Spring Cocktails in Chicago and the North Shore

As we all gradually thaw out, thoughts of refreshing and lively libations dance in our heads.

Use this as a guide to those warmer weather drinks and let’s ring in some sunnier days collectively. We’ve had our fair share of the longest, snowiest winter in memory and deserve one of these cocktails right quick.

In Chicago 


This new contender from Billy Dec’s Rockit Ranch  has fun with both classic cocktails and a line-up of Brandon Phillips’ (of the Drawing Room) Bottlefork Originals for the more adventurous. The Loft on Broadway, for instance, is a springy blend of Aylesbury Duck Vodka, Liqueur de Violette, Caparno Bianco, lemon & housemade syrup. 441 N. Clark St., 312-955-1900

The Brixton  

Start the berry season early with this delightful spin on a Moscow Mule. Huckleberries are the stars in the Mule Skinner Blues, flattered with a bit of fresh mint, lime, ginger, Falernum and Goslings dark rum. Since this is the third restaurant in this space in as many years, we’re glad the drinks are already standing out. 5420 N. Clark St., 773-961-7358


With the weather warming up, it’s time to shift into summer fruits. Try their Bellini, a fizzy blend of Prosecco, Crème de Pêche, peach puree, and a hint of bitters. Pool time, anyone? 671 N. St. Clair St., 312-642-1800


It’s a quick and easy trip into Roscoe Village and there’s always a newcomer here worth trying, like the Roscoe Village Rendezvous. It’s a lovely mix of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice, muddled basil, fresh lemon, almond syrup, cranberry bitters, Chambord and Cointreau. 2000 W. Roscoe St., 773-697-7965

Photo courtesy of Commonwealth 


This Lincoln Park newcomer’s focus is pairing, the goal being that the menu flavors enhance, complement or uniquely contrast with each other. This makes for a fun dining experience and the Four Grapes can get your started as you settle in for the journey: Campo de Encanto Pisco, passion fruit, honey, egg white and cranberry ice. 1982 N. Halsted St., 773-935-1000


Float away at this funky-cool spot in the Gold Coast neighborhood. Welcome the new season with the Arousal of the Senses: vodka, hibiscus-rosehip iced tea, lemongrass syrup and fresh lime and guava juice. 1009 N. Rush St., 312-660-3111

Perennial Virant 

It always feels light and airy at this cheerful Lincoln Park spot. Brunch is especially nice before or after a walk in the park. Why not jazz up your morning with the #22: Grey Goose vodka, grapefruit juice, Dolin Blanc, a hint of lemon and soda. 1800 N. Lincoln Ave., 312-981-7070


The intriguing New American cuisine here at this Lakeview spot is reason enough to stop in. And while the food is elegantly presented (and all gluten free!), no reason you can’t toast spring with their take on a mint julep, featuring Bulleit bourbon, mint, ginger and Thai chiles. 2873 N. Broadway St., 773-770-3527

TWO Restaurant  

Mixologist Graham Crowe helps the transition into spring with The Gin Bender, his take on a Sazerac: Death’s Door Gin, Orangerie (scotch infused with orange, cassia and clove) and Vermouth Bianco, served in a glass swirled with Absinthe. 1132 W. Grand Ave., 312-624-8363

Photo courtesy of Two Restaurant   

In the Suburbs

27 Live 

Evanston’s lively restaurant and entertainment venue features live music, along with Modern American cuisine downstairs and the Whiskey Lounge upstairs. Order your favorite whiskey cocktail with a shot of their personal barrel of F.E.W Spirits Bourbon, or just try it on the rocks, and support your local distillery. 1012 Church St., Evanston, 855-927-5483  

Depot Nuevo  

We hope that this colorful Wilmette Mexican spot will have their outdoor seating open in no time. What a perfect way to bring in the spring with their fresh Avocado and Cucumber Margarita, strained and shaken into a delightful savory cocktail. 1139 Wilmette Ave.,Wilmette, 847-251-3111


There’s good energy coming out of this Glencoe favorite. As we start planning our gardens, the Cucumber Collins also comes to mind with its fresh cucumber, Prairie Organic Cucumber Vodka, Cocchi Americano, lime and bitters. Just right. 694 Vernon Ave., Glencoe, 847-835-8100


This longstanding French bistro invites you to crack a hard-boiled egg, shake on a little salt and order a calming cocktail. The fruitiest of all: a simple Pomegranate Martini served straight up, but ice cold. This is not a sweet, cloying Cosmo but rather a subtle take on it with a twist of lemon. 301 Waukegan Ave., Highwood, 847-433-1078

Prairie Grass Café  

The recipe for the warm-weather cocktail is a house treasure here at Prairie Grass Café. OwnerSarah Stegner says the Rhubarita shouts “spring” with intense rhubarb flavors and the fun of a margarita. House-made rhubarb juice blends seamlessly with Hornitos tequila and Cointreau. It gets a shake and a garnish of a gorgeous magenta rhubarb stalk. 601 Skokie Blvd., Northbrook, 847-205-4433


Trifecta Grill  

Located in the heart of Winnetka, this cute spot offers small plates and drinks to go along. Rum drinks always remind us of sunny beaches and this one is no exception. The Trifecta Tai packs a real three-rum punch with Blackwell jamaican rum, Cruzan coconut rum, Captain Morgan spiced rum, amaretto liqueur, pineapple, fresh orange and Aperol. 501 Chestnut St., Winnetka, 847-441-1700

Ward Eight  

Evanstonians rejoice to have this very exciting cocktail lounge in their neck of the woods. Celebrate with the wonderfully citrus Momisette: North Shore Distillery Sirene Absinthe, House Orgeat, lemon and mineral water. 629 Howard St., Evanston, 847-420-7353


Top photo: Lion’s Tail at Ward Eight

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