What we came for: the virgin blueberry-sage lemonade, a sophisticated sip with brunch on a Sunday morning. What we drank: the brand-new Grandpa’s Lemonade, a cocktail that manages to brighten rye whiskey into the perfect summer-day drink. Bartenders mix Templeton Rye with lemonade, lemon juice, cucumber water, club soda, and mint.
2 Sparrows, 553 West Diversey Parkway (at Lehmann Court); 773-234-2320.
Pair a juicy burger with boozy lemonade. Sparkling pink lemonade with Ciroc vodka, lemon juice, and watermelon is sweet and fizzy; lemonade spiked with limoncello is a citrus-lover’s dream. The extra-tart drink is balanced by Ciroc’s red-berry vodka, pomegranate juice, and simple syrup.
25 Degrees, 736 North Clark Street (at Superior Street); 312-943-9700.
GT Fish & Oyster
Ginger beer adds the perfect pop to The OG Johnny strawberry lemonade, available virgin or spiked with Grey Goose. The other three refreshing lemonade sippers at this chic oyster bar also have optional liquor; we recommend one of each and then a nap.
GT Fish & Oyster, 531 North Wells Street (at Grand Avenue); 312-929-3501.
Hash House A Go Go
The kiwi-watermelon lemonade may be the only thing we can finish at this fun purveyor of giant portions. Hash House chefs make their own lemonade and carefully pour in kiwi syrup and fresh watermelon juice to create colorful layers. It’s garnished, of course, with a gargantuan hunk of watermelon. Vodka optional.
Hash House A Go Go, 1212 North State Parkway (at Division Street); 312-202-0994.
J. Rocco Italian Table & Bar
This inviting new restaurant in River North caramelizes Bing cherries with brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, purees them into juice and mixes it in a highball glass with bourbon and lemonade. Pure, sweet, boozy magic.
J. Rocco Italian Table & Bar, 749 North Clark Street (at Chicago Avenue); 312-475-0271.
Wicker Park’s Prasino has the advantage of a sidewalk patio that seems to stretch on forever — the perfect spot to sip house-made lemonade sweetened with strawberry and agave.
Prasino, 1846 West Division Street (at Marion Court); 312-878-1212.
With its gleaming white interior and gorgeous views of Millennium Park, this restaurant in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute is probably the most elegant spot in Chicago to sip a lemonade (traditional or pomegranate). And trust us: It’s hard to find a better glass than one out of a Tony Mantuano kitchen.
Terzo Piano, 159 East Monroe Street (at Michigan Avenue); 312-443-8650.