Frozen booziness awaits at Cactus Bar and Grill, in the Loop. See more photos below.
My friend Joan, recently back from a vacation in Cuba, messaged me on Facebook last week: “Amalie—serious work-related question. Where can I find a good frozen daiquiri in Chicago? We had so many good ones on our trip, but it seems every place here tells me they don’t have a blender!”
The first thing that came to mind was my blowout day during last year’s Air & Water Show at Oak Street Beachstro (now known as the more no-nonsense Oak Street Beach Food + Drink and managed by Levy Restaurants), where I drank roughly six of something swirly and frozen called the Miami Vice. A quick check of the current menu reveals a similar drink, the Miami Swat (half colada, half daiquiri; $12), which Joan and I plan to taste-test next week—you know, once it cools down enough to breathe.
Otherwise, I was drawing a blank on recommendations for my daiquiri-deficient friend, especially given the closing earlier this summer of my go-to Tiki spot, Trader Vic’s.
So yesterday, with temps rising and heat advisories proliferating, I reached out to my network of bar contacts, Facebook friends, and known fans of drink umbrellas to find out where else to go for slushy cocktails. Herewith, the best of my findings, from touristy kitsch (it’s summer, after all) to icily serious:
• During its live-music-filled Polynesian Fridays starting at 6 p.m., the aforementioned Oak Street Food + Drink pours specials including Watermelon Lemongrass Punch ($8).
• That North Avenue Beach bastion of teeny bikinis and tattoo flaunting, Castaways, is offering a frozen mango margarita made with Montezuma tequila, sweet and sour mix, and mango juice for $7.50.
• At the Loop’s Cactus Bar and Grill, a self-proclaimed margarita haven and “perfect match for Parrotheads,” members of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band will perform this Sunday ($10 in advance, $20 at the door, VIP tables available) while patrons sip $5 Margaritaville Mango Margaritas and Rum Runners.
• Classic is king at Moe’s Cantina in Wrigleyville, where the Moe’s Margarita ($9) is a frozen blend of Sauza Blue tequila, triple sec, and sweet and sour mix, with a salted rim.
• Does this sound good? I can’t decide: The Black & Green Margarita ($8) at Taco Joint Urban Taqueria and Cantina in Lincoln Park is made by pouring beer—specifically, Negra Modelo—over a frozen marg made with Lunazul Blanco tequila, triple sec, and lime juice (see the photo below).
• At the Crossing in Lake View, the Snow Cone, a frozen Svedka vodka–infused concoction involving cherries, citrus, raspberries, and vanilla, is currently on special for $6.
• Public House in River North is dishing up three scoops of Maker’s Mark gelato for $8.
• They’re not frozen, but the cocktails at Thursday night’s Green City Market Chefs’ BBQ Benefit will be served by mixologists (Matty Eggleston of Bar Deville, Christine McQuaid of Watershed, and Ben Schiller of Boka, among others), who all had one thing in mind when writing their recipes for the event: summer. Check out their drinks in the Wirtz Beverage tent; benefit tickets are $100.
• Champagne on ice? When it’s this hot out, why not? At Luxbar in the Gold Coast, $16 gets you a glass of Moët’s new Ice Impérial, designed to be served on the rocks. Buy a glass (or a bottle) now through September 15, and you’ll be entered in a raffle to win dinner for ten.
• It’s a celebratory drink for sure ($33!), but I was blown away by The Terrace at Trump’s Tahiti Traveler: a blend of Belvedere vodka, Beefeater 24 gin, 10 Cane light rum, Cruzan dark rum, Disaronno amaretto, triple sec, and grapefruit, pineapple, and orange juices that’s been souped up with liquid nitrogen, served in a hollowed-out pineapple, and garnished with an umbrella. That drink was such an event, I even took a picture (see below).