Get ready for a brain freeze and a buzz at the same time: Some of our favorite local bars and restaurants are turning classic childhood favorites from the soda fountain and the carnival into very grown-up, boozy treats.
In summer's hot weather, we can't think of a more nostalgic way to cool off.
Cozy Wrigleyville spot Hutch foregoes plain Jane root beer floats in favor of knockout beer floats ($8). The frothy, sippable dessert is loaded with house-made dulce de leche gelato and amped up with a dark, heady porter; the resulting collision is nothing short of buzz-worthy.
If you need a root beer fix, head to Bottlefork for the new At the Drive-In cocktail ($14). Inspired by a drive-in restaurant he frequented throughout childhood, head barkeep Brandon Phillips concocts a rum cocktail with Salers Aperitif, fresh lemon juice, bitters and root beer he makes in-house. The effervescent beverage is topped with our new favorite garnish: a root beer leaf.
And thanks to a newly acquired vintage snow cone machine, Pilsen watering hole Punch House now offers all of its cocktails by the glass, carafe, bowl and snow cone. The carnival-style treats are gussied up with nostalgic paper cones and fresh fruit garnishes, but don't let their innocent look fool you—they're punchy in every sense of the word. We love the delightfully icy Summer Melon ($9 for a snow cone) with cane spirits, mezcal, watermelon, coriander and cilantro.
Dessert or drink? Up to you to decide.
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