We'll remember 2015 as the year we got so many fantastic cocktail bars. Between tiki at Lost Lake and inventive concoctions at GreenRiver, this was an amazing year for cocktail lovers. But beer drinkers weren't left out—we drank through lots of great local session beers and spotted Moody Tongue pretty much every time we left the house. And it wasn't just bars in Chicago wowing us with drinks—we found a special coffee drink at our favorite torta place and creative housemade sodas. Cheers to another great year for Chicago drinks!
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The names of possible drinks are printed on tarot cards at Liz Pearce’s underground speakeasy, and each day, she draws the evening’s offering. Keep your fingers crossed for the Red Rum, a lively vegetal rum drink, made with fresh bell pepper, egg white and port. $12.
One sip of this beautifully balanced bacanora cocktail, with Citra hops, persimmon, lime and burnt sugar bitters, and any anxieties will see themselves out. $11.
You can’t beat an early morning torta, unless you also grab cafe de olla, rich coffee spiced with cinnamon, star anise and orange zest that’s served iced in the summer and hot in winter. $4.
Once friends are offered a taste of this complex balance of Scotch, funky sherry, absinthe, coconut and lemon, they won’t give it back. $12.
The recipe sounds heavy: It’s Scotch, vanilla, allspice and Angostura bitters. But the end product is amazingly light and easy to drink. $8.
So much better than a Shamrock Shake, this minty drink is spiked with Death’s Door Wondermint. Small $8, large $11.
Combining beer and bitters, purls have been made for hundreds of years in England. Analogue’s bracing but refreshing version comes laced with pineapple, rhubarb and hibiscus. $7.
Same Day Cafe holds its own on a block that includes Longman & Eagle and Reno, thanks in part to the house-made sodas, like this snappy, bright red cherry version. $3.
Not yet on board the sherry revolution? Broken Shaker’s sherry cobbler is a game changer. A trio of funky sherries and rum team up with a rotating fruit shrub and acid phosphates for an easy-to-drink draft cocktail. $13.
This summer, we kept reaching for 3 Floyds’ session beer, Yum Yum, which delivers an explosion of tropical hops and fresh fruit on the nose. Prices vary.