Good Libations

Five Chicago cocktails of the moment

Happily, no self-respecting Chicago restaurant opens without a smartly crafted drink list–an amaro here, a small-batch gin there.

Hell, we even sip good cocktails at sandwich shops and arcades these days.

But when compiling a list of this year's of-the-moment drinks, we didn't rush to the new. Instead, we asked some of the city's most authoritative bartenders what was tickling their fancy of late.

The resulting collection, Tasting Table Chicago's Best Cocktails of 2012, demonstrates a few common themes. Tiki has infiltrated town, but not flashily. One tiki cocktail was dark and evocative of fall, despite the jaunty paper umbrella. Another referenced Holland with genever, but skewed gently tropical with citrusy Liqor 43 and Allspice Dram.

Pomegranate showed its ruby face, seeking redemption for its Cosmopolitan days; in our collection, you'll find it poured as vinegar and steeped in whiskey.

There's also a drink from a new kid on the block, one who hoards Fernet, kegs cocktails, and occasionally rims a glass with seaweed.

Use the list as a guide for night out, or shake and stir these standout libations at home (we got the recipes, too).

Either way, cheers.