dose of acidity, with blueberries, coconut water, and a dash of barrel-aged bitters to cancel out some of the sweetness. Next up: Hank’s vodka and a cachaça called Avuá. “It gives you sort of spicy, almost baking spice notes,” Cox says—the granola element.

Yogurt is a fairly rare cocktail ingredient; in fact, Pub Royale’s frozen mango lassi was the only other local concoction that came close. Yogurt is a tricky mixer, since it naturally wants to separate from the rest of the drink. That won’t happen with the balm.com—unless you’re really nursing it, Cox says. Ēma’s bartenders emulsify the mixture, vigorously shaking the ingredients before ice is added, to keep it from separating.

The light pink drink is then poured into a glass lined with fresh lemon balm—hence the name—and crushed ice. It’s finished with a few more sprigs of lemon balm and a sprinkle of berbere spice, which is commonly found in Ethiopian food and adds unexpected spiciness to the first sips.

That last addition nudges the drink away from tasting too much like a parfait, so even breakfast haters won’t object.

Media Contact

Emily Clark pr@leye.com 773-878-7340

You May Also Like...

How To
All the Ways to Rosé this Summer
Jun 22, 2018

Let’s face it, rosé is welcome all day, every day. We’re here to help you navigate your way…

read more >
In The Restaurants
The Best Time of the Year: Patio Season
Jun 20, 2018

Warm weather is here, which means al fresco dining is too! We've rounded up the best patios at…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Unconventional Wine Regions of the World
May 24, 2018

Everyone loves a great Napa Cab or Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, but lately, our LEYE Wine…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Here’s Where to Brunch this Weekend
May 18, 2018

If you're anything like us, you plan your weekend around brunch. Here is your guide to all of our…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Where to Eat Lunch
May 11, 2018

For that one hour escape from your office, you want to make sure to make most of your lunch hour.…

read more >
In The Restaurants
In Season: Spring Peas
Apr 24, 2018

Spring has sprung and with the change in the season, our chefs have beautiful green veggies on their…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Here’s Where to Happy Hour
Apr 21, 2018

It's 5 o'clock somewhere! Here are all the happy hour deals at select Lettuce Entertain You…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Spring into the season with these dishes
Apr 2, 2018

The temperatures are rising and tulips are being planted, which could only mean one thing: spring is…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Dishes and Drinks with the Color of the Year: Ultra Violet
Mar 30, 2018

Every year, Pantone, the creator of colors, announces their choice in what the Color of the Year is…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Easter 2018
Mar 28, 2018

Celebrate the end of Lent and bring the whole family in for Easter. Whether you're looking for…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Kid-Friendly Dining Options and Activities
Mar 15, 2018

You've been to the zoo, the beach, the pool... the kids are starting to get stir crazy. We've got…

read more >
In The Restaurants
This One’s For Our Indecisive Diners
Feb 26, 2018

For all of you indecisive order-ers out there - the "I want to order one of everything on the menu"…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Presidents Day 2018
Feb 8, 2018

Enjoy your long weekend on Presidents Day (Monday, February 19) by staying up late, sleeping in and…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Where to go on Valentine’s Day 2018
Feb 4, 2018

Have you made your Valentine's Day plans yet? It's right around the corner and there's lots of…

read more >
How To
How To Make the Perfect Game Day Dip
Jan 22, 2018

A staple for your Big Game Sunday spread is a delicious dip! In case you need some inspiration, we…

read more >
How To
Already Fell Off the Healthy New Year’s Resolution Wagon? Let’s Eat.
Jan 12, 2018

"New Year, Same Me" more your speed? Well, we're right there with you. Celebrate one of our favorite…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Where to Eat: Martin Luther King Day 2018
Jan 6, 2018

A long weekend calls for long brunches filled with sweet and savory treats. And don't forget about…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Our Chef’s Predictions and Resolutions for 2018
Jan 2, 2018

Our chefs aren't psychic but they do have a finger on the pulse of what's on the horizon for the New…

read more >
In The Restaurants
These Ingredients are Unexpected Perfect Pairs
Jan 1, 2018

With the New Year comes new menus, and just because it's cold outside doesn't mean that there is a…

read more >
How To
A Guide to Selecting the Perfect Thanksgiving Wines
Nov 7, 2017

Fact: wine stores are intimidating. More truth: we're here to help! We've tapped the minds of our…

read more >
How To
How to Host Friendsgiving
Nov 1, 2017

Friendsgiving (n): the turkey-centric festive feast held by your chosen family - your friends - to…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Fall Harvest’s Best Dishes
Oct 30, 2017

