Most Exciting Cocktail Bars in Chicago


The craft cocktail movement has made a home in Chicago. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise, given Chicago’s enduring status as a regional and global magnet for talented chefs and mixologists. While the city continues to draw in flavors from around the globe, the locals have caught on to the revived art of the cocktail, an art that’s fully recovered nearly a century since Prohibition was the law of the land.

Cocktail Bars in Chicago: Signature Cocktails

There is some seasonality to the featured spirits that make the foundation for Chicago’s most exciting cocktail bars. In 2016, Chicago had a bit of an infatuation with mezcal. But there’s always room for other traditional flavors and exciting twists. If we explore a few signature cocktails from the AceBounce bar menu then we can see a few examples.

One signature cocktail from the AceBounce bar, Hits From the Pong, takes creamy pat horchata and infuses ribbons of smoky mezcal, rich cinnamon Tentura whiskey, and a nice finishing kick of habanero. 

Goin Up the Country, another cocktail from the AceBounce bar, combines bright red fruit and icy bourbon in a cool cocktail. Bulleit bourbon is a strong backbone for this cocktail with the amaro adding butter and cola notes which are picked up by the fresh strawberry purée. Ginger beer keeps the drink light, refreshing and a bit spicy. It’s served in a beautiful hammered copper mug.

For a bit of seasonal flair, holiday and winter flavors abound in Fire on the Mountain. Fine, aged dark rum is covered in a locally made rich cranberry and orange cordial. Chinese five spice bitter pops with notes of star anise and cinnamon. It’s topped with a fire marigold garnish.  

These examples point to Chicago’s growing preference for elevated cocktails that tell a story with their ingredients.