LYFE Kitchen’s Herb Wall Cocktail (Photo:Hillary Higgins)
Chicago may be an Italian beef lovin’, beer gluggin’ kind of town but it’s not all about stuff-your-face eating and guzzle-down drinking. Sure, there are plenty of ways to counteract the gluttony — a run on the lakefront, a spin class or two — but if you aren’t feeling the exertion factor, there are far more delicious ways to cut back and still have a fun night out. Here are some great restaurants and bars that offer a healthier cocktail full of flavor sans the calorie overload. As for the hangover…you’re on your own.
- Bin 36. This city staple recently made a move from downtown to the West Loop where it’s still all about wine with vino supplies for sale, a menu packed with wine flights and even wine-based cocktails. These cocktails, called “Winees” use fortified wines and no added sugar making them lower in calories and sugar than your typical mixed drink. Try the Bin Royal with Giffard Crème de Cassis, strawberry, blueberries, sparking cider and lavender.
- Nacional 27. Spice it up with food, salsa dancing and drinks at this Latin-infused River North spot. The Habanero Rhubarb Pisco Sour packs a punch without adding pounds as it’s made with Pisco Porton — a naturally low calorie spirit — habanero syrup made from agave nectar, fresh rhubarb puree and egg whites to add a little foam.
- LYFE Kitchen. Chef Art Smith may be best known for his Southern comfort food (or being Oprah’s former chef) but his latest focus is on healthy, flavorful eating. It’s only natural that the restaurant has a whole menu of “Skinny Cocktails” with mixed drinks that are all between 138 and 193 calories. Try the Herb Wall made with Hendrick’s Gin, basil, rosemary and mint muddled with freshly squeezed orange juice, ginger and lime juice.