Chicago Cocktail Recipe

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Chicago Nutrition Facts





Alcohol %:20%

Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Chicago Cocktail is a classic drink that dates back to the 19th century. It's believed to have been created in the Windy City, hence its name. This cocktail is a delightful blend of brandy, triple sec, and a dash of bitters, topped off with champagne. It's a sophisticated drink that's perfect for those who appreciate a well-balanced, slightly sweet, and bubbly cocktail.

  • Who would like it?

    If you're a fan of brandy and champagne, this cocktail is a must-try. It's also a great choice for those who enjoy classic cocktails with a twist.

How Chicago Tastes?

The Chicago Cocktail is a well-balanced blend of flavors. The brandy provides a warm, rich base, while the triple sec adds a hint of citrusy sweetness. The bitters bring a subtle complexity, and the champagne gives it a light, bubbly finish. It's slightly sweet, a bit tangy, and wonderfully effervescent.

Interesting facts about Chicago

  • The Chicago Cocktail is often served in a champagne flute, which helps to preserve its bubbles.
  • Despite its name, the cocktail isn't as well-known in Chicago as you might expect.
  • The drink is sometimes garnished with a lemon twist, adding a pop of color and a hint of citrus aroma.



Brandy adds a smooth, rich base to your Chicago cocktail. It's fruity, woody, and sometimes has vanilla undertones that create a lovely foundation. If you skimp here, you'll lose that trademark warmth. Too much, and you'll have a boozy bulldozer that'll wipe out the subtler flavors.

Emma Rose

Triple Sec

Triple sec, the sweet and citrusy liqueur, introduces a zesty liveliness to the mix. It’s the ‘zing’ factor. Without it, the drink might feel too serious, lacking in playful notes that social butterflies crave. Alternatives include Cointreau or Grand Marnier for a posher touch.

Alex Green


Bitters are the seasoning of the cocktail world. A couple of dashes help balance and round out the flavors. Leaving them out is like forgetting salt in a stew – a flat taste that misses depth. Angostura is a classic, but orange bitters could amp up the citrus notes.

Mary Mitkina


Champagne adds that essential sparkle and celebratory pop. It brings a dry effervescence that counters the sweet and eases the strength of the brandy. Without it, you just have a shaken spirit cocktail, more reflective than effervescent. Sparkling wine is a fine substitute here.

Emma Rose

Lemon Twist

A lemon twist garnish is like the final curl on a perfectly wrapped gift. It introduces a bright, aromatic element that enchants the nose and palate. Missing it won't ruin the drink, but it's like skipping the cherry on top of a sundae – not the same delightful experience.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Chicago Drink

  1. Fill a shaker with ice.
  2. Add the brandy, triple sec, and bitters.
  3. Shake well until chilled.
  4. Strain into a champagne flute.
  5. Top off with champagne.
  6. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Pro Tips

  • Make sure to chill your champagne flute before serving to keep your cocktail cold longer.
  • Don't shake the cocktail after adding the champagne to avoid losing the bubbles.

Perfect Pairings


  • Cheese Plates: A selection of creamy brie, sharp cheddar, and funky gorgonzola will complement the fruity and nutty notes from the brandy and triple sec.
  • Seafood: Opt for light seafood dishes like shrimp cocktail or oysters to balance the rich tones of the cocktail.

Main Courses

  • Poultry: Try roasted chicken or turkey, as their savory flavors will pair nicely with the citrus notes of the cocktail.


  • Citrus-based Desserts: Lemon tart or orange panna cotta would be a delightful companion, echoing the citrus from the triple sec and lemon twist.

Non-Alcoholic Beverages

  • Sparkling Water: To cleanse the palate between sips of the Chicago cocktail.

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What you could change in Chicago

  • If you don't have brandy, you can use cognac or bourbon instead.
  • Triple sec can be replaced with any other orange liqueur, like Grand Marnier or Cointreau.

Explore all drinks starting with C here

And of course - twists🍹

Windy City Sparkler

  • Ingredients: 1.5 oz apple brandy, 0.5 oz triple sec, 2 dashes of green apple bitters, top off with Prosecco, apple slice for garnish
  • Recipe: Follow the original recipe, but use apple brandy and apple bitters for a fruity twist. Garnish with an apple slice instead of a lemon twist.
  • Flavor: This spin on the Chicago will have a crisp, autumnal taste that's affable and uninhibited, like a jazz night in the city.

The Al Capone

  • Ingredients: 1.5 oz bourbon, 0.5 oz amaretto, 2 dashes of chocolate bitters, top off with Champagne, orange twist for garnish
  • Recipe: Shake the bourbon, amaretto, and bitters with ice, strain, top off with Champagne, and accessorize with an orange twist.
  • Flavor: A richer, deeper version of Chicago, smuggling in hazelnut and chocolate undercurrents like a speakeasy secret.

Lake Michigan Chiller

  • Ingredients: 1.5 oz gin, 1 oz blue curaçao, 2 dashes of lemon bitters, top off with sparkling water, lemon spiral for garnish
  • Recipe: Shake the gin and blue curaçao with ice, strain, top off with sparkling water, and garnish with a lemon spiral.
  • Flavor: This twist introduces a cool, serene sip that reflects the tranquil beauty of Lake Michigan, with a crisp citrus horizon.

In case you forgot basics how to make Chicago

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Chicago

What is the best time to serve a Chicago Cocktail?

Considering its elegance and lightness, it can be served as an aperitif before dinner or during a sophisticated cocktail party.

What kind of brandy is best for this cocktail?

A quality VSOP (Very Superior Old Pale) or XO (Extra Old) cognac can be great options. However, various brandies can also provide exciting flavor combinations depending on personal preferences.

Can I use a different type of champagne?

Yes, any type of champagne or sparkling wine can be used based on personal preference though a brut champagne is often recommended for its drier taste which balances out the sweetness of the other ingredients.

Why is it named the 'Chicago' cocktail?

The origin of the name is not definitive, but it is believed to have been created in the city of Chicago in the 19th century.

How do I make my own bitters?

Making bitters involves steeping ingredients like fruits, spices, and herbs in alcohol. There are numerous online guides and recipes you can follow depending on your preference.

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