Viva! Chicago Latin Music Festival salsas into Grant Park Saturday, so bring on the fiesta. Already logged serious time in Margaritaville this summer? Try something new. We've rounded up the hottest Nuevo Latino cocktails in town to help you get started.
In honor of its first anniversary, South Loop restaurant Cuatro rolled out a fancy limited edition cocktail--and we're not about to miss a birthday party. The 21st Martini ($21, natch) combines 10 Cane Rum, fresh guava, and sugar cane juice, the latter pressed daily in the restaurant's own cane press. The concoction gets topped tableside with a splash of Laurent-Perrier Brut L-P Champagne. The rest of the split is served in a flute along with the martini for two times the toast: Salud!
You'll find Latin staples like caipirinhas and mojitos on many a menu in town, but it's a tad harder to track down this traditional Peruvian cocktail. Head to Bucktown storefront restaurant Rinconcito Sudamericano for an authentic pisco sour made with its namesake South American grape brandy plus lime juice, sugar and egg whites ($6). While you're there, don't forget to sample spicy Peruvian cuisine like ceviches and paellas.
Pan-Latino spot Nacional 27 serves a host of seasonal drinks dreamed up by mixologist and general manager Adam Seger. This bright, summery cocktail combines locally grown cucumbers from Chicago's Green City Market with Gran Centenario Plata tequila, fresh herbs and tonic ($9 glass; $5 tasting portion). Also on offer this season is a black cherry caipirinha ($9; $5) with fresh lavender.
Carnivale may have put the kibosh on its rum-and-horchata Horcha-tini, but there's a new cocktail available this week only in honor of Friday's Uruguayan Independence Day. This fruity sangria-like drink combines white wine, Cointreau, simple syrup and a dash of champagne. It's served on the rocks with a small bunch of champagne grapes ($8). Available through Aug. 27.
Mango Habenero Batida
Not hot enough yet? Head to Nuevo Latino mainstay Mas and quaff a fiery chili-infused cocktail. During the restaurant's annual four-day Chile Picante Festival, you can order this drink made with cachaca (Brazilian sugarcane liquor), mango puree and lime juice--plus a dash of habanero syrup for kick ($7). Available Aug. 24-27.
New River North hot spot Zocalo just unveiled this big-ass blend of aguardiente (a strong Latin American liquor that translates as "firewater") and grapefruit, pineapple and orange juices ($14). The whopping 20-ounce drink comes in a clay pot and is meant to be shared, so it's perfect for a private fiesta--or for sipping solo if you're brave.
[Heidi Moore is a metromix special contributor.]
email@example.comOriginally published Aug. 23, 2006.