Guide to Drinking: Bartender's Choice

Who would know better where to grab a barstool or what to imbibe than a bartender? A few industry experts weighed in with the places and potations they enjoy when they aren’t the ones doing the pouring.

Taste. My favorite drink is called Adam’s Purgatory. It’s a variation of one of Ted [Kilgore’s] creations called a Purgatory. It’s a very boozy libation, but perfectly balanced. [It has] Benedictine and Green Chartreuse – a couple of my favorite liquors. If you plan on having more than one, I’d make sure someone else is driving. Adam Frager, former head bartender, Cielo

I love the lemonade at Miss Aimee B’s Tea Room in St. Charles. It is made with milk and lots of lemons and it’s sparkling. I must have a glass when it gets really hot outside and it is by far the best drink in town, but they don’t have liquor. Sunny McElwain, bar manager, Terrene

Sanctuaria. The drink that I have enjoyed the most this summer is the Wascally Wabbit. It uses aquavit as the base spirit as well as several liquors, lemon juice and carrot juice. It’s this terrific balance of savory with slight sweetness and has really interesting herbal notes, most discernible being caraway from the aquavit. It has this great, vibrant orange hue. It’s very approachable for someone who has never tried aquavit. Matt Obermark, bar manager, Atomic Cowboy; bartender, Monarch

Miso. I order a beer, usually an ale such as Two Hearted Ale, an India Pale that is made by Bell’s Brewery in Comstock, Mich. I tend to enjoy hoppy, full-flavored beers and try to stick with microbrews whenever possible. Another favorite, O’Fallon’s 5-Day IPA, has the added bonus of being local. My beer is often ordered in unison with a shot of Jameson, neat. I consider myself somewhat of a purist and nothing is more to the point then a shot of Irish whisky. Complex, smooth and with just enough bite that you know you just took a shot. Sean Thomas, bartender, Araka Restaurant

Harvest – they have a great selection of wine and they do great cocktails. I had a Black Maple Hill Rye Manhattan. It was wonderful. Ted Charak, bar manager, Brasserie by Niche