You know how to EAT THIS CITY. But where do you wash all those spectacular meals down? Do you know how to find the best brewpub? Uncover who makes the meanest bloody marys and the most sparkling mimosas?
This week we’re showing the Windy City some love once more! Hit hard by apocalyptic weather, this booming metropolis has spirit above and beyond what’s poured in its cocktails. The creativity, camaraderie, and extraordinary hospitality keep us coming back to the Chi for more. But be warned: It’s impossible to visit all of the world-class bars on offer within a weekend (we’ve tried). This is a destination for aficionados.
Our guide to the best bars in the city is Jarmel Doss, Assistant Bar Director of the world-renowned The Aviary. Under Doss’s leadership, the bar program has been recognized for its groundbreaking originality, storytelling techniques, and service. Note their 2013 James Beard Award for Outstanding Bar Program, their 2014 Tales of the Cocktail World’s Best Cocktail Menu, and their inclusion on countless Best Bars in the Nation list. Drinking at The Aviary isn’t simply drinking, it’s an experience.
Like the bar itself, Jarmel is an award-winner in a highly competitive industry. May of 2018 saw her win the Chicago STARS Mixology competition. She was also one of four women to present for Raising the Bar — The James Beard Foundation Celebrates Women Shaking up Chicago’s Beverage Scene (which also featured Drink This City alum Julia Momose). Additionally, Jarmel holds a degree in biochemistry; when you see the cocktails produced by The Aviary, it’s hard to imagine that scientific literacy isn’t a huge help behind the bar. The drinks are at once works of science and art.
Needless to say, we’re thrilled to have Jarmel as our expert guide to the best cocktails in Chicago. She had this to say about touring the scene:
“In working to create this list, I felt like the only way to truly be accurate was to ask friends their thoughts as well. Our industry is so collaborative and social and the majority of the time we are enjoying drinks with others.“
Cheers to that! Now let’s go Drink This City!
BRUNCH COCKTAIL OR HAIR OF THE DOG
Red Snapper at Scofflaw. This gin-based bloody is zippy from horseradish and surprisingly refreshing served on crushed ice. The garnish is also meaty and cheesy, so yeah!
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Korean-spiced margarita at The Office. This cocktail is so much fun because while it is recognizably a margarita, the flavor combinations are unusual and complex. It inspires nostalgic reminiscing of favorite Asian meals and keeps you wanting to come back for more.