- Liquid Diet: Sommelier Steven Grubbs Quests for the Perfect Pourover
- Cocktail Bars Are Layering Spirits to Create Ultra-Complex New Drinks
- 7 In-Flight Cocktails That Pair Perfectly With Your Destination
- 5 Cocktails to Keep You Warm During Winter Storm Stella
- 7 Sparkling Oscar Night Cocktails
- 5 Mexican Cocktails to Drink on Cinco de Mayo Instead of a Margarita
- 7 Cinco de Mayo Drinks That Aren't Margaritas
- Watch the Fastest, Fiercest Female Mixologists in Action at Speed Rack This Weekend
- Cocktail Time Traveling with PDT
- The Return of the 80s Cocktail
When I vacationed in Chicago last weekend, my first stop was star chef Paul Kahan’s latest bar and taqueria, Big Star. The large rectangular bar that dominates the space holds two of Big Star’s three specialties: some 50-odd bourbons and a couple dozen tequilas. The other specialty comes from the kitchen: tacos—hundreds of tacos.
Tapping along to a Loretta Lynn record, I elbowed my way to the bar to order a drink, from a list conceived by the team from the adjacent cocktail haven The Violet Hour. I started with a San Antonio Sling, a bracing combination of tequila, St-Germain and grapefruit. I followed that with the Hud, an Old Fashioned–like lowball heavy on the bourbon and light on the citrus—tangerine, in this case. Then I turned to food. First up was a fondue-like casserole of rajas chiles, house-made chorizo and cheese. A quartet of tacos followed: lamb, al pastor (marinated pork) and my two favorites, poblano with queso (cheese) and pork belly. The food was delicious, and with nothing exceeding five dollars, also a bargain.
When the weather gets warmer, Big Star will offer a huge alfresco dining area. As long as the music remains louder than the nearby El train, Big Star will be a party few will want to leave.