Enjoying summer in the city often means getting outside, soaking up the sun, and cooling off with a refreshing drink. While there are plenty of spirit-free cocktails to imbibe, these options are more traditional and suitable for every age group. From milkshakes to mangonadas, the following thirst quenchers are perfect for the hottest season but still delicious all year round.Read More
12 Delightful Non-Alcoholic Summer Drinks in Chicago
These concoctions cool down the summer heat without booze
1. Chicago Diner
One of Chicago’s most popular vegan spots creates beverages that people of all ages can cool off with. The menu features meatless versions of classic diner grub and diners won’t even miss dairy when they sip on the shakes. Thick and rich, they come in flavors like chocolate peanut butter, strawberry, and carrot cake. As an added bonus, several are also gluten-free. The diner has locations in Lakeview and Logan Square.
2. DMK Burger Bar
Michael Kornick and David Morton’s burger bar is not short on indulgences. Many diners go all out and complement the burgers and fries with a popular milkshake. Made using dairy from Petersen’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream in Oak Park, the thick and creamy treats are always offered in vanilla, chocolate, espresso, or peanut butter alongside a rotating monthly special.
3. Chiya Chai Cafe
Nepalese cuisine is the focus at Chiya Chai. Diners experience a variety of South Asian specialties, including the region’s beloved drink, masala chai. The spiced tea is served in a variety of flavors and during the hottest months, there are seasonal iced options like strawberry mint and blueberry lavender. Chiya Chai also now has a new location on the Chicago Riverwalk.
A Bucktown favorite since 1990, Irazu highlights Costa Rican cuisine in a cozy, open-air setting. A popular ending to the restaurant’s hearty Caribbean meals is to cap it off with one of the signature shakes. There are multiple flavors to choose from but the oatmeal is the best seller — a creamy mix of milk and raw oats that’s finished with a dusting of cinnamon.
5. Antique Taco
These homey taquerias in Wicker Park, Bridgeport, and Revival Food Hall in the Loop are known for “farmer’s market-style” tacos and an interesting selection of sides and drinks. Guests can wash down their food with an aguas fresca or horchata, the popular Mexican rice water that’s also available in the form of a rich milkshake.
Many diners are familiar with Cuban sandwiches, but there’s another refreshing specialty often overlooked – milkshakes. Called batidos, these light and creamy drinks feature tropical fruits blended with crushed ice and milk. Cafecito also offers iced cafe con leche and other coffee beverages at its multiple locations as well.
7. Real Good Stuff Co.
The local juice bar chain has expanded to more than 10 locations (mostly inside Whole Foods stores) so folks can get their healthy food fix all around town. The menu touts cold pressed juices, smoothies, and juice shots. Each drink is produced with locally-sourced and organic ingredients, and concoctions such as the “Juice Springsteen” (celery, apple, kale, Swiss chard, dandelion greens, parsley, ginger, lemon) are loaded with nutrients.
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DineAmic Hospitality Group’s dedicated dessert destination satisfies the sweet tooth with a number of over-the-top delights. Among them are “Cooler Chocolate Shakes,” which are essentially frozen hot chocolates dressed with accompaniments like Oreo crumbles, whipped cream, cotton candy, and bomboloni. Guests can also temper the sugar rush by adding CBD oil to their drinks for an extra $5. A second BomboBar storefront opened this summer in Old Town.
9. Mario's Italian Lemonade
Chicago, IL 60607
Some people say Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer. Chicagoans, though, base it on when this longstanding Taylor Street stand opens for the season. Mario’s is the city’s most well-known Italian ice purveyor and an essential place to check out when the temperatures rise. Cool off with a frozen treat; ices range from watermelon and cantaloupe to pina colada and chocolate, and they’re filled with chunks of real fruit. Expect lines, bring cash, and order a medium-sized cup (or bigger) to try more than one flavor.
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10. La Michoacana Premium
Colorful paletas lining the freezers are the eye-catching attraction at this Mexican dessert shop in Pilsen. However, the goodies don’t end there. In addition to frozen popsicles and ice cream, La Michoacana Premium offers a selection of aguas frescas — fresh fruit waters — as well as mangonada, a drink made with mango, shaved ice, chili powder, and chamoy sauce. There are multiple locations across the city including Hermosa.
11. Joy Yee
Bubble tea is available all over the city but this Chinatown restaurant was one of the first to capitalize on its popularity. Though the menu features cheap and sizeable Chinese staples, many guests visit for just the beverages. They’re blended with fruits, or other ingredients such as taro and avocado, and can be topped with chewy tapioca balls. There’s a walk-up window that helps expedite service, and Joy Yee also has multiple locations around Chicagoland.
12. Bingo Tea
Cheese tea, the trendy Taiwanese drink sweeping the globe, arrived in Chicago last year at this Chinatown café. While it may sound strange, the combination of iced tea topped with foam made from cream cheese, milk, and salt has become a big hit. Bingo sells the beverage in many different styles and flavors, with an option to add extras like tapioca balls, jellies, and more.