It can be hard to work up the motivation to go out when the weather is frigid, which is why Chicago’s bars and restaurants are eager to provide some extra comfort to guests coming in from the cold.
Hot drinks will lift your spirits and dispel winter’s chill, whether you’re sipping a classic hot toddy, a glass of mulled wine or a novel warm cocktail. Enjoy them inside for ultimate coziness or use them to fortify yourself against the elements when you brave one of the city’s winter outdoor dining options.
Have an upcoming holiday special at your Chicago-area restaurant or bar? Email Food editor Ariel Cheung at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Satisfy your sweet tooth with the Bad & Boozy Hot Chocolate made with vanilla vodka, Godiva dark chocolate liqueur and toasted marshmallow ($14). If you prefer spice, order the mulled wine made with bourbon, vermouth and warm, toasty spices like cinnamon and star anise; or go for spiked mulled cider (both $14). 841 W. Randolph St., 312-666-6061, banditliquors.com
Tia’s Remedy ($14), a blend of Bacardi spiced rum, butterscotch liqueur and winter spices, is sure to cure the winter blues. For your vitamin C, go with a Forester Toddy made with Old Forester bourbon, cynar, burnt orange and cherry syrup ($14) or a classic hot toddy made with lemon, honey and the spirit of your choice. 832 W. Randolph St., 312-492-7775, barsiena.com
The Spanish restaurant in the West Loop offers five varieties of sangria, including a hot version made with red wine, bourbon, tart Michigan cherries and cinnamon ($15). 807 W. Fulton Market, 312-257-3177, boqueriarestaurant.com
Try three spins on boozy hot chocolate for $10 at the Lakeview bar. The Kentucky Hot Chocolate features bourbon and bourbon cream; the Buckeye is spiked with peanut butter whiskey; and the Thin Mint features peppermint schnapps. No matter what’s inside, the drink is topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. The hot cocktails are also available for carryout so can warm up after your trip home. 1658 W. Barry Ave., 773-799-8217, codyschicago.com
Edie’s All Day Cafe & Bar
Warm up any time at the River North spot with Dottie’s Vanilla Bee Matcha, a blend of oat milk cream liqueur from Chicago’s Dottie May’s, vodka, matcha, French vanilla syrup, honey and bee pollen ($13). You can also opt for a boozy version of Mexican hot chocolate made with steamed whole milk, ancho chile-infused chocolate, espresso, coffee liqueur and mezcal ($13). 675 N. Wells St., 312-624-9523, ediescafebar.com
Keep it simple with hot apple cider spiked with rye whiskey, or order I’m in Love with the Cocoa, hot cocoa blended with apple brandy and praline syrup and topped with whipped cream (both $12). 1300 W. Wellington Ave., 773-281-2599, farm-bar.com
The Wicker Park bar celebrates the Winter Olympics through Sunday with a Winter Warm-Up, made with hot chocolate, Baileys and peppermint schnapps and topped with whipped cream; or sip on a Victory Hot Toddy made with Johnnie Walker Red Label (both $14). 2005 W. Division St., 773-698-8940, fatpourwickerpark.com
This West Town restaurant specializes in German-inspired drinks like the Honey, It’s Cold Outside, which blends the German honey liqueur Barenjager with whiskey, brandy, honey and lemon ($14). 1709 W. Chicago Ave., 312-929-4727, funkenhausen.com
This Wrigleyville bar’s owner Sam Stone created the extremely rich Chocolate Delight to get customers through the winter. The $12 drink blends hot chocolate with three types of chocolate liqueur for a creamy drink served topped with whipped cream and sprinkles. 3441 N. Sheffield Ave., 773-666-5450, graystonetavernchicago.com
The Lounge at The Robey Chicago
Get cozy at the Wicker Park bar’s second floor lounge with a $16 Peach Pear Toddy made with whiskey, pear-flavored vodka, Grey Goose White Peach & Rosemary, lemon and pear nectar. 2018 W. North Ave., 872-315-3050, therobey.com
Book a spot in a heated pergola at the corner of Morgan Street and Fulton Market and watch all the bustle while sipping hot buttered rum spiced with cinnamon and demerara, or mulled wine made with red wine, brandy, baking spices and orange (both $15). 954 W. Fulton Market, 312-291-9255, marvinsfoodandfuel.com
This West Loop subterranean speak-easy offers housemade mulled hot cider with bourbon, brandy and cranberry bitters; and Gluhwein blended with cinnamon, clove, cardamom, allspice and orange. The bar also sells 32-ounce crowlers of Gluhwein for $30 if you want to enjoy the hot drink in your pajamas. 1134 W. Washington Blvd., 331-240-1914, pressroomchicago.com
Customize the River North bar’s Spiced Apple Hot Toddy by ordering it with your choice of Tito’s vodka, Rittenhouse rye or Jack Daniel’s Honey. 400 N. State St., 312-706-5228, radioroomusa.com
Raised, an Urban Rooftop Bar
The rooftop bar offers a menu of Warm-Ups, including Likes & Follows, coffee spiked with cognac, Buffalo Trace bourbon cream, amaretto and cinnamon syrup and topped with whipped cream ($18); and housemade ponche — a traditional Mexican Christmas punch — incorporating reposado tequila and pomegranate liqueur ($17). 1 W. Upper Wacker Drive, 312-795-3308, raisedbarchicago.com
Rewired Pizza Cafe and Bar
Grab a seat by the fire pit on this Edgewater neighborhood bar’s heated patio, which has transformed into a “Love Shack” decorated with hearts and glitter to celebrate Valentine’s Day all month long. While you’re there, sip housemade mulled wine, spiced apple cider or a hot toddy. Go all out with the deluxe Yule Log Fire Mocha, made with peppermint chocolate sauce, espresso and milk, topped with crushed peppermint and toasted marshmallow, and spiked with coffee liqueur, tequila cream or rum cream. You can also drink your dessert with the Banana Bread Chai ($11), a blend of housemade banana bread syrup, salted caramel cream liqueur, milk and chai concentrate topped with cinnamon, cardamom and graham cracker crumble. 1110 W. Thorndale Ave., 773-360-1621, rewiredcafe.com
Meant to be as comforting as a fresh-baked dessert, the Autumn Cobbler Cocktail features single malt Scotch, spiced pear liqueur, lemon, bitters and hot apple cider topped with a flaming cinnamon stick. It’s normally $15, though you can get it for $7 during happy hour. 712 N. Clark St., 312-741-9786, storyvillechicago.com
Chill out at this Pilsen piano bar and listen to live music while sipping a hot toddy spiced with ginger and vanilla ($10) or a hot chocolate spiked with amaro and mezcal ($9). 1227 W. 18th St., 312-526-3851, tackroomchicago.com
The Andersonville spot’s Spiced Syrah uses housemade apple and cinnamon syrup and angostura bitters to complement the bold wine. The $12 drink will be available through April. 5553 N. Clark St., 773-654-1432, uvaechicago.com
Samantha Nelson is a freelance writer.