Have you heard about Sparrow? The Gold Coast’s newest bar, inspired by 1930s Havana, specializes in rum cocktails. And guess what? There’s a drink for everyone here, including the brown-spirit averse. As bartender Lisa Palmer told us: “We’re letting people flirt toward rum.” So go ahead, find your cocktail match.
For the Vodka-Soda Enthusiast: If you’re typically a vodka, Champagne or anything-but-brown-spirits lady, start off with the “La Floridita #3.” Like all the drinks here, it has an old-timey flair (it was Hemmingway’s favorite). The classic daiquiri is more tart than sweet and is made with crushed ice and plenty of fresh lime juice.
For a Fruity Taste: “The Hotel Nacional” mixes pineapple-infused rum (none of that artificially flavored stuff) with apricot liqueur and fresh-squeezed pineapple and lime juices. Again, the drink is more tart than sweet, but it definitely has a taste of the Cuban tropics. Farther down the cocktail list, the Pisco Punch also has a fruity profile.
For Something Festive: “The Air Mail” combines five-year-old rum with honey (which lends a little depth), lime and a dash of bubbles. The heady drink packs a wallop, but its fizz gives it a little celebratory flair. And if you’re feeling extra holiday, there’s always the Grade-A Tom and Jerry.
For an Escape: Fancy a dash of absinthe? The “Remember the Maine” contains a dash of the “green fairy;” there’s also vermouth, rye and cherry brandy. Palmer describes it as the stiff lovechild of a Manhattan and a Sazerac. This pairs best with a designated driver.
For the Chaser: So you tried a rum cocktail and want to go back to basics? This spot has a full bar, stocked with beers on tap, vodka, Scotch and Champagne. The only thing that’s missing--so far--is food, so plan to start or end the night at one of the many nearby restos, like Nico.
12 W. Elm St.; 312-725-0732 or sparrowchicago.com