Everyone knows Chicago as “The Windy City.” It’s the place where you can find the best deep dish pizza, The Bean at Millennium Park, The Willis Tower, and Lollapalooza (a summer music festival that’s a must-go). But did you know that this city also has some pretty amazing cocktails?
Whether you want a girl’s night in the city or a drink after a long day of work, these cocktails are the perfect way to let loose and enjoy the moment. From the classic to more exotic, each cocktail is crafted with care and is truly a piece of art.
If you want sweet, fruity, tangy, or rich, Chicago has it all (another reason why it’s the best city). As a Chicagoan, I will definitely be hitting these up…once I turn 21. If you’re legal, consider yourself #blessed and take a trip to try these cocktails. If not for yourself, then for me, please.
1. Bunny’s Banana Daiquiri at Lost Lake
Inspired by Tiki culture, Lost Lake is far from tacky. Not only will you feel like you’re on a tropical island, but you will also be amazed by the craftsmanship (as you can see above). For the Bunny’s Banana Daiquiri, it consists of three different types of rum along with coconut and lime.
Seriously, I wish I could be tanning on the beach with one of these babies.
2. Juliet and Romeo at The Violet Hour
A little more formal, The Violet Hour doesn’t allow phone usage inside the lounge and requires you to wear proper attire. But these house rules are worth it. If you want something for a romantic evening that’s fresh and light, the Juliet and Romeo is for you. It’s gin-based with rose water, mint, lime, and cucumber.
3. Tatooine Sunset at The Whistler
Enjoy this Swedish mix of liquors while listening to the DJ at The Whistler, which is highly recommended. Perfect for a night out, the Tatooine Sunset will make you want to stand up and dance around. But get it while you can because The Whistler changes its cocktail menu daily.
4. Box Lunch at Billy Sunday
You’re probably thinking “Is this chocolate milk?” Close, but not quite. In fact, it’s goat milk mixed with herbal liquor and oatmeal spices. But don’t be too quick to judge because the Lunch Box is actually a favorite. Creamy like a milkshake, it makes for the perfect dessert cocktail.
And the bottle and straw combo give it a nice nostalgic feel.
5. Hot Buttered Rum at Scofflaw
Cocktails aren’t just for summer. This one is served hot and can turn any cold and rainy day into rays of sunshine. Buttery, rich and succulent, the Hot Buttered Rum Cocktail is a good remedy for when you’re feeling sick… or maybe not. But either way, you will enjoy it.
6. Smoke and Cure at Punch House
This drink may not cure a hangover, but the absinthe in it will make for a fun night. Smoke and Cure is fruity and fresh with a hint of alcohol…or three kinds. Although the drinks may be strong, Punch House offers a nice ambiance and comfortable atmosphere for its customers.
7. Elk’s Own at The Barrelhouse Flat
This may seem like a vodka drink, but it’s actually whiskey. Mixed with lemon, sugar, and orange bitters, Elk’s Own creates the perfect balance between sweet and sour. And do you know what that white stuff is on top? It’s egg whites. So get your protein while drinking at the same time.
8. Fever in the Morning at Analogue
This cocktail will make you feel hot hot hot. Roasted jalapeño tequila (yes, that exists), OJ, bitters, and a cayenne-salted orange peel… definitely not your usual cocktail ingredients. But it’s one worth trying. I know spicy isn’t for everyone, but this cocktail will give you a nice explosion of flavors in your mouth.
9. Octopus’ Garden at The Dawson
The Dawson has some cocktails named after Chicago’s skyline, but the Octopus’ Garden is something out of the ordinary. Named one of the strongest cocktails, this fruity punch will knock you off your feet (without you even expecting it).
After a couple of glasses, you’ll be thinking you have more than two arms… or maybe eight.
10. Backyard Gathering at Longman & Eagle
This cocktail is fresh, tangy and hot. Sounds interesting, right? With a whiskey base, Backyard Gathering contains rhubarb and lemon. But the catch is the rim of the glass: Bacon-jalapeno salt.
Yep, that’s right. Savory, salty and spicy, this cocktail is guaranteed to clear your sinuses with just one sip.
11. Pink Squirrel at Moneygun
Moneygun is an understated bar that serves the classics. As someone who gets overwhelmed by fancy names and obscure ingredients, it’s sometimes nice to see familiar drinks. But the Pink Squirrel is anything but familiar. In fact, it’s one that’s almost impossible to find anymore.
Ice-cream spiked with hazelnut and chocolate liquors, this cocktail makes for a great frosty drink.
12. Ginnie Cooper at Whiskey Business
While the bar serves copious amounts of whiskey (as the name suggests), it also makes some killer cocktails. The Ginnie Cooper is more tart than sweet, making it different from your typical fruity-girly drinks. And less sugar filled cocktails means a less likely chance of a hangover.
13. In the Rocks at The Aviary
The Aviary has the most unique cocktails and glassware, making their drinks look too beautiful to drink. Instead of on the rocks, this cocktail gives customers an interactive experience. Served with a sling that goes over the rim of the glass, you’re supposed to pull it up to break the ice, which releases the concoction inside.
14. Blazed and Infused at Sable Kitchen & Bar
Toasted marshmallows? I’m in. Served warm, this cocktail is better than hot chocolate in the winter. Aside from the gooey goodness on top, it contains rum, liquor, and honey. Simple, yet delicious. After drinking the Blazed and Infused, you might get dazed and confused.
15. Blood of the Kapu Tiki at Three Dots and a Dash
Similar to Lost Lake, Three Dots and a Dash is Tiki themed and has some extraordinary drinks. If you want a cocktail for the table and don’t mind everyone drinking out of straws, then get the Blood of the Kapu Tiki. It’s only $55 and serves four to five people…now that’s a good deal.