Forget about eating and drinking for survival, lets talk about eating and drinking for for the love of it. Over the past few years Chicago has earned a reputation for fine dining and drinking, I'm going to focus on the latter and tell you about amazing places in the city that pride themselves on making excellent cocktails, and I'll begin with the Logan Square neighborhood.
LONGMAN & EAGLE, 2657 N. KEDZIE AVE.
I tell people that I moved to Logan Square to be closer to my family, friends, and work. The truth is I moved to be closer to Longman & Eagle. This Bar/Restaurant/Inn is primarily a place for whisky, but there really is no spirit that they can't transform into a palpable work of art. One of the stars on their fall menu is a drink called the Campfire.
Templeton Rye, Lillet Blanc, Aperol, Cynar, Celery Bitters
This drink rings true to its name, it's clean, smoky, spicy. Every sip compliments the climate change in the city, and gives you the feeling of being outdoors warming up next to a fire.
Tip: If principal bartender and generally awesome guy Derek Alexander is around, ask him for a Right Up My Alley, it's an off menu drink that will change your life.
THE WHISTLER, 2421 N. MILWAUKEE AVE.
The Whistler is a bar, gallery, record label, and venue that hosts live music and DJs seven nights a week. It's one of those places where you come for the party, but you keep coming back for the amazing cocktails. The drinks themselves are as dynamic as their venue, but any night of the week you can enjoy my favorite the Arrigo Park.
Rittenhouse Bonded Rye Whiskey, Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth, Cynar, and Cucumber
This new take on the classic manhattan, meets every characteristic of a great cocktail. A notable crisp, clean, well balanced nose and body. There is no overwhelming ingredient, or individual flavor. Instead you enjoy the taste of a perfect blend.
Tip: The Whistler is also known for their infamous Tiki nights where you can enjoy some truly innovative Tiki drinks.
YUSHO, 2853 N. KEDZIE AVE.
Technically Yusho is in Avondale, but I say it's close enough and can't be missed. This yakitori restaurant can easily boast some of the most unique and delicious craft cocktails in town. Have you ever had the drink called a Gin and Tonic? No, you haven't. Not like this.
Gin and Tonic
Ransom Old Tom Gin, House Tonic, and Lime
Yusho's take on the gin and tonic is disarming at first. You'll notice the color is a pink and orange hue, and the smell is unlike the gin and tonic you are accustomed to. What kind of dark magic is this? Whatever the magic is, it happens when you taste it. The mouth feel is milder, the flavor is stronger, and it's well balanced by the house tonic, which usually overpowers the drink.
Tip: Yusho has a cocktail on draft that changes weekly. They also have a new warm and delicious drink for Fall called Sujeonggwa, its made with Whipper Snapper Whiskey, Vermouth Di Torino, Ginger, Cherry, and Pinenuts. The bartender Alex recommends that you have a pinenut with each sip. He's right, you should.