Cold Drip Sangria
Possibly the best sangria in town. Judge for yourself.
As with most cocktails, the origins of the drink are hazy (be suspicious of those who state with certainty when or where the drink was first mixed), but this entrancing mixture of Demetrio Tequila Blanco, passion fruit purée, Ancho Reyes Liqueur and grapefruit bitters. Very simple in structure, this Passion 36 is complex enough in flavor to satisfy even the most jaded palates, but not so over-the-top with mixological gewgaws as to frighten away the casual tipple.
Nowadays, it’s typical to order one of these in a bar and be given a glass of something clear and cold with nothing in it except a massive olive or three. With all due respect, that’s not a martini. That’s just cold booze, and there’s no shame in ordering it if that’s what you want. Ours is different, mango vodka and apricot liqueur set it off while lemon juice and mango purée add balance.
To state the patently obvious, the summer weather in Chicago can be hot. The positive side of this is that ever since the days when a ceiling fan was considered the apex of cooling technology, bartenders have been devising drinks that are still useful if not essential in today’s summer-refresher arsenal. Hendricks Gin, cucumber juice, ginger beer and tarragon bitters. Perfectly suited for a hot afternoon or evening.
As spring lurches toward summer, it’s a good time to reach for the rum and the flowery shirt. So put on some Martin Denny, mix up a daiquiri, and start peering down the calendar. Warmer days are up ahead. Denizen 8 Yr rum and Velvet Falernum for the backbone; the addition of Luxardo Liqueur and grapefruit juice make this drink hard to put down.
Strawberry Smash Bourbon
Some of the greatest drinks in the mixological canon are deceptive in their simplicity. Consider the Old Fashioned, the Daiquiri, the Gin Martini—preparing a cup of coffee in the morning is more complicated than making these drinks. But through the basic combination of two or three ingredients, with some ice thrown in for excitement, a perfect match of flavors can be achieved. Slaughter House Whiskey, strawberry purée, basil. Simple? Yes! Delicious? Yes!
BIN 36 Old Fashioned
I consider this drink important not just from a historical standpoint, but also as a glimpse of how diverse the world of cocktails can be. This Old Fashioned is new, sleek and just a little racy. Woodford Reserve Bourbon is the king here, Fee’s aztec chocolate & orange bitters add a rich complex flavors, house macerated cherries add balance.
BIN 36 Manhattan
If there were no other reason to include this drink on this list, I’d still put the Manhattan here for best reason of all: your grandmother drinks them. Russell’s Reserve 6 yr Rye, cherry heering liqueur, carpano Antica sweet vermouth are complimented by house macerated cherries. Served up or on the rocks.