The bounty of fall harvest comes at a time in the year when we are craving the comfort of cool…

read more >
How To
Recipe: Ema’s Pumpkin Hummus
Oct 30, 2017

Enjoy your favorite fall ingredient the Mediterranean way and make Ema's Pumpkin Hummus by Chef CJ…

read more >
In The Restaurants
All Pumpkin, Everything
Oct 22, 2017

'Tis the season for everyone's favorite fall ingredient, pumpkin. Whether you're preparing pumpkin…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Where to Eat & Drink in October
Oct 2, 2017

Throughout the month of October, Lettuce Entertain You restaurants are donating a portion of…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Your Perfect Fried Chicken Sandwich is Served
Aug 8, 2017

You can roast ‘em, you can bake ‘em, and you can grill ‘em, but nothing tantalizes the taste…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Now Serving: Brunch at Ēma
Jun 21, 2017

Your weekend plans have been decided for you thanks to Chef CJ Jacobson. Ēma in River North is…

read more >
In The Restaurants
In Bloom: Strawberries
May 21, 2017

Summer is on the horizon, which means strawberries season is back to brighten our palates! From…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Mezze Madness
Mar 14, 2017

March is all about epic matchups; be it on the NCAA basketball court or tableside at Ema. In the…

read more >
In The Restaurants
‘Tis the Season: Cozy Cocktails
Dec 16, 2016

Like it or not, winter is upon us. It’s getting quite chilly, the darkness approaches sooner than…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Halloween Candy-inspired Desserts
Oct 1, 2016

Pumpkins are being carved, costumes are being purchased, parties are being planned, and the best…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Lettuce Date Night
Aug 15, 2016

 

read more >
Openings
Welcome to Ema
Jun 30, 2016

This Mediterranean restaurant showcases Chef CJ Jacobson’s lighter California-style of cooking is…

read more >

Recent Posts

How To
All the Ways to Rosé this Summer
Jun 22, 2018

Let’s face it, rosé is welcome all day, every day. We’re here to help you navigate your way…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Lettuce Entertain You to Kick Off Strawless Initiative, Fall 2018
Jun 22, 2018

We are so excited to announce that beginning this fall all Lettuce Entertain You restaurants will…

read more >
In The Restaurants
4th of July 2018
Jun 21, 2018

It's that time of year to don your red, white and blue, fire up the grill and, of course, celebrate…

read more >
In The Restaurants
The Best Time of the Year: Patio Season
Jun 20, 2018

Warm weather is here, which means al fresco dining is too! We've rounded up the best patios at…

read more >
How To
Re-Create Saranello’s Spinach & Ricotta Gnocchi at Home
Jun 20, 2018

We know that everyone's schedule is busy between work, getting to the grocery store, soccer games…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Las Vegas Restaurant Week
Jun 19, 2018

Las Vegas Restaurant Week (June 18-29) has begun! With multicourse lunch and dinner specials running…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Tallboy Taco’s Boozy Rainbow Paleta Benefits the Center on Halsted
Jun 18, 2018

To celebrate Chicago Pride, Tallboy Taco is serving a limited-edition Rainbow Paleta available June…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Oh Marie, Take Us To Summer
Jun 14, 2018

Summer is in full swing and there's a newfound spring in Marie's step with il Porcellino's warm…

read more >
In The Restaurants
After 20 Years, Here’s 20 Things to Know About Mon Ami Gabi
Jun 14, 2018

Since 1998, Mon Ami Gabi has been serving up French classics like our signature Onion Soup Au…

read more >
In The Restaurants
Rich Says You’ve Gotta Try: Stella Barra Pizzeria
Jun 13, 2018

Summer time is typically synonymous with (trying to) eat lighter but what if we told you that what…

read more >
How To
Here’s How Bub City Celebrates the Best of American BBQ
Jun 11, 2018

Let’s stop for a moment and really think about… BBQ. Burning embers, fragrant smoke, saucey…

read more >
In The Restaurants
What’s New at Booth One: Breakfast, Brunch and a Bar Menu
Jun 7, 2018

We've got three things to add to your summer to do list! Booth One has rolled out a new weekday…

read more >
Lettuce Consulting Group

Grow Your Business

Learn More
Career Opportunities

Join Our Team

Search Jobs
Latest Articles

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Sign Up Now

Lettuce on Instagram

Checkout our feed @lettuceentertainyou!