Cocktails in Chicago

Whether you love tiki drinks or spirited whiskey cocktails, our guide will help you find the best cocktails and more

Berkshire Room
Photo: Jason LittleBerkshire Room

Chicago has a fantastic bar scene, with great beer bars and wine bars, but it also has a cocktail scene that's worth the buzz. With classics, twists on old favorites and even more adventurous ideas, our best bartenders are perpetually coming up with great new cocktails. Whether you're looking for your next stop for a drink or want to try to make one yourself, we've got you covered with our guide to cocktails in Chicago.

Find the best cocktails in Chicago

The 5 best non-classic martinis in Chicago
Bars

The 5 best non-classic martinis in Chicago

If you don’t love the mix of gin with vermouth, this list is for you

The 7 best old-fashioneds in Chicago
Bars

The 7 best old-fashioneds in Chicago

Sometimes, you don't want to think too hard about your cocktail, sometimes, you just want an old-fashioned

The 10 best martinis in Chicago
Bars

The 10 best martinis in Chicago

Whether you like yours cold as ice or with a piney gin, we found our favorites at Chicago's best cocktail bars, steakhouses and seafood joints

The 9 best pisco sours in Chicago
Bars

The 9 best pisco sours in Chicago

The South American brandy has made its way onto cocktail lists for those who love a balanced cocktail with a citrus kick tempered with an egg white

The 11 best Bloody Marys in Chicago
Bars

The 11 best Bloody Marys in Chicago

Chicago kicks ass when it comes to Bloody Marys

The 7 best Irish coffees in Chicago
Bars

The 7 best Irish coffees in Chicago

Bloody Marys and mimosas not your thing in the morning? Get your morning buzz on with an Irish coffee

The 7 best daiquiris in Chicago
Bars

The 7 best daiquiris in Chicago

We need these rum-filled concotions to survive the winter and celebrate when the mercury rises

The 6 best Manhattans in Chicago
Bars

The 6 best Manhattans in Chicago

Chicago's bartenders whip up some of the best of this classic cocktail

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Cocktail recipes

How to make an espresso martini
Bars

How to make an espresso martini

According to booze legend, the first espresso martini was poured in London in 1983

How to make an old-fashioned
Bars

How to make an old-fashioned

Learn how to make one of the most simple, elemental creations in the tome of classic cocktails

How to make a martini
Bars

How to make a martini

We turned to Yael Vengroff, head bartender at the Spare Room in Los Angeles, for her take on a 50/50 martini that you can whip up at home

How to make a pisco sour
Bars

How to make a pisco sour

This South American cocktail has made its way to the US. It's made with the South American liquor pisco—a brandy made by distilling grape wine—citrus, a sweetener and an egg white.

How to make a Bloody Mary
Bars

How to make a Bloody Mary

Skip brunch and recreate the hangover-curing vodka sipper in your own home

How to make an Irish coffee
Bars

How to make an Irish coffee

Irish whiskey, coffee, a little cream and sugar—there's not much to an Irish coffee, but when you're holed up in a bar on a chilly evening, it can seem like the only drink worth having

How to make a daiquiri
Bars

How to make a daiquiri

Too often the daiquiri gets a bad rep for being overly sweet—but a great daiquiri is perfectly balanced, a bright mix of rum, citrus and cane syrup

How to make a Manhattan cocktail
Bars

How to make a Manhattan cocktail

With just three main ingredients, the classic Manhattan is a deceptively simple cocktail

The latest bar reviews

Ludlow Liquors
Bars

Ludlow Liquors

Enterprising barchitects Wade McElroy and Jeff Donahue (Sportsman’s Club, Estereo) took another shot at reviving the beloved Orbit Room space in Avondale—this time with much success.

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
Golden Teardrops
Bars

Golden Teardrops

I can’t stop playing “Golden Teardrops,” the haunting 1953 single by Chicago doo-wop group the Flamingos. 

Time Out says
4 out of 5 stars
The Moonlighter
Restaurants

The Moonlighter

The casual sibling sports bar to Scofflaw raises the—ahem—bar for the category with easy-drinking cocktails and craft brews to please serious drinkers.

Time Out says
2 out of 5 stars
Lo Rez Brewery & Taproom
Bars

Lo Rez Brewery & Taproom

Pilsen has collected its fair share of breweries over the last five years, with each newcomer offering a wildly different vibe. The folks behind Lo Rez Brewing have managed to re-create the simple pleasure of drinking at home inside a funky, no-fuss warehouse space. Avoiding the hops hype, the brewers here offer a short list of draft options on overhead chalkboards, plus a fridge of to-go bottles in the back. The Local Logic pilsner and Keeper Quencher Summer Saison were top picks from our visit. Stout fans will love the Public Declaration with notes of dark chocolate, cinnamon and roasted malt. It's worth noting that just like sipping brews in your parents' basement, no one here is waiting on you hand and foot. My date and I waited 15 minutes before a server approached us at the bar. For a laid-back, nowhere-to-be kind of Friday night, we weren't terribly annoyed.  Also noteworthy: You can order packaged cheese and beef jerky (both of which are surprisingly good) at the bar or bring your own food. Tables around us packed everything from Tupperware-clad picnics to goodies from nearby taquerias. Low Rez's new Pilsen taproom might not be the most glamorous opening of the year, but it has the low-key cool vibe down pat, making it worth a trip in my book.  Vitals Atmosphere: The ginormous warehouse space leaves plenty of room to mix and mingle. Did we mention it's dog-friendly? Because it is.  What to eat: BYO snacks or order cheese and jerky at the bar.  What to drink: 

Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars
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Know your bartender

Stephanie Andrews at Billy Sunday
News

Stephanie Andrews at Billy Sunday

From The Aviary to this Logan Square institution

Jess Lambert at Boleo and Vol. 39
News

Jess Lambert at Boleo and Vol. 39

"Man, I need to make fat cash."

Josh Fossitt at Bad Hunter
Bars

Josh Fossitt at Bad Hunter

The man behind Mermaid Water

Stephen Andrews at Milk Room
Bars

Stephen Andrews at Milk Room

He mixes the vintage drinks at this speakeasy in the Chicago Athletic Association

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Crawl through Chicago bars

An uncivilized Wrigleyville bar crawl
Bars

An uncivilized Wrigleyville bar crawl

If you're drinking your way through Wrigleyville, you're probably planning on a sloppy night

More cocktail content

What to eat and drink at Anvil Bar & Refuge's Tiki Disco takeover at Lost Lake
News

What to eat and drink at Anvil Bar & Refuge's Tiki Disco takeover at Lost Lake

We stopped by to see what was going on—and found some really fun drinks and throwback snacks provided by Thank You you should try this week

A night at Milk Room, the 8-seat rare spirits bar in the Chicago Athletic Association
News

A night at Milk Room, the 8-seat rare spirits bar in the Chicago Athletic Association

Milk Room is the smallest (and most expensive) bar at the Chicago Athletic Association, with an inventory of rare and vintage spirits

Four new cocktails to try
News

Four new cocktails to try

These bars recently added new cocktails to their menus that might just pique your palate

7 cocktails for $7 or less at Chicago bars & restaurants

7 cocktails for $7 or less at Chicago bars & restaurants

These craft cocktails, served at some of the best bars and restaurants in the city are $7 or less.

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