11 Drinks of Christmas in Chicago | Midwest Living

11 Drinks of Christmas in Chicago

Spiced cocktails and warming brews provide fun ways to savor the season throughout Chicago.
The bar at The Berghoff. Photo courtesy of The Berghoff.
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The golden apple at Shanghai Terrace. Photo courtesy of The Peninsula Chicago.
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The Berghoff may be best known for German beer and Weiner schnitzel, but this Loop mainstay also was Chicago’s first to serve liquor post-Prohibition. Those years of experience show on the drinks menu. Try the frosty Holiday Hopper martini, made with crème de menthe and vanilla ice cream, or the smooth amaretto and vanilla-vodka Eggnog Martini. Ginger beer and a cinnamon stick lend the spiked Spicy Gingerman its cookielike flavor, and cranberry juice gives the Grand Mariner-spiked La Vie En Rouge its crimson hue. (312) 427-3170; theberghoff.com

RM Champagne Salon pops the cork on a variety of sparkling wines served in a French-chic bar in the West Loop neighborhood. Down-to-earth servers chat about bubbly easily with novices and experts alike. Pair a glass with a plate of bite-size desserts for a posh girls’ night out. (312) 243-1199; rmchampagnesalon.com

Shanghai Terrace, The Peninsula hotel’s swank Shanghai-inspired restaurant, crowns its exotic Golden Apple cocktail with flecks of 24-karat gold (along with gingery Absolut Orient Apple and Chateau Laribotte’s sweet white Sauterne for $24). Grab a seat by the window to watch skaters at the hotel’s outdoor ice rink. (312) 337-2888; peninsula.com/chicago

Koval Distillery offers $10 tours, complete with tastings, in its Ravenswood facility. Learn about different types of whiskey, then sample some of their single-grain Lion’s Pride organic whiskeys, made from oat, rye, wheat or spelt and aged in oak barrels. (312) 878-7988; koval-distillery.com

The Violet Hour’s house rules (No. 1: No cell phones) help set the mood for sipping the throwback or experimental cocktails. The wait for a seat at this Wicker Park speakeasy may be long, but patience pays off with the first taste of a whiskey-based Old-Fashioned. (773) 252-1500; theviolethour.com

Palm Court’s tradition-steeped afternoon tea ($40) features just about everything you’d expect: finger sandwiches, fresh baked pastries and a vast tea menu. Dressed for the holidays, the elegant dining room awaits in The Drake Hotel just off North Michigan Avenue. Carolers add a sweet touch. (312) 787-2200; thedrakehotel.com

Julius Meinl Viennese cafes’ creamy hot chocolate (70 percent cocoa and steamed milk) will have you shunning packets. You’ll find the Viennese-style coffeehouses in Lincoln Square, Ravenswood and the Southport Corridor. northamerica.meinl.com

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum hosts Chicago’s only indoor farmers market (the Green City Market), where Seedling Enterprises from Michigan sells hot apple cider. (773) 880-1266; greencitymarket.org

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