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The "Tommy Gun" at GreenRiver
The "Tommy Gun" at GreenRiver
Courtesy of GreenRiver

13 Spots Stepping Up Their Cocktail Game with House-Infused Spirits

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The "Tommy Gun" at GreenRiver
| Courtesy of GreenRiver

Infusing spirits with flavors is not only fun, it's also a practical option for bartenders and discerning at-home cocktail-crafters who are looking to experiment a bit. An infused spirit can completely change the taste of a traditional drink, and even add some flair to seasonal options. For those interested in tasting the difference, here are 13 spots around Chicago infusing some extra oomph into their cocktails.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Fish Bar

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2956 N Sheffield Ave
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 687-8177
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The cheekily named "Smokeshow" cocktail at Fish Bar offers a nice kick thanks to its jalapeno-infused Lunazul Tequila, which is mixed with Vida Mezcal, hibiscus, and lime.

Barry Brecheisen

2. GreenRiver

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259 E Erie St Fl 18
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 337-0101
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Opened by the team behind NYC’s praise-baiting Dead Rabbit, GreenRiver became one of Chicago’s most-polished cocktail spots even before it got time to hit its stride. Come for the great bites and head-turning views, but stay for the "Tommy Gun," which is made with pineapple-infused Kappa Pisco, Garam Masala, lime juice, and aromatic bitters.

Courtesy of GreenRiver

3. Rec Room

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18 W Hubbard St
Chicago, IL 60654
(773) 397-3002
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Rec Room is the place to go if you’re in River North but don’t want to feel like you’re in River North. The hard-partying basement bar features a variety of fun, simple cocktails, as well as house-infused vodka of the day. Also try the "Snake ‘Em on Down" cocktail, made with basil-infused vodka, house-made strawberry-basil soda, and lime.

4. Bordel

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1721 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622
(773) 227-8600
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This secret-ish Ukrainian Village cocktail lounge has no problem letting its hair down and having some fun—as evidenced by its Banana Foster Old Fashioned. It’s made with banana-infused Irish whiskey, brown sugar, cinnamon, and bitters.

5. River Roast

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315 N La Salle Dr
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 822-0100
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Stunning views, picturesque entrees, and inventive vegetarian-dishes are all great reasons to visit River Roast. The "Hemingway’s Muse" cocktail is just added incentive, and it’s made with mint-and-lime infused Brugal Rum, Demerara sugar, and club soda.

Marc Much

6. Adamus

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10 S Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60603
(312) 372-7696
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The stunning Silversmith Hotel lounge may look like a million bucks, but it also offers a great weekday happy-hour menu that’s easy on the wallet. You can also stop in for brunch and order up the "Monster of the Midway Bloody Mary," which is made with bacon-infused Grey Goose, a house-made bloody mix, and fourteen different garnishes.

7. Bread & Wine

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3732 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 866-5266
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A play on the dark and stormy, Bread & Wine’s "Second City Storm" is made with rum that’s infused with toasted pecans, cinnamon, and vanilla bean. The complex spirit is buttressed with sassafras simple-syrup, lime, Jamaican-jerk bitters, and ginger beer.

8. Presidio

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1749 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 697-3315
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A fun, exotic mix of equator-hugging flavors, Presidio’s "Pisco Punch #1" mixes Thai-chili-infused Pisco with mango, lime, and coconut.

Marc Much

9. Southport & Irving

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4000 N Southport Ave
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 857-2890
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It can be easy to get lost among the shuffle of cocktail-hotspot openings. Nevertheless, the underrated SIP (Southport & Irving) is quietly crafting some interesting drinks, including the "One More Please." It’s made with mushroom-infused Plantation Original Dark Rum, Skadi Aquavit, carrot-beet shrubs, lemon, egg-white, absinthe, and club soda.

Courtesy of SIP

10. Cantina Laredo

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508 N State St
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 955-0014
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Available in citrus and strawberry flavors, Cantina Laredo’s Hatch margaritas feature Avión Silver Tequila infused with Hatch chile peppers.

Courtesy of Cantina Laredo

11. Barley & Brass

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2015 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622
(312) 763-9600
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Hey, we’re not going to sweat you for downing a shot of Fireball once in a while. However, like some other bars, Barley & Brass makes its own cinnamon-infused whiskey in-house, which serves as a tastier, more-respectable option.

Marc Much

12. Jake Melnick's Corner Tap

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41 E Superior St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 266-0400
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At Jake Melnick’s, beverage director Emilie Sharboneau gets hands-on by infusing Modest Vodka with vanilla beans in-house. The spirit is featured in the "Get Toasted" cocktail, which is also made with Vander Mill Cider and a splash of cranberry.

Courtesy of Jake Melnick's Corner Tap

13. Tavern on Rush

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1031 N Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 664-9600
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Simple but packing a serious punch, Tavern on Rush’s pineapple-infused Absolut Vodka is popular among patrons who either order it shaken up in a martini glass or on the rocks.

