Listen to his Noodlecat co-workers rave about his work and you might think bar manager Dean Sauer is some kinda genius. Taste a couple of his cocktails, and you'll suspect they are right. Libations like the Collins Cloud ($10), Long Thailand Ice Tea ($10), and especially the signature Seasonal Chuhai ($8) are like nothing else in town, infused with a heady blend of seasonal ingredients and Asian style befitting a modern Japanese noodle house. "I've always had a fascination with that culture," says the mixologist. "All these drinks have a Japanese influence: either in the actual ingredients or in the meticulous preparation." By "meticulous," Sauer is referring to things like blending his own fresh fruit purees, carbonating his own juices, and turning egg whites into frothy foam via nitrous oxide, as in the artfully layered Collins. Our fave, though, is the clean, bracing Chuhai, made with the low-alcohol Japanese spirit Ty Ku and goosed with a squirt of flavored Japanese vinegar. When we visited, the seasonal twist was watermelon; look for a pumpkin version to debut this fall. Noodlecat is at 234 Euclid Ave. Call 216-589-0007 or visit noodlecat.com to learn more. — Elaine T. Cicora
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