According to Grubstreet, NYC cocktail culture is sort of old and stale right now (no arguments there), so if you want to experience a cocktail scene that's a bit more innovative and interesting, you should head to Chicago. And Esquire, with just one New York bar and two Chicago bars on their 2017 Best Bars in America list, seems to lean towards the City by the Lake as well. What gives?
I'm not sure, but there's one Chicago bar that’s cited in both articles and is pretty widely praised for being forward-thinking and a fun place to go drink. What is it? Lost Lake.
Coincidentally, I recently had a long talk with Paul McGee, the owner of Lost Lake, about making cocktails, new craft spirits including Chicago’s Letherbee Distillers, and how to recognize and find new ingredients to use in new concoctions. The energy and passion he brought to our conversation affirmed this idea to me that Chicago bartenders are bringing something fresh to cocktail culture right now. And even though I haven't been to that city in a long time, Lost Lake is high on my list of places to visit asap.
My interview with Paul and his recipe for a summer swizzle (made with Letherbee’s Vernal 2017 gin), is up now over on the Huckberry Journal.