Nick Kokonas is an award winning bartender who lives and works in Chicago, IL. Over the course of his career he has played an integral role behind some of the most prestigious bars in the city; from the formerly Michelin-starred gastropub Longman & Eagle to working on the opening bar team at Danny Meyer/The Dead Rabbit collaboration Green River. He has participated in a number of the most prominent international cocktail competitions, finding success in Diageo World Class, Bombay Sapphire’s Most Imaginative Bartender, and Bacardi Legacy, to name a few.
In June of 2016, Nicolas became the opening beverage director for The Heritage, a restaurant just outside Chicago's city limits. While developing the menu he created a weekly rotating cocktail simply titled “Something & Tonic”, an ever-changing drink with a foundation of tonic water, tonic syrup, or liqueur bittered with cinchona.
The challenge of using tonic in innovative ways provoked his interest into tonic’s origins and its growing presence in modern day drinking culture. After the restaurant’s opening Nicolas’ cocktails began garnering attention. In the Chicago Tribune the “Something & Tonic” was given special mention in veteran food writer Phil Vettel’s favorable two star review of the restaurant where he writes:
"Kokonas offers a tidy list of five or six cocktails, of which the most interesting is the Something and Tonic, which changes week to week. I don't know if Kokonas can sustain this for a year, but I've managed to have three versions of this drink, and so far, so good."
Moving on from The Heritage, Nick recently spent two years running a beverage program in Charleston, SC at the Southern food icon The Grocery. He has since returned to Chicago, and is working diligently to complete and publish Something & Tonic with your help