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Nikka Nori Old Fashioned at Arami
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas Nikka Nori Old Fashioned at Arami

The 100 best dishes in Chicago 2015: drinks

Toast to a great year for imbibing in Chicago with the 19 best cocktails, beers, coffee and sodas of 2015

By Amy Cavanaugh

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!

RECOMMENDED: The 100 best dishes and drinks in Chicago

Red Rum
Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki

Red Rum at the Drifter

Bars Lounges River North

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.

Anxiety’s Door
Photograph: Nick Murway

Anxiety's Door at Billy Sunday

Bars Cocktail bars Logan Square

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.

Cafe de Olla
Photograph: Courtesy Xoco

Cafe de Olla at Xoco

Restaurants Mexican River North

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.

Standing Stone
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Standing Stone at The Whistler

Bars Cocktail bars Logan Square

The recipe sounds heavy: It’s Scotch, vanilla, allspice and Angostura bitters. But the end product is amazingly light and easy to drink. $8. 

Pineapple purl
Photograph: Nick Murway

Purl No. 5 at Analogue

Bars Cocktail bars Logan Square

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.

Sherry cobbler
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Sherry Cobbler at Broken Shaker

Bars Cocktail bars River North

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.

Photograph: Martha Williams

Yum Yum from 3 Floyds Brewing Co.

Bars Breweries

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.

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