Summer Cocktails for Chicago Patio Season

We explore some gin, vodka, and tequila summer cocktails with three Chicago bartenders, share their favorite summertime drink recipes, and tips on how to mix a cocktail correctly for your next outdoor BBQ/dinner party.

Alternatively, you may wish to spend the next five months sitting on huge patios and let the pros do the cocktail making; to that end, these three Chicago stars all work at bars with patios and outdoor seating that afford magnificent views of Chicago.

Summer Cocktails #1: Cassie’s Rio Grande Michelada Recipe

Michelada summer cocktails | Howells & Hood patio | ChicagoCassie Levy-Roseroot has recently shaken (and stirred) things up with some new summer cocktails at Howells & Hood. She asked her bartenders to submit their own cocktail recipes, and the best were chosen to join the summer cocktail menu. Cassie really wanted to have the team involved in the cocktail crafting process, and to be educated and passionate about the drinks they work with. Her favorite summer cocktail is the Rio Grande Michelada (from bartender Stephen Ashurst).

Recipe and Technique

1.5oz Cazadores tequila
1.5oz Bloody Mary mix (make your own, or H&H recommend Zing Zang)
0.5oz fresh lime juice
2oz beer float (H&H use Metropolitan’s Flywheel Bright, a bright German-style lager)

Rim a pint glass with a blend of kosher salt, paprika, sugar and celery salt. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour the first three ingredients over. Shake hard, and pour into the pint glass, then top with the beer.

The drink is garnished with a house made bologna stick and a lime wheel, and also comes with a 6oz Flywheel Bright beer back (Howells & Hood is also famous for having the biggest beer selection in Chicago)

Pro Tip

Cassie: “Get the basics right first. Having the correct tools and using the correct measurements are a good first step towards making a good cocktail.”

Summer Cocktails #2: Angela’s Ginger Jala-tini Recipe

Ginger Jalapeno Martini summer cocktails | South Branch patio | ChicagoThe cocktail specialist over at South Branch is Angela Lowry, who helps shape their seasonally updated menu. South Branch is a great place for trying summer cocktails on the patio, overlooking the Chicago river. Angela chose the Ginger Jala-tini as her perfect summer drink, having devised it for South Branch last year and seeing it become one of the most popular cocktails for the summer season.

Recipe and Technique

2oz Tito’s Vodka
0.5oz housemade pickled ginger syrup
0.5oz fresh lime juice

Slice a jalapeño pepper and remove seeds. Add one ring of jalapeño along with the liquid ingredients into a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Shake. Strain into a martini glass. Garnish with one fresh ring of jalapeño.

Pro Tip

Angela: “De-seeding the jalapeño before you shake the drink is very important.”

Summer Cocktails #1: Sam’s Grant Park Fizz Recipe

Grant Park Gin Fizz summer cocktails | Sweetwater patio | ChicagoSam Scholl recently re-designed the cocktail menu at Sweetwater ready for the summer season. She chose to go with modern summer cocktails at Sweetwater, and linked them all together with unique Chicago-based names. While trying to include a variety of base spirits to please the wide variety of Sweetwater customers, Sam’s favorite summer drink recipe is the gin-based Grant Park Fizz.

Recipe and Technique

1.5oz Hendrick’s Gin
1oz housemade ginger simple syrup
1oz fresh lime juice

Peel a one-inch thick slice of cucumber. Add to a shaker along with the simple syrup, lime juice and gin, and muddle. Add ice, and shake. Strain mixture into a glass tumbler, top with soda, and garnish with a piece of cucumber (skin on, this time).

Pro Tip

Sam: “Peel any cucumber that you will muddle into this drink, because the skin is very bitter and will make the drink take on a bitter taste. Leaving the skin on for garnish adds that nice colorful pop of green.”

We will feature more cocktail tips and education throughout the year, so subscribe to our posts and check back each week.


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