After an unseasonably warm start to fall, Chicago is finally cooling down, and we can’t think of a better way to beat the chill than with blazing cocktails. From flambéed orange peel to torched rosemary shrubs, here’s how seven Chicago bar programs are using fire in their sips this season.
Take what you know about a traditional Old Fashioned and strike it; this beautifully scented cocktail is as satisfying for the nose as it is the tongue, thanks to a bold blend of Old Forester Special Reserve, vanilla and lavender fume, aromatic bitters, and a theatrically flambéed orange peel. 1935 N. Lincoln Park W., 872-829-3971
With a name that alludes to both an iconic classic rock song and the actual composition of the drink, this mezcal-based stunner will have your taste buds singing with every sip. Fresh watermelon, hibiscus, lime juice, and Cointreau temper the bite of the mezcal, while flaming rosemary imparts the refreshing concoction with literal smokiness and a crisp, herbaceous undertone. 833 W. Randolph St., 312-432-0500
This Mexican twist on a tiki drink may have been around for the better half of a decade, but it’s still as hot as ever—literally. The flaming cocktail is fittingly the color of fire, and packs a boozy punch with Herradura Blanco and Reposado, dark rum, guava, and almond. 108 W. Kinzie St., 312-329-9555
Beverage director Suzie Whitacre wanted to create a smoky, spicy cocktail without relying on mezcal, and so, this spicy number was born. Ancho Reyes chile liqueur and a nora pepper-infused simple syrup give it its kick, while Plantation Pineapple Rum, curacao, and lime brighten it up; a flamed orange peel garnish brings out the smoke in the syrup and adds a fiery, citrusy aroma as you sip. 621 W. Randolph St., 312-466-1000
Large format drinks keep the party going at this River North tiki bar, and the Zombie, which arrives at the table in a large skull glass, is no exception. The shareable cocktail serves 3-4 thirsty people, is made with Jamaican and overproof rums, lime, grapefruit, cinnamon, and pomegranate (which gives it its rosy hue), and comes topped with a flaming lime, cinnamon sticks, pineapple, and orchids, making it one of the most Instagram-worthy drinks in town. 435 N. Clark St., 312-610-4220
Head to the ‘burbs for mixologist Becci West’s comforting bourbon-based libation, which highlights blood orange juice, rhubarb bitters, and a charred rosemary shrub. West grows and cuts all of the shrubs herself, and is even preparing to launch her own shrub company, Be Well Shrub Company. 6727 W. Roosevelt Road, Berwyn, 708-775-8122
This new fall menu addition is made with Rittenhouse rye, Punt e Mes vermouth, Lazzaromi maraschino liqueur, and walnut bitters, served in a snifter with a smoking cinnamon stick, and is finished with cherry wood smoke from a smoking gun right before it’s ready to be enjoyed. 401 N. Wabash Ave., 312-588-8000