Courtesy of Tavern on Rush

1. Fish Bar

2956 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
Barry Brecheisen

The cheekily named "Smokeshow" cocktail at Fish Bar offers a nice kick thanks to its jalapeno-infused Lunazul Tequila, which is mixed with Vida Mezcal, hibiscus, and lime.

2956 N Sheffield Ave
Chicago, IL 60657

2. GreenRiver

259 E Erie St Fl 18, Chicago, IL 60611
Courtesy of GreenRiver

Opened by the team behind NYC’s praise-baiting Dead Rabbit, GreenRiver became one of Chicago’s most-polished cocktail spots even before it got time to hit its stride. Come for the great bites and head-turning views, but stay for the "Tommy Gun," which is made with pineapple-infused Kappa Pisco, Garam Masala, lime juice, and aromatic bitters.

259 E Erie St Fl 18
Chicago, IL 60611

3. Rec Room

18 W Hubbard St, Chicago, IL 60654

Rec Room is the place to go if you’re in River North but don’t want to feel like you’re in River North. The hard-partying basement bar features a variety of fun, simple cocktails, as well as house-infused vodka of the day. Also try the "Snake ‘Em on Down" cocktail, made with basil-infused vodka, house-made strawberry-basil soda, and lime.

18 W Hubbard St
Chicago, IL 60654

4. Bordel

1721 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622

This secret-ish Ukrainian Village cocktail lounge has no problem letting its hair down and having some fun—as evidenced by its Banana Foster Old Fashioned. It’s made with banana-infused Irish whiskey, brown sugar, cinnamon, and bitters.

1721 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622

5. River Roast

315 N La Salle Dr, Chicago, IL 60654
Marc Much

Stunning views, picturesque entrees, and inventive vegetarian-dishes are all great reasons to visit River Roast. The "Hemingway’s Muse" cocktail is just added incentive, and it’s made with mint-and-lime infused Brugal Rum, Demerara sugar, and club soda.

315 N La Salle Dr
Chicago, IL 60654

6. Adamus

10 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

The stunning Silversmith Hotel lounge may look like a million bucks, but it also offers a great weekday happy-hour menu that’s easy on the wallet. You can also stop in for brunch and order up the "Monster of the Midway Bloody Mary," which is made with bacon-infused Grey Goose, a house-made bloody mix, and fourteen different garnishes.

10 S Wabash Ave
Chicago, IL 60603

7. Bread & Wine

3732 W Irving Park Rd, Chicago, IL 60618

A play on the dark and stormy, Bread & Wine’s "Second City Storm" is made with rum that’s infused with toasted pecans, cinnamon, and vanilla bean. The complex spirit is buttressed with sassafras simple-syrup, lime, Jamaican-jerk bitters, and ginger beer.

3732 W Irving Park Rd
Chicago, IL 60618

8. Presidio

1749 N Damen Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Marc Much

A fun, exotic mix of equator-hugging flavors, Presidio’s "Pisco Punch #1" mixes Thai-chili-infused Pisco with mango, lime, and coconut.

1749 N Damen Ave
Chicago, IL 60647

9. Southport & Irving

4000 N Southport Ave, Chicago, IL 60613
Courtesy of SIP

It can be easy to get lost among the shuffle of cocktail-hotspot openings. Nevertheless, the underrated SIP (Southport & Irving) is quietly crafting some interesting drinks, including the "One More Please." It’s made with mushroom-infused Plantation Original Dark Rum, Skadi Aquavit, carrot-beet shrubs, lemon, egg-white, absinthe, and club soda.

4000 N Southport Ave
Chicago, IL 60613

10. Cantina Laredo

508 N State St, Chicago, IL 60654
Courtesy of Cantina Laredo

Available in citrus and strawberry flavors, Cantina Laredo’s Hatch margaritas feature Avión Silver Tequila infused with Hatch chile peppers.

508 N State St
Chicago, IL 60654

11. Barley & Brass

2015 W Division St, Chicago, IL 60622
Marc Much

Hey, we’re not going to sweat you for downing a shot of Fireball once in a while. However, like some other bars, Barley & Brass makes its own cinnamon-infused whiskey in-house, which serves as a tastier, more-respectable option.

2015 W Division St
Chicago, IL 60622

12. Jake Melnick's Corner Tap

41 E Superior St, Chicago, IL 60611
Courtesy of Jake Melnick's Corner Tap

At Jake Melnick’s, beverage director Emilie Sharboneau gets hands-on by infusing Modest Vodka with vanilla beans in-house. The spirit is featured in the "Get Toasted" cocktail, which is also made with Vander Mill Cider and a splash of cranberry.

41 E Superior St
Chicago, IL 60611

13. Tavern on Rush

1031 N Rush St, Chicago, IL 60611
Courtesy of Tavern on Rush

Simple but packing a serious punch, Tavern on Rush’s pineapple-infused Absolut Vodka is popular among patrons who either order it shaken up in a martini glass or on the rocks.

1031 N Rush St
Chicago, IL 60611

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