What is brunch without a little booze? And this being winter, a little booze is always a welcome distraction from the season. When it comes to imbibing at brunch, you could stick with coffee and orange juice, but the weekend repast is just so much more satisfying with a brunch cocktail or two. From inventive Bloody Marys to coffee-infused cocktails, here are our picks for Chicago's most essential boozy brunch beverages.
Southport & Irving: Easily one of the most underrated gems in Chicago, especially for cocktails, Southport & Irving features some of the best and booziest brunch sips in the city. Swing by on the weekend for seasonal libations galore — right now that means cozy creations like the Warming House, a hot chocolate cocktail with oat whiskey, Wondermint liqueur, dry sherry and toasted marshmallow; Irish Coffee with demerara, house coffee and creme de cacao-whipped cream; and a cardamom-spiced Hot Toddy with Old Forester, allspice dram, honey and Darjeeling.
Gather: Lincoln Square’s quintessential neighborhood go-to, Gather features lots of beverage choices at brunch. These include lots of playful twists on classic flavors and drinks, like the Brown Derby made with bourbon, grapefruit and honey syrup, the Tangled Up in Blue with gin, sparkling wine, Aperol, lemon and blueberries, and the Sunny Side of the Mountain with rye, Genepy Des Alps liqueur, peach-chamomile syrup, lemon and fresh rosemary.
Pl-zen: Nothing goes better with chilaquiles and chorizo skillets than a tangy tamarind margarita in the morning. Or a creamy mezcal-spiked horchata. Or a tequila tipple with chile syrup and mango puree, which has so much fresh fruit it’s basically healthy.
Flo: Brunch and shots don't usually go together, unless you're a real party animal. But at this Mexican-accented West Town staple, you'd be wise to think twice. The restaurant does a nice "breakfast shot" by mixing house bacon-infused bourbon with butterscotch Schnapps. It's served with an orange juice chase.
MAD Social: If bottomless Bloody Marys and mimosas are your thing, you can’t beat this West Loop haunt. In addition to some impressively potent cocktails (try the A.B.C., with cinnamon-infused bourbon, apple shrub, Licor 43 and apple bitters), the restaurant features all-you-can-drink Bloodies and mimosas for a scant $25.
Uncommon Ground: Aptly, you can expected a bunch of uncommon brunch libations at Uncommon Ground. Try the Sienna Sunrise, a perky blend of rum, Aperol, orange liqueur and lime. Or The Hayride is especially apropos for winter, made with house-infused spice rum, local apple cider and ginger syrup, served warm in a mug.