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8 Places For Meaty Cocktails in Chicago

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When Spanish jamón ibérico first arrived stateside almost six years ago, Adam Seger, then creating cocktails at Nacional 27, embarked on a culinary experiment.

Before then, meat from Spanish hogs were illegal in the U.S. But once lawmakers lifted the restriction, Seger procured a rare jamón leg and submerged it in Spanish brandy, leaving it alone for 72 hours. The results were pleasing to him.

"The brandy literally sucked up the complex, smoky flavor," Seger recalls, gushing about the aroma. "It was almost like an aged flavor from a good cheese."

Seger's experiments led to the creation of the "Ham and Cheese Sidecar," which he mixed with jamón-infused cognac, honey, cinnamon and manchego cheese. Cured meats, bacon especially, allow the liquor to absorb the flavor best, Seger says.

Others have now followed Seger's lead in using meat as a cocktail ingredient, but Seger—who since has founded HUM spirits, and now is a partner at Rare Botanical Bitters Co. and Rare Tea Syrups & Shrubberies—remembers the initial reaction from customers.

"People were just excited by the fact the real, proper jamón was finally in Chicago," he says. "But the cocktail was just another way to experience it. But a lot of them thought we must be nuts."

The ham and cheese cocktail even fascinated vegetarians, Seger adds. "When you get a vegetarian to eat meat through a cocktail, you know you're on to something," he says.

So in celebration of Eater's Five Days of Meat, here are eight Chicago-area watering holes where you can find a meaty cocktail.


—Ashok Selvam
· All The Five Days of Meat Coverage [-ECHI-]

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. The Southern

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1840 W North Ave
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 342-1840
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Maple Bacon Manhattan. Using house-infused bacon bourbon, North Country apple-smoked bacon, maple syrup and sweet vermouth, the Southern puts its spin on the old favorite. But that’s not all, the bartenders also will garnish Bloody Mary’s with andouille sausage, says general manager Marc Nichols.

2. Randolph Tavern

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188 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60601

The Stockyard. Randolph Tavern’s bacon-infused rye opens the door to several possibilities including their Stockyard, a cocktail that combines the aforementioned rye with absinthe rinse, bitters and a sugar cube.

3. Paddy Long's

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1028 W Diversey Pkwy
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 290-6988
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Bacon-infused Old Fashioned. Paddy Long’s offers an Old Fashioned made with bacon-infused Bulleit bourbon and exchanging the sugar found in a traditional Old Fashioned with maple syrup. Patrons always have a bevy of bacon options at Paddy’s, including Bloody Mary with a slice of bacon for weekend brunch.

1434 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 243-0477
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Bacon Bourbon Bloody Mary. Though some bartenders aren’t keen to swap out a traditional spirit for a meat-fused version on the fly, brunch favorite Flo allows diners order house made bacon bourbon in any of their three Bloody Mary selections.

5. The Dawson

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732 W. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 243-8955
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Golden Elephant. Vegetarians don’t despair. Plenty of bars use vegetarian ingredients, such as smoked ice in the Negroni at SideDoor, to give drinkers a guiltless fix of meat. Among them is the Dawson, where bartenders use barbecue bitters for the Golden Elephant, a concoction made with white tequila, mescal, lemon, mango and bitters. The barbecue bitters come from Sante Fe, NM-based The Bitter End and are made with orange peel, coffee beans, pepper, allspice, thyme, cumin, bay leaf, mustard seed and oregano.

6. Headquarters Beercade

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2833 N Sheffield Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 665-5660
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Bloody Mary with White Castle garnish. Using meats — such as a bacon or ham — as part of a Bloody Mary garnish isn’t anything novel. But the folks at Headquarters Beercade in Lakeview take it to the next level by dressing their Bloodies with White Castle sliders upon request.

7. Barbakoa

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1341 Butterfield Rd
Downers Grove, IL 60515

Smokey Joe. Seger touted the Smokey Joe, a tequila-based beverage featuring smoked chorizo, caramelized pineapple and sweet peppers.

8. Twisted Spoke

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501 N Ogden Ave
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 666-1500
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Bloody Queen and Bloody Franco. Over at the Twisted Spoke, it’s almost impossible to find a Bloody Mary without meat. The Spoke’s menu includes the Bloody Queen with lime-infused gin and a garnish featuring shrimp, green onions and the traditional celery. Meanwhile the Bloody Franco mixes in sherry made with chorizo along with green onions and a cherry peppers as garnish.

1. The Southern

1840 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Maple Bacon Manhattan. Using house-infused bacon bourbon, North Country apple-smoked bacon, maple syrup and sweet vermouth, the Southern puts its spin on the old favorite. But that’s not all, the bartenders also will garnish Bloody Mary’s with andouille sausage, says general manager Marc Nichols.

1840 W North Ave
Chicago, IL 60622

2. Randolph Tavern

188 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601

The Stockyard. Randolph Tavern’s bacon-infused rye opens the door to several possibilities including their Stockyard, a cocktail that combines the aforementioned rye with absinthe rinse, bitters and a sugar cube.

188 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60601

3. Paddy Long's

1028 W Diversey Pkwy, Chicago, IL 60614

Bacon-infused Old Fashioned. Paddy Long’s offers an Old Fashioned made with bacon-infused Bulleit bourbon and exchanging the sugar found in a traditional Old Fashioned with maple syrup. Patrons always have a bevy of bacon options at Paddy’s, including Bloody Mary with a slice of bacon for weekend brunch.

1028 W Diversey Pkwy
Chicago, IL 60614

4. Flo

1434 W Chicago Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

Bacon Bourbon Bloody Mary. Though some bartenders aren’t keen to swap out a traditional spirit for a meat-fused version on the fly, brunch favorite Flo allows diners order house made bacon bourbon in any of their three Bloody Mary selections.

1434 W Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60642

5. The Dawson

732 W. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60654

Golden Elephant. Vegetarians don’t despair. Plenty of bars use vegetarian ingredients, such as smoked ice in the Negroni at SideDoor, to give drinkers a guiltless fix of meat. Among them is the Dawson, where bartenders use barbecue bitters for the Golden Elephant, a concoction made with white tequila, mescal, lemon, mango and bitters. The barbecue bitters come from Sante Fe, NM-based The Bitter End and are made with orange peel, coffee beans, pepper, allspice, thyme, cumin, bay leaf, mustard seed and oregano.

732 W. Grand Ave.
Chicago, IL 60654

6. Headquarters Beercade

2833 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL 60657

Bloody Mary with White Castle garnish. Using meats — such as a bacon or ham — as part of a Bloody Mary garnish isn’t anything novel. But the folks at Headquarters Beercade in Lakeview take it to the next level by dressing their Bloodies with White Castle sliders upon request.

2833 N Sheffield Ave
Chicago, IL 60657

7. Barbakoa

1341 Butterfield Rd, Downers Grove, IL 60515

Smokey Joe. Seger touted the Smokey Joe, a tequila-based beverage featuring smoked chorizo, caramelized pineapple and sweet peppers.

1341 Butterfield Rd
Downers Grove, IL 60515

8. Twisted Spoke

501 N Ogden Ave, Chicago, IL 60642

Bloody Queen and Bloody Franco. Over at the Twisted Spoke, it’s almost impossible to find a Bloody Mary without meat. The Spoke’s menu includes the Bloody Queen with lime-infused gin and a garnish featuring shrimp, green onions and the traditional celery. Meanwhile the Bloody Franco mixes in sherry made with chorizo along with green onions and a cherry peppers as garnish.

501 N Ogden Ave
Chicago, IL 60642

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