We all know that Chicagoans like to let loose on any given day of the week. After a hard day's work, we Midwesterners like to kick back, relax and have a few. But there has been a new spark in the drinking scene lately: one that honors the "craft" in a craft cocktail without the alcohol. Welcome to the world of seasonal soda pops.
At Dusek's Board and Beer in Pilsen, you'll be immersed in a beer selection that will blow your mind. But the hippest of the hip on this drink menu are the new custom crafted "pops." Sourced from local ingredients, these are not your average sodas. From Charred Grapefruit to Blackberry Tonic to Malted Walnut, the time and care that go into crafting these delectable non-alcoholic drinks is simply astonishing. Are new flavors in the works, you ask? Let's just say we are salivating in anticipation of their next release.
Amongst the mostly-vegetarian menu at Chef Shawn McClain's Green Zebra, you‘ll find a bountiful array of made-to-order non-alcoholic cocktails designed by mixologist Carla Caruso. Amongst the most popular are the Pink Peppercorn Thyme Soda, Grapefruit Mint Soda and the newest addition to the drink menu, and our favorite, the Orange Fennel and Cream Soda. All go particularly well with food menu specialties such as the Three Maples Farm Duck Egg, White Corn Polenta Cake and the Burrata alla Panna (Nichols farm beets, crispy pumpernickel, dill salad and beet chips).
Little Market Brasserie
Tucked away inside of the Talbott Hotel in Chicago's Gold Coast sits Little Market Brasserie; a quaint bistro that serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. LMB's Chef de' Cuisine Eric Jorgensen and Beverage Directors Paul Tanguay and Tad Carducci have paired their dishes with sodas so stimulating we might just call them "pop stars." The Apple Lavender soda is a house specialty and pairs well with the Alaskan King Crab Potato Gnocchi Entrée. The Meyer Lemon Sour Soda compliments the Seared Scallops, and the Orange Hibiscus Mint with the Grilled Butternut Squash dish is a can't miss.
Seasons Soda is a young start-up company based in Chicago that specializes in producing all-natural artisanal soda. Seasons Soda strives to maintain a closed loop system throughout the production process, and sources most of their fruits and herbs from local family farms. Some of their scrumptious soda flavors include Honeycrisp Apple, Asian Pear and Heirloom Yellow Doll Watermelon. Seasons Soda is available at numerous farmers markets throughout Chicago including the famed Green City Market in Lincoln Park, the Museum of Contemporary Art Farmer's Market, the Daley Plaza Farmer's Market and the Logan Square Night Market. You can also find Seasons Soda on draught at numerous Chicago restaurants including: Parson's Chicken and Fish, Trencherman and Endgrain.
And last but certainly not least, is the new burger joint in town founded by the acclaimed Hearty Boys Dan Smith and Steve McDonagh in collaboration with award winning pastry chef and food star Gale Gand. In addition to their wildly and outrageously delicious grass-fed beef burger menu and specialty "Mac & Cheeto" dish, Spritzburger also serves up some of the finest specialty "diner style" sodas and "spritz's" them at the table right in front of your very eyes with a mixture of club soda and carbonation. Amongst their many flavors, the Mandarin Orange Soda includes herbes de provence and lavender, while the Sabai Green Fizz has a blend of Thai green curry, cucumber and kaffir leaves.
Whether you call it pop or soda or even soda pop, one things is for sure: the trend in custom crafted non-alcoholic drinks with some fizz is the latest buzz around town. And we're sure it'll be around for a while.