Chicago-area restaurants, bars mixing up hot cocktails for chilly nights
Since opening in 2018, Common Good Cocktail House in Glen Ellyn has rolled out a new menu of 30 cocktails every season. When the fall begins, the bar adds a section of hot drinks to hearken back to the Northern European tradition of drinking warm beverages while visiting neighbors during the winter.
"There are some nights that people come in from the cold and just say, 'I want whatever your hot drink is tonight,'" said Common Good co-owner Chad Hauge. "It's not only physically warming; it presents a tradition and sense of community."
The bar is currently offering two complex hot toddy options for $14 each. The Orchard Elf Safe Haven features Irish whiskey, apple cider, ginger, cinnamon, black cardamom, honey and chipotle. Punch Fantasia, an Italian liqueur meant to be drunk hot during the winter, serves as the basis for the Choco Loco, which also features dark chocolate, black sesame, chipotle and mint. Both can be made without the spirits and are also available from Thursday through Saturday at the Glen Ellyn Polar Plaza ice skating rink, which is open through Feb. 21.
"They've been selling out (at Polar Plaza) almost every night," Hauge said. "There was a day where the weather wasn't fantastic. It was sort of half drizzle, half snowing for an hour and there was a very small amount of people that came, but almost every single person who was there ordered the hot drinks."
Common Good Cocktail House is located at 560 Crescent Blvd., Glen Ellyn, (630) 474-0932, commongoodcocktailhouse.com/.
If you're looking to warm up with a hot cocktail, here are some other local options:
Barrel + Rye
477 S. 3rd St., Geneva, (630) 402-0647, barrelandrye.com/
Get cozy with the Sweater Weather, a hot hibiscus tea blended with bahnez mezcal, orange liqueur, rosemary orange peel juniper syrup and lemon for $12.
5 W. Campbell St., Arlington Heights, (847) 749-3103, scratchboardkitchenah.com/
Start your day at the brunch spot with the Hot Bourbon Chai Cider made with cider from Michigan's Mick Klug Farm, plus Old Forester Bourbon and chai. It runs $12.
Bar Goa's spin on the hot toddy -- Sur La Mer -- is a blend of coconut toddy, orange, nutmeg, ghee, Brugal Anjeo Rum and Amass Botanic Vodka.
- Courtesy of Bar Goa
116 W. Hubbard St., Chicago, (312) 900-0197, bargoachicago.com/
The new River North bar specializes in Indian flavors, which you'll find in the Sur La Mer, a spin on a hot toddy made with coconut toddy, orange, nutmeg, ghee, Brugal Anjeo Rum and Amass Botanic Vodka for $15.
834 W. Fulton Market, Chicago, (312) 733-0370; 519 N. Clark St., Chicago, (312) 284-1377; 671 N. St. Clair St., Chicago, (312) 642-0001; beatrixrestaurants.com/
Satisfy your sweet tooth with spiked peppermint cocoa featuring crème de menthe, crème de cacao and white chocolate, or opt for the richer taste of mulled wine made with burgundy, Old Grand-Dad bourbon, orange juice and spiced demerara. For something stronger, have an Earl Grey hot toddy spiked with Famous Grouse scotch and flavored with honey and lemon. They're $13 each.
Chef Julianna's Hot Chocolate, which comes garnished with housemade marshmallows, can be served sans alcohol or with a shot of Rumchata at The Dearborn in Chicago.
- Courtesy of The Dearborn
145 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, (312) 384-1242, thedearborntavern.com/
After ice skating at nearby Maggie Daley Park, warm up with Gluhwein, mulled red wine made with brandy, ruby port, lemon, orange, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, star anise and dried apricots for $14. Or consider Chef Julianna's Hot Chocolate with housemade marshmallows served plain ($14) or with a shot of Rumchata ($19).
Ina Mae Tavern
1415 N. Wood St., Chicago, (773) 360-8320, inamaetavern.com/
Try a twist on a hot toddy -- the Tequila Toddy -- made with tequila, lemon juice, honey syrup and a cinnamon stick for $12. Or sip on the Hennessy Cider, which features housemade apple cider blended with pumpkin spice, clove and Hennessy VS cognac for $15. You can also go a bit farther afield with Ina Mae's Hot House, a mix of spiced and dark rum, cognac, apple syrup, lemon and cinnamon for $13.
Bourbon or spiced rum can be added to the Hot Apple Cider at The Smith in Chicago.
- Courtesy of The Smith
400 N. Clark St., Chicago, (312) 312-5100, thesmithrestaurant.com/
The Warm Up section of the River North restaurant's drink menu includes a hot toddy made with bourbon, tawny port, lemon, bitter orange, honey and cinnamon or the spiked hot chocolate that features bourbon, hazelnut, chocolate liqueur, coconut and whipped cream. Both run $15. You can also get a glass of hot apple cider sans alcohol for $7 or spiked with bourbon or spiced rum for $15.
Wood's Whiskey Hot Cider will keep you warm in winter.
- Courtesy of Wood
3335 N. Halsted St., Chicago, (773) 935-9663, woodchicago.com/
The six-time Michelin Bib Gourmand winner offers an extensive collection of classic cocktails, including the Whiskey Hot Cider featuring Klug Farm unfiltered apple cider spiced with cinnamon bark and orange peel and spiked with Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey for $13.