Worldwide icon-chevron-right North America icon-chevron-right United States icon-chevron-right Illinois icon-chevron-right Chicago icon-chevron-right Five iconic cocktails

Five iconic cocktails

You can’t call yourself a Chicagoan until you drink these.

JULIET AND ROMEO AT THE VIOLET HOURThis bestselling cocktail, one of only three never taken off the menu, has been used to convert many a gin-hater, says mixologist Robby Haynes. Some of its popularity is likely due to GQ, which in 2008 called the mix of Beefeater gin, mint, cucumber, rose water, lime and Angostura bitters one of the 20 best cocktails in America. Why Juliet and Romeo, rather than the more canonical Romeo and Juliet? Haynes explains: �Because the lady always comes first.� $12.�Anthony Todd
GIMLET AT THE MATCHBOXGimlets are like the middle child of the classic cocktail family: often ignored. Not at the Matchbox, where fresh-squeezed lime (no Rose�s, thank you) and a little sugar are shaken with gin or vodka and served in a martini glass with the bar�s signature powdered sugar rim. The secret ingredient? Egg white, delivering a creamy texture. Then there are the variations: Opt for housemade ginger- or pineapple-infused vodka, and mango or passionfruit puree to substitute for the lime. The drink comes with a healthy pour left in the shaker so you get nearly two drinks for the price of one. $8.50.�Carly Fisher
COHASSET PUNCH AT SABLEThough it�s named after an East Coast city, this century-old rum cocktail is all Chicago: It was first shaken by Chicago bartender Gus Williams while at actor William H. Crane�s summer home in Cohasset, Massachusetts. Williams brought the recipe back to his bar, Williams & Newman, and eventually sold it to the Ladner Bros. saloon in the Loop, where it became so popular owners began selling it in bottles. Sable�s Mike Ryan has dug up the recipe, making it his own by using two types of rum (Cruzan Black Strap and Blackwell Jamaican), subbing Combier peach liqueur for canned peaches (he hopes to use fresh peaches when they�re in season) and adding a few dashes of orange bitters to balance the sweetness. $13.�Carly Fisher
 (Photograph: Christian Seel)
Photograph: Christian SeelIN THE ROCKS AT THE AVIARYThe Aviary changes its menu so much, Charles Joly must have a secret warehouse where specialty glassware goes to die. But this whimsical cocktail has been the one constant since the bar opened in 2011. Though the ingredients change (it�s currently a take on a Vieux Carr�, with Benedictine, vermouth, cognac and rye), it�s the presentation that�s iconic: The liquid lies inside a hollow sphere of ice that guests shatter with a small slingshot, letting the booze pour out over the shards. $18.�Carly Fisher
THE HARD SELL AT BAR DEVILLEGM and head bartender Brad Bolt created the Hard Sell in spring 2009 expecting it actually would be a hard sell�the key ingredient is the notoriously acquired taste of Jeppson�s Mal�rt. Much to his surprise, it�s now one of the bar�s most popular drinks. Bolt balances the pungent bitterness of Mal�rt with a blend of gin, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice and grapefruit peel for a drink that�s refreshing, boozy and a very easy sell. $10.�Carly Fisher


More to explore