Weekly Planner: Drinking Edition
Let’s face it: the holiday season is drinking season. Sure it’s merry and festive and all, but it’s also stressful, cold and expensive, and that’s where cocktails come in handy. As the holidays kick into high gear this week, it’s high time to round up some of the newest beverage options in town.
’90’s Cocktail Menu at The Dawson
Here’s a nostalgic throwback that should be fun: The Dawson’s brand new cocktail menu is totally inspired by the ’90’s, featuring a lineup of drinks with named for and inspired by TV shows, music and movies of the decade. Options include Livin’ La Vida Loca, made with Del Maguey Vida mezcal, rum, sherry, pineapple-infused Cocchi Americano, coconut cream cordial, lime and barbecue bitters, served in a terra cotta mug with pineapple fronds and bright marigolds as garnish. Talk to the Hand is another fun one, featuring Scotch, Cognac, Carpano Bianco, creme de fleur and cedar, as a riff on a classic Vieux Carre. Clueless fans should try the As If!, a vivid sipper with gin, Aperol, aquavit, spiced cranberry cordial and citric acid-lime blend. The drink pairs two standbys in one: the Cosmopolitan and the Southside. It’s topped with soda and garnished with fresh mint.
Fall Cocktails at The Sixth
The Sixth is always a reliable spot for inventive, seasonally inspired cocktails with a hefty dash of whimsy. Courtesy of esteemed barkeep Benjamin Schiller, the Lincoln Square bar has introduced nine new drinks to its colorful lineup, each one aromatic and fruity, while adding autumnal notes of smoke and spice to the mix. Try the Pinky Promise, a fizzy and luscious libation with tequila, Campari, Pamplemousse and Chardonnay salt, or the Weston, which does its name justice by adding smoky pipe tobacco essence and Dark Matter coffee to some single-barrel bourbon. Summer in a Day is a nice, wistful throwback to summer, with gin, Yellow Chartreuse, basil powder and a watermelon cube. Or try something richer, like the Cruel Summer, wherein mezcal and hazelnut orgeat mingle with pineapple and angostura.
Fall Drinks at Vol. 39
Solidifying herself as one of Chicago’s most talented and imaginative mixologists, Jess Lambert at has rolled out a can’t-miss fall cocktail menu at Vol. 39 in The Kimpton Gray Hotel. Inspired by vintage flavors and international influences alike, the menu really offers something for everyone, each drink served with ample fragrance, presentation and flair. Take the Rye Old Fashioned, for instance, a drink that Lambert uses to recall flavors of roasted chilies found in New Mexico this season. The drink has rye whiskey, creme de noyaux, ancho verde liqueur, cinnamon demerara and various bitters, like chocolate mole and orange. A housemade tea syrup derived from hojicha tea, demerara and fortified wine is the star of the show in the Canary Trap, a gin tipple rounded out with Yellow Chartreuse “caviar” for an eye-popping (and literally popping) garnish. Then there’s the Aurora Kiruna, an aquavit-based option inspired by Lambert’s recent trips to Copenhagen and Sweden. Along with Absolut Elyx vodka, it’s topped off with spiced cranberry syrup and garnished with candied rosemary.
Hotter Chocolates at BomboBar
In other beverage news, Bar Siena’s BomboBar has brought back its beloved hot chocolates for the season, and this time they’re better than ever. Available from the restaurant’s walk-up side window, these illustrious drinkable desserts are all about the decadent garnishes, which could double as a sweet meal in and of itself. Both the Funfetti and S’mores “Hotter Chocolates” are back in action, each one adorned with a donut and whipped cream. New this year is the “Hotter Cider,” made with local apple cider, whipped cream, caramel, crumbled pecans and an old-fashioned donut.