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Photograph: Jason Little

The best large-format cocktails in Chicago

These shareable sippers prove quantity doesn't have to sacrifice quality

Morgan Olsen
Written by
Morgan Olsen
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When it comes to seasonal drinking, we find that most Chicagoans follow one simple rule: The colder it gets, the more booze we need in order to survive (which might explain the city's many dive bars). That’s why you might want to familiarize yourself with a few of the city’s best large-format beverages. Served in punch bowls, pitchers and glass mushrooms (really), these supersized cocktails are meant to be shared. Grab a straw and a few drinking buddies, and cozy up to these wildly inspired creations at some of Chicago's best bars.

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

What’s in it: Vodka, white sage, pineapple and dehydrated blackberry—all stuffed inside a giant glass mushroom

What to expect: If you’re a fan of Super Mario Bros., this clever cocktail is on another level. Just like 1-Up mushrooms give players an extra life, this whimsical concoction is so over the top that it’s bound to give your evening a well-deserved boost.

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  • Restaurants
  • Vegetarian
  • West Loop
  • price 3 of 4

What’s in it: Scotch, golden raisin cider, lemon, La Normande (made with apple cider and apple brandy), amaro, ginger liqueur and Angostura bitters

What to expect: If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, this flower-adorned drink should keep all medical professionals at a safe distance. It’s bright, boozy and as crisp as a pile of leaves in the fall.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • West Loop

What’s in it: Gin, Cocchi Americano, Moscatel syrup, lemon, orange bitters and soda water served inside an adorable porcelain penguin

What to expect: The ingredients change with the season, and this iteration is delicately refreshing, nutty and effervescent.

Find more great cocktails

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