Category Archives: boozeworthy

Rhine Hall

I’ve got to say, this weather, well, hurts. But I refuse to totally let go of the absolutely immaculate fall we had as we approach the end of November. OK, there were some tornadoes, strange 60-degree temps and other some such bizarre weather behavoir, but for the most part it was a hot apple cider-red and orange leaf-bright and sunny autumn…my favorite kind. So when I explored Rhine Hall, a new hand-crafted, small batch apple brandy distillery on Fulton a few weeks ago, everything about it felt right. For the most part, Rhine Hall is a family-owned distillery, where Jenny Solberg and her dad crank out apple brandy from 100% Michigan apples (there’s huge wooden boxes in the back to prove it), as well as grappa. You can watch everyone at work from the adjacent tasting room where the smooth crisp brandy is available by the glass, or mixed into fruity or boozy cocktails. The only down side to this place is the limited hours (as much as I wanted it to be, it’s not a bar), only open on Thursdays (5-9) and Saturdays (2-7), but that gives you a enough time to stop in, warm up with some apple brandy and head out with a bottle to keep fall alive just a little longer. Rhine Hall, 2010 W. Fulton.

The Bobos at Rhine Hall

The Bobos at Rhine Hall

The Bixby at Rhine Hall

The Bixby at Rhine Hall



Filed under boozeworthy, great for date

Arugula gimlet at Odd Duck

Up until last weekend, my all-time favorite gimlet could be found at The Matchbox, and is the only drink I order at the tiny bar. The citrus-y, powdered sugar-rimmed drink is small, but packs a serious punch. But over the holiday weekend I tried out a few places in Milwaukee, and discovered the arugula gimlet at Odd Duck. It was the most interesting cocktail on the menu at the new small plates restaurant in the Bayview neighborhood, and even though the bartender described it as a “grassy gimlet,” I had to try it. With herbal gin, simple syrup, lime juice and muddled arugula, I wouldn’t say it was grassy, but more fresh and herb-y with the bite of arugula I love in a salad or smoothie, The simple syrup added the right amount of sweet, and the lime juice added the right amount of acid. It was refreshing, light and very drinkable throughout the parade of small plates we sampled, from the pork belly pancakes to maple and mustard dressed kale salad. Odd Duck, 2352 S. Kinnickinnic.

Arugula gimlet

Arugula gimlet

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Filed under boozeworthy, great for date, the MKE report

Frozen mojito at The Hotel at South Beach

Under normal January-in-Chicago circumstances, a luscious photo of an ice-cold, frozen mojito from the pool bar atop The Hotel at South Beach in Miami might have made you all long for summer…but the relatively balmy temps right now aren’t making winter as soul-crushingly horrid as it normally is. Don’t get me wrong, my weekend trip to South Beach and Naples was a welcome respite from Chicago’s ice-encrusted sidewalks, salt-coated cars and dreary skies. I didn’t go too crazy, but did have a mind-blowingly good dinner at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink (forgot camera-blaaaggghh!) and a fantastic muddled rhubarb cocktail at The Setai courtyard bar (the most stunning bar I have ever seen). But a definite highlight was the frozen mojito served at the pool bar atop our hotel. At first glance around the pool, I thought (wished) it was a green smoothie, but figured that was much too healthy an option for 3PM on a sun-soaked, 80-degree Friday. I was feeling more frozen margarita, but our server convinced me otherwise. I’m not a huge mojito fan, but the mint didn’t overpower, nor did the alcohol, and it didn’t taste like a sugar bomb…just a refreshing mint-kissed mojito, perfect for an unseasonably warm day in Chicago. The Hotel at South Beach, 801 Collins Ave.

Frozen mojito magic

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Filed under boozeworthy, eliz-a-trip

Mystery light box

This eerie light box hangs about what Chicago bar? Guess for a chance to guest blog.


Filed under boozeworthy, mystery spot

Spotted: Beer Soap

Only in Milwaukee does the brewski flow so freely even the soap is sloshed. I spotted these black rice, vanilla and Japanese beer soaps in a boutique in the Bayview area, a trendy little ‘hood I’m profiling for Where magazine (watch for it!). The Beer Soap Co. is actually a cool little company located nowhere near Lavern & Shirley-land. Looks like it’s down in Miami where they pour the porters, ales, lagers and even witbiers in (not at) the bar.

Soap suds


Filed under boozeworthy, eliz-a-trip, random spottings

Arnaud’s French 75 Bar, New Orleans

The menu at Arnaud's

Well it’s no surprise that N’awlins is all about boozin,’ and a great place to do that was at the allegedly haunted Arnaud’s, located across the street from our hotel in the French Quarter. We didn’t get to check out the actual restaurant, but mostly hung out in the quaint yet cool French 75 Bar to try the stiff (but strangely addictive) Sazeracs, and the Shrub Swizzle, rum, strawberry shrub, ginger ale and lime juice, and ponder the boozy quotes on the cocktail napkins. Arnaud’s, 815 Bienville

Boozy quotes to live by


Shrub Swizzle

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Barcelona beverages

So, well, besides gorging on tapas and dessert, we drank some rather nice things too. I pretty much lived on the house reds, but also discovered some pretty amazing local beers, and during the day, overdosed on the coffee. From the cafe con leche to the tiny cortado (espresso with a bit of milk) the little foamy drinks were wee, but still packed a bitter caffeine punch. And the beer discoveries ranged from crisp light brews like the sunny (and historic) Moritz to dark double malts like Voll-Damm (please click on this site just to hear the beer being poured into the glass).

Coffee with milk

A light, crisp lager from Galicia we had at a lounge

A malty, darker beer introduced to us by the locals


Another lighter ale perfect for cafe sipping in Born

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El Xampanyet cava and tapas…

El Xampanyet sign

All I had to know about this little cava bar in the middle of the Born neighborhood was that it’s been owned by the same family since the 1930s, and that the house bite was a plate of Cantabrian anchovies. We also hadn’t delved into nearly enough cava, so we paid a visit to the small restaurant stocked with royal blue and white tiles, barrels, photos, bottles and antiques.

The scene 10 minutes after opening

Like most tapas bars, people stood and grazed at the bar, but an expertly timed arrival of 5:30PM (right when they raised the garage door) got us a seat at small cafe table..not that the bar didn’t look happening as hell..and by happening I mean stacked with delicious goodies..

The hungry crowd awaits

We ordered up some cava in awesome glasses that reminded me of a New Year’s Eve toast glass, except the bubbly was delicious (although low-grade, says the guide book), and the stem didn’t break off from the bottom mid-clink. Oh, and two salty, meaty, deliciously olive oil-soaked anchovies rested nearby..

Achovies and cava

From there we had paprika sprinkled artichokes.


Jamon (of course) stacked on crispy bread.

We be jamon..

I don’t remember exactly what this was, a croquette of sorts with cheese, I think, but it was amazing.. If you ever go, you’ll see them skewered on a plate..point and nod.

Lone, but amazing bite

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Filed under boozeworthy, eliz-a-trip