Our Favorite Winter Drinks
Stingy Jack (Photo courtesy Bottlefork)
In some cities with cold winters, people deal with the winter dreariness by skiing or snowboarding. Since we don't have mountains, we deal with it primarily by drinking stiff hearty pours of things like aquavit and spiked ciders. Our own favorite winter drink picks can be found at bars and restaurants, but there are a few picks on the list for enjoying at home as well.
Stingy Jack at Bottlefork
Bottlefork is not a place of subtleties, which is a good thing if you like your food and drink bold and unapologetically fatty and sugary. Like this hot thick drink which definitely qualifies as a dessert. It’s Clyde May's Alabama Whiskey, which is a lightly aged apple-infused whiskey made from an old Alabama moonshine recipe, with pumpkin tea, whipped cream, and Ancho Reyes Chile Liquor to add another dimension of heat. It’s spicy, rich and warming.
— Melissa McEwen
Bottlefork is located at 441 N. Clark St.
Hot Mulled Apple Cider at The Whistler
When it comes to cocktails during the colder months, I prefer to keep it simple. A basic cup of cocoa spiked, a heavy glug of whiskey or bourbon to keep me warm, mulled wine or one of my favorite beverages once we hit peak apple cider season: hot mulled apple cider. I make this at home a lot, it’s an easy drink you can play with to suit your taste. But there is something nice about wrapping your hands around a warm cup in a dark bar. After a long day at work as I trek through the dark and cold Chicago winter home, I like to stop by the Whistler for their house blend. They start with Seedling Farms apple cider (some of the best around) and add in cinnamon, clove, star anise, orange peel and then spike it with Hamilton Jamaican Pot Still Black Rum. What you end up with is a piping hot cup of spicy, smooth cider to sip as it warms your bones. Make sure to stop in early to grab a mug. Their mulled cider takes hours to make, so once they run out, they are done for the day. It’s the perfect post-work detour excuse during the drab winter months in Chicago. — Lisa White
The Whistler is located at 2421 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Winter Sun Aquavit cocktail (From Gamle Ode)
Gamle Ode Holiday Aquavit
Aquavit has suddenly become trendy again, as Midwesterners rediscover their Scandinavian heritage. But the trend here has a very un-Scandinavian aspect- adding Aquavit to cocktails, which in my experience in Scandinavia is almost never done (it’s pretty much always taken as a shot with dinner). Gamle Ode Holiday Aquavit from Minnesota fits either purpose well. It’s aged in wine barrels and has the traditional dill, juniper and caraway, plus allspice, mint and orange. It’s a great introduction to the Aquavit tradition. — Melissa McEwen
Tom & Jerry at Miller’s Pub
Though its name conjures nostalgic images of the beloved cartoon cat and mouse, the Tom & Jerry is adults only, though I began drinking the cocktail well before legal drinking age. The indulgent cocktail looks simple: hot water, equal parts dark rum and brandy, egg batter and a sprinkle of fresh nutmeg. It’s that dynamic mix of smooth, creamy, spicy and heat that have me craving this yuletide classic every year. My family makes them on Christmas Eve, but I can’t always wait that long and it’s a lot of work. The cocktail is high maintenance: the cups must be heated and the frothy batter only lasts a few hours. Luckily, Miller’s Pub is serving them at this time of year, so if you’re looking to try one then head over before the new year. — Erika Kubick
Miller’s Pub is located at 134 S. Wabash Ave.
Glunz Family Winery and Cellars Vin Glögg
Glögg is Sweden’s national mulled wine and it’s not that hard to make your own, but whenever I go to Andersonville I pick up a bottle of this to have on hand. It’s locally made in Grayslake of red wine and port with traditional Swedish spices. If you have guests over in the winter, just pour some of this in a pot on the stove to warm up and your house or apartment will be filled with wonderful spicy aromas and everyone will have a mug of this delicious beverage.— Melissa McEwen
Can be found at Andersonville Wine & Spirits (5201 N. Clark St.)
(Photo Credit: Ashleigh Dye)
The Belgian Fashioned at Dusek’s Board and Beer
I champion this drink year-round (as my friends know well), but there is something especially comforting about the Belgian Fashioned, Dusek’s’ version of the Old Fashioned, in the colder months. Their twist includes Belgian Candi Syrup, a common ingredient in the Belgian brewing tradition that adds hints of golden raisins and caramel to any beverage. Paired with Redemption rye whiskey, muddled fruit, and a dash of aromatic bitters, the Belgian Fashioned will remove any thoughts of howling wind or wet snow from your mind. — Carrie Laski
Duseks is located at 1227 W. 18th St.