What Chicago Is Drinking This Summer 2019

Most Chicagoans will tell you that we deal with temperatures colder than Antarctica because of the incomparable euphoria the sweet summer season thrusts upon locals and visitors alike. These three hot months bless us with Playpen boat hopping, festival frequenting and rooftop cocktailing. So, throw on a pair of those Louis Vuitton x Virgil Abloh shades you copped at the neon orange pop-up on Randolph, and throw back a tasty drink. Oh, where to find the perfect summer refreshment? Glad you asked. Find our haute guide here:

Vintage Cocktails at RPM Steak

Photo Credit: Melissa Hom

Because of the difficulty and rarity in sourcing decades-old spirits like 1970s Campari and Beefeater Gin, RPM Steak is one of just three restaurants offering such an exclusive selection. The Perfect Martini surpasses any standards—not shaken or stirred as to not take anything away from the high-quality of the spirit itself. Near 50-year old gin is frozen for two days before being poured tableside and fulfilling our drinking desires. The lovechild of a Manhattan and Negroni, the Boulevardier is a thirst-quenching concoction of vintage Campari, bourbon, and vermouth that goes down almost too easily. And, of course, the Negroni. The matured Campari is poured through a cylindrical orange peel, readying us for a butter-smooth texture as the superior spirit does the rest of the work.

Fine Wine at Joe’s Imports

Photo Credit: Nika Sagalchik

What’s better than the perfect wine pairing? A wine pairing on an outdoor patio during a Chicago summer. What’s better than Artisan Salumi? The Ibérico coppa swallowed with the help of sparkling, red Lambrusco that refreshingly cuts into the fat of the meat board. We can keep playing this game, but the palatability of Joe’s Imports is no joke. Further standouts on the flavorful menu include summery Spring Peas divinely partnered with an Italian Pecorino, Snow Crab under a warm salmoriglio enhanced by a buttery Greek Viognier and Nonna’s Chicken smothered in neck bone jus and elevated with a light Oregon Pinot Noir. After our palates were thoroughly cleansed thanks to a South African Chevin Blanc, a dessert—so mouth-wateringly appetizing that we actually ogled it in silence—was placed in front of our hungry eyes. The second we spooned the Meringue Gelato into our overly-excited mouths, we decided we’d have a standing weekly date for this sugary delight and a magical glass of Moscato d’Asti.

Pisco Sours at Cabra  

Photo Credit: Nika Sagalchik

Imagine this: a hot, sunny day in the flavorful country of Peru. A craving for a rousing pick-me-up, so profound, you just can’t go on until it’s satisfied. And then, an entranceway into a sort of oasis, in which an authentic Pisco Sour enlivens your being more and more with every sip. Thanks to the drink menu at Cabra on the rooftop of The Hoxton hotel, such a haven exists right in the middle of the West Loop. And what exactly is a Pisco Sour? It’s a cocktail mixed with Pisco, which is an alcohol made from Peruvian grapes. Presented here just as it is in South America, the top is a luxurious cream courtesy of velvety egg whites, while the bottom is purely refreshing. Piscos are perfect by the pool or when paired with lighter fare like seafood. A personal favorite—the Cabra-Ca-Dabra, the addition of strawberry and rosé (and bourbon!) influences the taste to reflect what happens when a sour meets a frosé. And, damn, is it delicious.