Wildly exotic ingredients and bold, unexpected flavors have become all but de rigueur among Chicago mixologists. But sometimes the best cocktail is the one that goes down nice and smooth.

That’s exactly how I’d describe the Kit Marlowe Conspiracy ($11, above) at the Loyalist, the minimalist subterranean companion to the upscale restaurant Smyth. Conceived by bartender Roger Landes, the drink is a blend of gin, white wine, Earl Grey tea, housemade orange bitters, and génépi, a floral Alpine apéritif. And while it’s decidedly sweet and citrus-forward at first, it opens up on subsequent sips—an herbal note here, a honeyed undercurrent there.

Easy to drink, yes, but surprisingly difficult to pull off.

177 N. Ada St.