Daiquiri and mai tai season may be over, but fret not, because in place of patio-friendly cocktails comes the rich and soothing comforts of warm cocktails, cider-infused drinks, and much more. Here's where to sip on cool weather cocktails in Chicago this season.
The Berkshire Room (15 E. Ohio St.)
New cocktails are on deck at The Berkshire Room, featuring several freshly debuted entries courtesy of acclaimed mixologist Benjamin Schiller. Among the newbies are Hip Flask, a heady rye whiskey and rum cocktail infused with garam masala syrup; 2 Semesters Aboard, which features a combo of gin, Campari, grapefruit, and salt; and a tiki-inspired Zombie variation made with rum, Cognac, lime, and Berkshire Mix No. 3, rife with cassia, allspice, clove, and vanilla.
The J. Parker (1816 N. Clark St.)
The J. Parker may be renowned for its summery rooftop drinks, but the bar atop the Hotel Lincoln is a prime wintry destination as well. And not just because the bar has implemented a retractable roof, extending the rooftop season throughout the year. The cocktail bar's new winter menu, themed and inspired by "Drunk History," tells a story with its menu. Literally.
Each new cocktail has a story inspired by days past, like The Water of Life made with vodka, Benedictine, St. George Spiced Pear, thyme, lime and Fee's Black Walnut Bitters. The name of the drink is a nod to liquor's olden medicinal uses in the Middle Ages and 16th century Russia. Another good option is The Rapture, made with rosemary-infused Peligroso, Silver Tequila, ginger liqueur, apple shrub, lime, and red wine, so named for the makers of Peligroso and their penchant for adventure, thrill-seeking, and living life on the edge. The richest and most decadent menu addition for the impending winter months is the Fireside Chat, a medley of rum, Fernet Branca, St. George NOLA Coffee, Demerara, mole bitters, whole egg, and nutmeg. Its name is an obvious choice for cold weather and notions of cozy fireside imbibing.
Bordel (1721 W. Division St.)
Things are getting cozy at Bordel. The second-floor cocktail bar in Wicker Park is known for its colorful vibrancy, its porron wine pitchers, and its punch, with drinks rotating throughout the seasons. The latest batch gets warm and toasty with drinks like Spanish Coffee, a hot coffee-infused tipple made with Grand Marnier, rum, fresh whipped cream, and "magic," according to the menu. Some of the spicier house cocktails currently include a Banana Foster Old Fashioned made with banana-infused whiskey, brown sugar, and cinnamon; and the House of Cards cocktail, featuring apple brandy, aquavit, chamomile, coconut sugar, lemon, egg white, and bitters.
Drumbar (201 E. Delaware Pl.)
Consistently one of the best destinations for seasonal craft cocktails, Drumbar has once again done it again, raising the bar on bar fare courtesy of mixologist Whitney Morrow. Her latest crop of innovative creations include cold-weather nourishment like the Susan Collins made with Templeton Rye, maple, Lapsang Souchong, lemon, sage-infused dry vermouth, and Allagash beer foam. True Myth is a rich wine-infused cocktail featuring Malbec, St. George Terroir Gin, balsamic, lemon, and bitters. Notes of coffee, pumpkin, and chai form perfect aromatic harmony in Morrow's B Squared, with NOLA Coffee Liqueur, Cruzan Black Strap rum, pumpkin, chai tea, and housemade caramel. And there's lots more where that came from.
Bottlefork (441 N. Clark St.)
There's a new batch of cocktails in place at Bottlefork, with a menu divvied into sections perfectly apropos for fall and winter, such as Dark + Boozy, Smokey + Dried + Spice, and Warm + Cozy. New hot cocktail options include the Hot Cocoa Azteca, featuring creme de cacao, chile de arbol, marshmallow, and milk, and Apples & Spice & Everything Bites, with whiskey, Clyde Mays, hot apple cider, amaretto, Becherovka, and angostura bitters. Then there's the Ballad of Jack & Sally with Scotch, Bank Note 5 Year, allspice dram, ghost chile, lemon, and honey.
Bohemian House (11 W. Illinois St.)
When it comes to cold-weather imbibing, it's hard to beat a good whiskey and cider combo. And specifically, it's hard to beat the new Infused Fashion cocktail at Bohemian House, outfitted with spiced cider-infused bourbon, bitters, and lemon. Darjeeling Express is a tea cocktail featuring Cognac, Darjeeling, honey, dry Curacao, and lemon. If you're craving something pumpkin, the Pumpkin Mule won't disappoint with its medley of vodka, spiced pumpkin, lemon, and torched rosemary.
Photos: The Berkshire Room, The J. Parker, Drumbar, Bohemian House