Get us in your inbox

Search
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

The 100 best dishes in Chicago 2017: Drinks

These cocktails, brews and lattes are excellent until the very last drop

Morgan Olsen
Written by
Morgan Olsen
&
Elizabeth Atkinson
Advertising

When we're not eating our way through town, we're on a liquid diet of exquisite cocktails, local suds and soul-warming coffee drinks. Baristas and bartenders kept our glasses full from winter to summer, but these were the best sips in the bunch.

RECOMMENDED: The 100 best dishes and drinks in Chicago

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Lower West Side
  • price 1 of 4

Margaritas are a must at this Pilsen mainstay, and since you’re having more than one, add the La Cazuela to your checklist. Smooth reposado is brightened up with lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit juices, habanero syrup, Squirt and pequin pepper. The best part? It never seems to end. $9.

Advertising
Advertising
Hibiscus Nectar Mead at Wild Blossom Meadery
  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Washington Heights
  • price 2 of 4

Most of the meads at this Beverly bar lean sweet—so much so that you might classify them as postdinner treats. Before you write it off, try the Hibiscus Nectar, a delicately floral, honey-tinged masterpiece that’s just as good solo as it is mixed into a cocktail. $2–$7.

  • Restaurants
  • Cafés
  • Humboldt Park
  • price 1 of 4

Thai tea gets the soda-shop treatment at this darling Humboldt Park diner. This Creamsicle-colored sipper is a blend of carbonated water, milk and Thai-tea–flavored syrup, resulting in a lighter, more effervescent version of the Southeast Asian treat. $4.

Advertising
  • Restaurants
  • Argentinian
  • Loop

In 2017 we started ordering low-ABV cocktails to keep the party going even longer, and this was the drink that kept us hanging out in the Loop hours after the workday ended. House-made cherry cola is spiked with Jelinek fernet to create a super sweet yet incredibly balanced concoction that we could sip all day. $10.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • River North

Cocktail expert Freddie Sarkis (Sable Kitchen, Broken Shaker) remixed this hotel bar’s menu earlier this year, injecting it with fun, interactive elements. We can’t get enough of the large-format Bear Champ, a soothing blend of bourbon, honey, lemon, earl grey tea, grapefruit and nutmeg is packaged inside a squeezable honey bear and served alongside glasses with wooden dippers. $24–$55.

Advertising
Advertising
  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Loop
  • price 2 of 4

When summer rolls around, this underrated hotel rooftop is an idyllic spot to sit and watch the night slip away. You’ll want a subtle, floral-soaked cocktail in hand for the occasion. Orchid- and cucumber-infused vodka is blended with lemon, strawberry syrup, egg white and Angostura bitters to create a mellow sipper that’s wildly refreshing. $15.

  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • Lower West Side
  • price 2 of 4

It’s not every day (or even every year) that we find an IPA that gives established local breweries a run for their money, but here it is. This Pilsen newcomer is producing a juicy and bright brew that’s wildly drinkable. We only wish we could get it at the corner store. $7.

Advertising
  • Bars
  • West Loop

This new West Loop watering hole pays homage to Frank Lloyd Wright and all things Midwestern, and you mustn’t leave without trying this graceful cocktail. A cheerful blend of vodka, sparkling wine and lemon juice is poured over shaved ice; it’s a boozy replica of the beloved Italian ice at Johnnie’s Beef in Elmwood Park. $15.

Advertising
  • Bars
  • Hotel bars
  • River North
  • price 3 of 4

This tall, mysterious cocktail is filled with rum, cognac, ginger and absinthe, resulting in a strong and potent tiki-like taste. Be careful—this subtle, balanced sipper will sneak up on you fast. $14. No longer available.

Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising