At Acadia, a Michelin-starred restaurant located in the South Loop of Chicago, Chef Ryan McCaskey and team have created an elegant, minimalist take on New American cuisine, backed up by a playful and eclectic wine & spirits program. Brunch is the latest addition to service at Acadia, and if you think coffee ought to fit right in with Acadia’s vision for a diverse set of beverage offerings, you’re absolutely right.  


Acadia’s answer to the brunch cocktail with a coffee focus is the American Corretto, a drink that fuses classic Italian-derived caffe corretto espresso & Sambuca tropes with Atholl Brose, a Scottish Highland grog concoction that includes honey, oatmeal, and whisky. Made by creating an infusion of whiskey, coffee (from local roasters Sparrow Coffee), and roasted barley, the American Corretto at Acadia is then combined with some simple syrup and topped with a bit of cream.


Barman Ian Pfeiffer of Acadia.

“It’s kind of all the things you need to fix whatever you did the night before,”says Ian Pfeffer of Acadia, who helped create the drink for the brunch menu. “I wanted to do something that wasn’t just a sparkling cocktail.” Mr. Pfeiffer elaborated for Sprudge on how the effects of the previous evening might impact one’s brunch ordering decisions: “If I come into brunch chances are I probably drank the night before. Like, what am I gonna need? I’m gonna need whiskey to round out the edges. I’m gonna need some caffeine. I’m gonna need a little bit of cream, something sweet, to make it a little more approachable.”

Here’s how to make Acadia’s signature American Corretto, a fusion of Italian and Scottish drinking traditions that feels right at home here in Chicago. The “corretto” part of this drink is more of a nod to fusing coffee & booze together than anything else; for more on how Americans are updated the corretto’s identity, check out these guys in Seattle.

How To Make The American Corretto

The Infusion

The first step of this drink requires some prep, in the form of an infusion.

1. Infuse 1 liter of rye whiskey with 1.5 cups of maple syrup, and 2 sticks of cinnamon.
2. Steep 1 cup roasted barley with the rye whiskey infusion and 2 cups of coffee from a freshly made French press.
3. The longer it sits the creamier the infusion gets.
4. Strain, label, date, and chill.

Once chilled (or not so chilled) you can begin the American Corretto.

1. In a cocktail shaker add: 4oz of the infusion, 3/4oz of simple syrup.
2. Add ice to shaker and give a good hearty shake until chilled and ingredients are aerated.
3. Strain into glass filled with ice.
4. Top with whole milk or cream as desired.
5. Enjoy.



Eric Perez is a Chicago-based writer and entrepreneur. This is his first feature for