This fall, Chicago mixologists focus on potions that pack a refreshingly sour punch.
Femme du Coupe’s Fall’s Revenge cocktail blends Templeton rye whiskey, ginger zest, lemon juice, Campari, blackberries, and rosemary.
With a bracing combination of sweet and tart flavor profiles, the sour cocktail is a taste-bud-tingling addition to menus this season. Three local mixologists share their insight on what to sample and sip.
True to its classically clubby space, Drumbar (201 E. Delaware Pl., 312-933-4805) creates seasonal mash-ups of staple libations such as the daiquiri, gimlet, and South Side. “We’re not trying to be cute—we’re just trying to make sure it tastes good,” says resident mixologist Alex Renshaw, who pours two-dozen sour libations like the Local Option (dry whiskey, amaro, lemon juice, sugar, and apple juice) at the Streeterville rooftop lounge. “A sour-structure cocktail is a great way to introduce yourself [to spirits] and broaden your horizons.”
Paul McGee of Three Dots and a Dash (435 N. Clark St., 312-610-4220) also appreciates the creativity offered by sour libations. “They’re easier to drink,” says the veteran bartender, “because they have the citrus element, [and] you have freedom to do whatever flavors you want.” Still, McGee recommends adding a sweet element to balance the tartness: For his signature rum daiquiris, he suggests using a simple syrup with fresh raspberries or peach preserves, adding grapefruit or lime juice for acidity, and finishing with a bit of honey.
At Femme du Coupe (777 N. Michigan Ave., 773-916-6070), Revae Schneider embraces the DIY aspect of sour cocktails as she works one-on-one to help mixologists-in-the-making up their home-entertaining ante. “Simple cocktails utilizing lemon and lime tend to resonate with people without scaring them off,” says Schneider, who recommends a trip to Mariano’s to have lemons and limes freshly juiced. Schneider herself puckers up with her favorite autumn sour, dubbed Fall’s Revenge—a heady mix of Templeton rye whiskey, Le Sirop ginger zest, lemon juice, Campari, blackberries, and a pinch of rosemary.