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Exploring Chicago’s 6 Vibrant Cocktails

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27/12/2023 Chicago widely known as Windy city is cherished worldwide for its Food, vibrant architecture, iconic neighborhood & deep-dish pizza. Chicago is also famous for its Drinking Culture & mesmerizing cocktails, which we explore here in our blog.

Chicago holds a unique cocktail culture all thanks to its cocktail historians & some adventurous Chicago bartenders. Weirdly enough, Until now Chicago was never known as a city for its cocktails even after having bars & saloons round every corner. 

However, the society and people who shaped Chicago in the early 20th century had a significant amount to do with the drinking culture which resulted in Chicago now being the Greatest Drinking City in America by GQ with a whopping 78 percent of locals rating its bar scene as “amazing”.

Chicago has a rich legacy when it comes to bars — one that’s not always inclusive. Drinkers will find mixologists willing to push boundaries, innovative brewers, and the old fashioned packaged-good store, also known as a “slashie.” With its creativity, Chicago holds some of the most popular cocktail recipes ever originated & re-defined.

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The Windy city has been sincere towards its cocktails, especially when they involve Whiskey & Vodka. There’s a great deal of importance that everyone really loves to support local distilleries and cocktail bars that highlight and support cocktail culture. Chicago is a bartender city, with numerous world-best innovative bartenders & mixologists infusing elements to forever create a history in cocktail’s legacy which is evident in the various ways that people enjoy their cocktails and overall drinking culture. Even we are excited as we steer our wheel from San Francisco now to Chicago - Heart of Drinking culture & new home to Bartender Spirits Awards 2024

Discover Chicago’s Best bartenders in our detailed blog here

To taste Chicago’s Cocktail pinnacle, check out these innovation from Chicago : 

The Old-Fashioned 

The Old Fashioned, comes from an early mixed drink simply called the Whiskey Cocktail, thought to be popularized in the late 1700s when it was fashionable to add a few dashes of bitters to a glass of whiskey. Though it was not invented here, there's evidence it was christened in the city. 

The drink’s creation goes hand in hand with the escalation of both whiskey and commercial bitters, an aromatic ingredient with medicinal origins that involved steeping herbs, barks, botanicals, and other plant extracts in spirits to create a curative that could be mixed with water or other ingredients, often to aid in digestion. 

Essentially, the Old Fashioned was the Godfather of all cocktails, and it was so much of an original that it itself was referred to as "the cocktail."  

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Old-Fashioned leads a legacy where mixologists revolutionized its limitation to more variation for consumers, serving more than 30 immaculate versions of it today.

Yellowstone Select Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey - 96 Points Double Gold Medal winner will be a perfect blending partner to serve your customer right. 

Chicago Fizz Cocktail

A Fizz is a cocktail made with citrus juice along with carbonated water.  Some Fizz contain added egg white (the Silver Fizz, and the iconic Ramos Gin Fizz), while some use just the egg yolk (Golden Fizz).  There is even one incorporating a whole egg, called a Royal Fizz. The majority of fizzes are made with gin, which makes the Chicago Fizz all the more unique. Another distinctive trait of the Fizz family is that most of them are served chilled and without ice.   

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In barman Albert S. Crocketts The Old Waldorf Astoria Bar Book (1935), he notes that the cocktail is “an importation from the Windy City long before bombs, machine guns and sawed-off shotguns had come to disturb its peaceful life.” Rum, port wine, lemon juice and an egg white gives the Chicago Fizz an effervescent sip with a sweet pink tone.

The Chicago Cocktail

As the name says, Chicago Cocktail is named after the windy city - Chicago. Originating back in the 19s, this cocktail can be enjoyed on a warm summer night with a champagne top. 

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Sharing similarity with Champagne cocktails, while it has a much larger dose of brandy, which makes it different from the light and brunchy sparkling drink. Coming in Chicago’s beloved creation, a rare drink when the bubbles feel like a component. The base of the drink is brandy, and then topped with Champagne. The bubbly texture of sparkling wine, with orange liqueur and brandy is a fruity and citrusy drink.

Genuine versions do it by sugaring the rim of the glass. Also, rub a lemon or orange slice around the rim and dip it in superfine or powdered sugar. The Chicago cocktail can be served on the rocks or straight up in a coupe.

Base your Chicago Cocktail with Grappa Riserva 7 Anni a 95 Points Gold Medal winner & Brandy of the year from Bartner Spirits Awards 2023. 

Cohasset Punch

Chicago bartender Gus Williams created the drink for his employer, popular actor William H. Crane, a celebrity in his time until 1928.

This versatile cocktail made its debut in the Gatsby Esque Cohasset party hosted by Crane. Sweetness packed with a punch that hits you after one or two, Williams’ cocktail was such a hit that by 1916, he was able to sell his one-of-a-kind recipe to Ladner Bros., a saloon at 207 W. Madison Avenue. 

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A combination of dark rum, sweet vermouth, lemon juice, canned peach syrup, Grand Marnier, and a few dashes of orange bitters. In order to prepare it, half of a canned peach is first placed in the bottom of a cocktail glass, which is then halfway filled with shaved ice. 
Even after Cohasset Punch being razed, Chicago had more to offer and contribute to its consumer. With the impeccably talented bartenders, we have more Chicago’s cocktail to share. 

The Southside

A classic drink served by various bars around the world. The classic Southside Cocktail recipe is compiled of gin, lime juice, sugar syrup, and mint into a coupe or a martini glass. Other versions alter the Southside’s ingredients a bit, such as the addition of sparkling water or soda water.

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The Southside cocktail is known for its balance of citrusy lime, the herbal freshness of mint, and the botanicals of gin. It's a classic cocktail that has stood the test of time and remains a popular choice, especially blooming in Chicago.

As classic & refreshing to savor it is recommended to enjoy The Southside near summer seasons. What doesn’t limit The southside's variation is its multiple forms ranging from Blueberry Southside, Appletini, Southside Martini, to Raspberry Southside. Along with its procedure of making the variation of the Southside cocktail is just the same as making the classic one. Some similar cocktails to the classic Southside cocktail are Southside Fizz, and Southside Royale.

Your bar deserves a great choice from Bartender spirits Awards 2023, where notable Lussa Gin - 97 Points Double Gold Medal Winner will add up charm to Chicago’s Southside. 

Peach Better Have My Honey

Super for Gin Lovers, Peach better have my honey was creatively crafted by Eszter Thomka from Bartenders Collective. This zero-proof mix of roasted peach and basil oleo saccharum, lemon juice, honey, and ginger ale offered a sweet, tart, and lightly herbaceous sip of summer being a refreshing grace for chicagoan. 

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Eszter Thomka, creator of Peach Honey cocktail, innovated this recipe during the eclipse of pandemic. Raising the bar in the midst of uncertainty formed the Bartender Collective & promoted year’s best irish Gin which eventually innovated into chicago’s unique cocktail. 

Roasting the peaches before adding them to the oleo saccharum enhances the sweet, syrupy flavor of ripe peach. Bartender spirits Awards selected gin for PEACH BETTER HAVE MY Honey - East Indies Bali Pomelo dry gin (96 points & a Double Gold Medal) will not leave you disappointed.


The 2024 Bartender Spirits Awards results are out! View the results here.