Don’t Cry for Me, Margarita! Great Cocktails to Imbibe

Is there any news—good, bad or ugly—that isn’t made better by a great cocktail?

There’s no shortage of bars in the Chicago ‘burbs, and you can always scare up a gin & tonic or a rum & (diet) Coke. But where are the best places to go for a Ladies’ Night Out or Date Night? And what should you order when you get there?

Here are some North Shore cocktails with style and flair. Now all you have to do is grab a friend (or your squeeze), head out and hit the bars. But, please. No shots. Have some decorum!

Marvelous Martinis:

Frida Kahlo Dessert Martini at Uncommon Ground (Rogers Park/Chicago) – Vanilla bean vodka, Omahene fair trade chocolate, Thatcher’s organic dark chocolate liqueur, spicy cinnamon-cayenne syrup ($10). It’s an ending. It’s a beginning. It’s the beginning of the end.

Quince Martini at Quince (Evanston) – Vodka, pear puree, apple pucker, and quince ($11). Not too sweet, not too tart, just right. Goldilocks would love it.

Bluegrass Martini at Bluegrass (Highland Park) – Vox vodka, blueberry schnapps with a blueberry garnish ($9). This is what Violet Beauregarde drank when she grew up. Will not turn you into a blueberry.

Ocean Trust Martini at Bonefish Grill (Skokie) – Absolut Citron, OJ and fresh mango ($7.90). For each martini sold, they donate $1 to the Ocean Trust, an ocean conservation foundation building partnerships for the environment. Drink for a good cause!

Wild Raspberry Cosmo at Wildfire (Glenview, Linolnshire) – Skyy infusions raspberry vodka, Triple Sec, cranberry juice and raspberry syrup ($9.75). I’m so tired of Cosmos, but I did want something red …

Pom Lemon Drop at Birch River Grill (Arlington Heights) – Grey Goose Citron, pomegranate juice, sour mix and muddled lemons ($9). One of my faves, ‘cuz pomegranate is filled with antioxidants.

Muy Bueno Margaritas:

Passion Fruit Margaritas at Hot Tamales (Highland Park)  – Passion fruit puree, gold tequila, lime juice and triple sec ($7). Think of all the beneficial vitamins in these!

Escalade Margarita at Depot Nuevo (Wilmette) – Don Abraham Reposado tequila, Grand Marnier, OJ and limonada ($9). Although I wouldn’t say no to their Pomegranate Margarita … and I never have!

Mucho Mojitos:

The Classic Mojito at Miramar Bistro (Highwood) – Rum, mint, lime, sugar and club soda ($8.50). You might as well be in Havana.

Asian Pear Mojito at PF Chang’s China Bistro (Northbrook, Schaumburg) – Bacardi Limon, fresh mint, apple pucker and a hint of Asian pear ($8). Latino-Asian fusion at it’s liquid best.

Skinny Cool Cucumber Mojito at Kona Grill (Lincolnshire) – Rum, mint, club soda, lime, cucumber and Splenda ($6). Only 100 calories! This is the trifecta of cocktails: low calorie, cheap and refreshing.

Other:

Dark Side of the Moon at Lovell’s (Lake Forest) – Bacardi rum, cranberry juice, lemonade and a squeeze of lemon ($10). A few of these and you can listen to Pink Floyd for hours.

Tea It Up at RA Sushi (Glenview) – Sweet Carolina Sweet Tea Vodka, Zen green tea liqueur and lemonade ($8). The adult version of an Arnold Palmer, in a frosty pint glass. Fore!

Bees’ Knees at Prairie Grass (Northbrook) – Organic honey, lemon juice, Hendrick’s gin and a touch of Liquor 43, served up ($9). Feel like a flapper with this updated classic cocktail from the Roaring ‘20s.

Special Mention:

The Boozesicles at Prairie Grass – At $6, they’re adult popsicles with a kick. Try the Blueberry Crème with vanilla cognac, or the Lemon Crème with Absolut Citron. OMG.