Restaurant Cocktails Worth Ordering

The Feast · Guide to Chicago · created over 6 years ago

Some restaurants put as much care into what's in your glass as what's on your plate. From farm-fresh ingredients to creative twists on old classics, these cocktail programs beg you to skip the wine list.

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  • Smokey Violet Smash at Maude's Liquor Bar in Chicago, IL

    With a menu of "smashes" that date back to the 19th century, Maude's mixes old school with new techniques to create cocktails that you want to pay attention to. Try the updated take on a sazerac or smokey violet smash.

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    Dark & Stormy at GT Fish & Oyster in Chicago, IL

    The seafood experience isn't quite complete without a shoreline-inspired cocktail, like the expertly-mixed Dark & Stormy. If you're lingering after dinner, grab a seat at the boomerang-shaped bar.

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    Nordic Nectar Cocktail at Prairie Fire in Chicago, IL

    Chef Sarah Stegner is used to growing her own ingredients for use on the dinner menu, but the herbs and fruits that she grows in her backyard garden also find their way into seasonal cocktails at the bar, such as the Nordic Nectar Cocktail with pineapple-infused Fris vodka.

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    Pimm's Cup at Gilt Bar in Chicago, IL

    This swanky hangout for the "see and be seen" crowd is usually home to a packed bar, thanks to a wide selection of spirits and cocktails. The Pimm's Cup is not to be missed, made with Pimm’s No.1, ginger beer, lemon, cucumber, orange, and mint.

  • Manhattan at Nightwood in Chicago, IL

    Small batch spirits combine with seasonal ingredients to produce apperitifs, punches, and cocktails. Drinks are set off by house-made bitters and syrups. Try a classic house Manhattan made with Buffalo Trace bourbon, Carpano Antica vermouth, brandied cherries and house bitters.

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    Drunken Angel at Sable Kitchen & Bar in Chicago, IL

    Whether you're just stopping in for small plates in the lounge area or sitting for a full dinner, don't let anything stop you from perusing the book-length cocktail menu. Overwhelmed? Head bartender Mike Ryan is happy to dish out suggestions, history lessons, and demos of proper shaking technique. Our pick: the Drunken Angel made with Yamazaki 12 year, Punt e Mes, Mathilde Pear, fresh orange juice, and Regan’s orange bitters.

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    Old Fashioned No. 24 at The Gage in Chicago, IL

    A penchant for whiskey and a focus on seasonality leads to some unique special cocktails at The Gage. Ask the servers what's new that day, or steer towards the Old Fashioned No. 24.

  • Smoking Jacket at Boka in Chicago, IL

    Head mixologist Benjamin Schiller mans the creative cocktail program at BOKA, with a focus on seasonal and house-made ingredients such as the Smoking Jacket with white oak smoked Evan Williams bourbon, house grenadine, and lime. Feeling lucky? Order a "dealer's choice" and allow Schiller to create a custom cocktail for you.

  • Absinthe Sour at Sepia in Chicago, IL

    Certain elements tie Sepia's cocktail menu together, such as heavy use of bitters, egg whites and bitters in an unexpected absinthe cocktail.

  • Blackbird Orange at Blackbird Restaurant in Chicago, IL

    Renowned mixologist Lynn House presides over the minimalist bar, creating the seasonal and whimsically-named cocktails that pair with David Posey's market-driven cuisine. Try the house drink Blackbird Orange made with Koval rye, spiced honey, orange juice, and Fee Brothers aromatic bitters.