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Photograph: Courtesy Sable Kitchen & Bar

The 5 best non-classic martinis in Chicago

Like your martini with a bit of fruit or would you rather have a Cosmopolitan? Here’s our list of non-classic martinis.

Written by
Elizabeth Atkinson

Some people just don’t love the mix of gin with vermouth (but if you do, we made a best martinis list for you, too). If you’re looking for something a little different, whether you want to stay close to the classic or get as far away as possible, we found some great non-classic martinis at spots that include one of the city’s best gay bars, plus fantastic cocktail bars.

RECOMMENDED: Our guide to cocktails in Chicago

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

We wouldn't normally be motivated to grab a drink when someone says it's inspired by the smell of subways, but this one's interesting. Kind of a cloudy blue from violet liqueur, blue curacao and charcoal, this cocktail is mixed into a syrup with iron. It's slightly metallic, mixed with sauvignon blanc, giving it a highly mineral taste that doesn't make us cringe when we think of our sometimes smelly CTA cars. $15.

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • North Center
  • price 2 of 4

If you're not looking to stray too far from the original, try the Glass Slipper at Tiny Lounge. It's still got gin and vermouth but adds elderflower liqueur and grapefruit bitters over ice to make for a different experience. It's still boozy but not overpowering. As the ice melts, this drink gets more floral—it's easy to drink. Or is that the liquor talking? Either way, it's a great alternative to the traditional martini. $12.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Lake View
  • price 2 of 4

Kit Kat Lounge has more than 200 cocktails, many of them martinis, but we knew the Britney Bitch would be a favorite the second we saw the name. This one is sweet at first, but not cloying—it's citrusy and reminds us of being on the beach. Filled with Cruzan Citrus Rum, elderflower liqueur, lemon and orange and topped with a bit of champagne, this one's perfect for your night at Kit Kat. $12.50.

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Andersonville
  • price 3 of 4

You really tried to convince your friends you wanted a margarita tonight, but no dice. You're at a martini bar. Get closer to that lime-y sipper with a gimlet with lime and gin. It's Betty Draper's (Mad Men) drink, and this one packs enough of a lime punch to make it easy to sip. And no matter, after you've had a few, you'll forget you wanted a margarita in the first place. 6oz, $9.

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