Welcome to the second installment of our travel series, where Cocktail Builder hops around the country to find the hottest cocktails from newly opened bars. (After all, who better to provide a little libation inspiration than some of the most sought-after bartenders in the nation?) Not only are we bringing you information on where to go and what to order, but we’ll even give you the recipes to create these cocktails from the comfort of your very own home.
Our next stop: The Windy City.
From Paul McGee (aka Chicago’s Best Bartender for four of the last five years) comes the latest hotspot, Lost Lake. Paul’s been credited for sparking the city’s tiki revival during his time at Three Dots and a Dash, so it’s no surprise that his recent endeavor follows a similar theme. The location evokes both the “tropical escapism of 1930s Hollywood” and the “island aesthetic of the world’s first tiki bar.” Grab a seat alongside the banana leaf wallpaper and order the bar’s eponymous drink: a sweet, fruity, and bitter blend of rum, lime, passionfruit, pineapple, and Campari. See recipe
Created by hospitality developer Daniel Alonso, Bordel is a hidden cocktail lounge inspired by the bohemian spirit of the first cabarets in the Latin Quarter of Paris. The goal of the bar’s staff is to “focus on elevating the craft of the cocktail … without arrogance or haughtiness.” We find it hard to believe the last part of that sentence, seeing as how we’d feel pretty elite sipping on libations like the Prescription Sazerac, a twist on the old classic made with cognac, rye, and Demerara syrup. See recipe
Want to really do summer up right? Take a cue from Chicago’s Expat, a seasonal, al fresco-only patio from the people behind Nellcôte and Old Town Social. We’re all about a raw bar and sparkling rosé, but what really brings us here are the boozy sno-cones. These childhood-inspired treats are nostalgically delightful… with an adult spin, naturally. See recipe
Want to take your sno-cone game up a notch? (Who doesn’t?) Hawaiian Shaved Ice has a pretty incredible party pack, complete with the machine and cups. We’ll forgo the pack’s non-alcoholic syrup and indulge in a boozy version instead.
Photo credit: Lost Lake Tiki Bar