Drink Up! To-Go Cocktails from Chicago’s Best Bars and Restaurants
Mid-June, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed legislation that would allow bars and restaurants to offer customers premixed cocktails to go, bottled and ready to enjoy at home.
Now, with approval from the City Council, Chicagoans can order these pre-mixed cocktails, which provide a much-needed revenue source for hospitality businesses devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Just as importantly, ready-to-go cocktails and cocktail kits give you, at home, the chance to sample some beautiful beverages that use sometimes exotic ingredients to bring your at-home drinking game up a notch or two (and probably three).
Here are six Chicago's best bars and restaurants offering expertly crafted ready-to-go cocktails and cocktail kits.
Kumiko. Julia Momose, who’s been mixing widely praised cocktails at Kumiko since the day it opened, spearheaded the effort to legalize to-go cocktails in Chicago. From Kumiko, you can get some of the best bottled cocktails in the city. Cherry Blossom Milk Punch is crafted of Hine Cognac, Akashi Japanese whisky, Cherry Herring, Ransom sweet vermouth, and orange, all clarified with milk and lemon juice. New Wave is Japanese whisky, Pineau des Charentes Rouge, Chiyonosono rice Shochu, barley tea verjus and Combier Kummel. You get the idea, these are awesome cocktails, ready to go and prepared with ingredients you probably don’t keep around the house.
Sepia. Sepia is now offering selections from their exceptional cocktail menu. We’ve been wowed by two Sepia cocktails in particular: Meet George Jeppson (Jeppson’s Malört, green Chartreuse, coconut, pineapple, and cinnamon) and Event Horizon (rye whiskey, amaro Lucano, strawberry, lemon, and cardamom). Of course, Sepia also offers many of its inventive, yet homey, dishes for carryout, and you’d be hard-pressed to serve a finer dinner – with drinks!
Proxi., Proxi has made a name for itself by being a place where you can get some of the finest possible versions of international “street food.” To pair with these up-market renditions of the kind of food you might expect to find on the streets of Mexico City or Delhi, there are beverages like Lola is Back (Rhine Hall apple brandy, Zubrowka, Mancino Secco, cherry bark and vanilla bitters) and Bruja in the City (Banhez Mezcal, Strega, fennel, star anise, lemon, black pepper, and egg white)
The Dawson. The Dawson, long a favorite place to eat and drink in casual comfort, offers a number of exceptional to-go-cocktails, including Beachfront Manhattan (Bicardi 8 year, Overproof Rum, Averna, and plantain syrup), G.T.O To Go (Beefeater gin, Bonal vermouth, lime, thyme, grapefruit, and hopped bitters) and Park Life (gin, green Chartreuse, peppermint, lavender, and lemon juice). With drinks this good, you’ll find that drinking at home or a friend’s house can be a lot more fun than you’d have thought.
Federales. In keeping with its south of the border vibe, Federales is offering a fantastic take-home margarita mix. Nothing goes better with tequila and lime juice than Mexican food, and Federales has a huge selection of to-go Mexican items to pair with your Margs: shrimp and avocado ceviche, smoked brisket tacos and a Gringo taco supreme. You can even get a “family pack” of tacos and a six pack, if beer is more your thing. Food is available at most other restaurants offering cocktails to-go, so if you’re going to pick up some drinks, you might as well grab some outstanding chow while you’re at it.
The Violet Hour. The Violet Hour, one of the Chicago bars in the avant garde of America’s renewed interest in cocktails, is now offering cocktails to go. When Toby Malone opened Violet Hour in the Aughts, he wanted to create a “gin cocktail that would appeal to gin haters.” The result of this quest was the Juliet & Romeo, a beautifully balanced blend of Beefeater gin, lime, cucumber, mint, Angostura bitters, salt and rose water. In addition to this delicious creation, Violet Hour is also offering Love That About You, Polka Dot Negroni and Blueridge Manhattan, some classic sips for a memorable evening, made for you… and ready to go.