Winter Warmers: 6 Cocktails Guaranteed to Stave Off Autumn Chills

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Despite the harsh winters that tend to accost the Midwest as the calendar year ends, the City of Big Shoulders is not one to shy away from seeking refuge. Especially if it means sipping on a cocktail sure to warm you up. Here are six of the Windy City’s best offerings to stop the winter chill:

The Coca Azteca

Coca Azteca
Bottlefork (441 N. Clark Street; 312-955-1900)

This adult hot chocolate gets kicked up a notch with the addition of chile de arbol, the beautiful red Mexican chilis thought to be derived from the cayenne pepper. Bottlefork, a New American bar and kitchen, specializes in locally sourced but globally inspired fare. The Coca Azteca combines Ancho Reyes, chile de arbol, Créme de Cacao and milk to create a velvety smooth treat.


Hot Milano

312 Chicago (136 N. LaSalle Street; 312-696-2420)

This cocktail from the Chicago Loop Italian restaurant includes George Dickel Rye Whisky – made with rye and malted barley and finished by chilling, then charcoal mellowing – which gives it a subtle hint of spice. Mixed with hot water and sweetened with honey cinnamon syrup, along with some Zucca, the Hot Milano is a wonderfully layered and aromatic elixir. (Try it with their fresh baked panettone!)


The Todds

The Todds

Longman & Eagle (2657 N. Kedzie; 773-276-7110)

Longman and Eagle’s “The Todds” is their take on a traditional hot toddy. The Logan Square farm-to-table restaurant handcrafts their house version with Kentucky bourbon, Tennessee whisky, peach rooibos tea, ginger, cinnamon and lemon. We can’t think of anything better to sip from a mug in winter.


Hot Buttered Rum

Hot Buttered Rum
Hot Buttered Rum

Scofflaw (3201 W. Armitage Avenue; 773-252-9700)

Another holiday season favorite is hot buttered rum and, even though Scofflaw focuses on gin cocktails, they’ve extended their menu to include this delicious brew that is perfect for the coldest days of the year. Their drink is made with Banks Golden Age rum, butter, spices, and Cruzan Black Strap. Buttery, sweet and, warm indeed.


The Oolong

The Oolong

The Aviary (955 W. Fulton Market)

This Fulton Market hot spot is known for the swanky intricacy of its cocktails creations. If you’re looking to indulge all your senses, try The Oolong, a hot cocktail served in a beverage dispenser that allows fresh fruit, herbs and fruit brandy to continue their infusion after serving, warmed over a Bunsen burner until you’re ready to pour yourself a drink. Obviously, each serving will taste just a little different as the concoction takes on new flavors. It’s truly a sight to see.


Walk of Shame

The Walk of Shame

CH Distillery (564 W. Randolph Street; 312-707-8780)

This West Loop lounge specializes in sourcing cocktails from their very own on-site vodka stills. In this particular cocktail’s case, however, CH Distillery combines CH Bourbon, Dark Matter coffee liqueur and egg, topped with a light dusting of dark chocolate shavings. It’s strong and chocolatey, with a nice dose of coffee flavor.

About Sandra Trevino

Sandra Trevino is a Chicago journalist and the founder of Enchufate, a website dedicated to all things Latin alternative. You can listen to her radio broadcasts every Friday morning on 91.1FM and the 2nd/4th Monday of the month via Lumpen Radio on 105.5FM. When she’s not writing or on the radio, you can find her playing music at different venues across the city as part of DJ duo The Ponderers.