Back in April, on a weeklong trip to Chicago, Matt and I found ourselves in the city’s West Loop neighborhood with four hours to kill. Normally, I wouldn’t wait four hours for anything, but such was the line for a table at Au Cheval—home of the best burger in the country, at least if you ask the Food Network—so wait we did.
The upside of waiting four hours for a table, to look on the bright side, is that you get to use the time to devise and execute a food and drink crawl around the neighborhood. So that’s just what we did.
Our first stop was The Publican, where we shared a plate of meats and cheeses and each had a drink—a Manhattan for Matt, and a crisp glass of white for me.
For our second stop, still with somewhere between two and three hours to go, we headed straight for Girl & the Goat but found the entry area a little too packed to get to the bar. Fortunately, we didn’t have to walk around the area for too long before we stumbled across Lone Wolf Tavern, a cocktail-driven bar right across the street that just happened to have two open stools at the counter.
Now normally, I’d just order another glass of white since that’s kind of my thing, but a cocktail on their menu called the West Loop Smash caught my eye, so I went with that instead. I’m so glad I did; it was light, refreshing, and filled with mint—essentially, everything I could ever hope for in a drink.
Luckily, I had the foresight at the time to take a picture of the cocktail menu so that I could remember what was in the drink and later re-create it for myself.
A few days ago, when the thermostat hit 90 and cocktail hour was nigh, I decided it was finally time to mix one up. I had to do some experimenting with proportions before the drink tasted as I remembered it, but as soon as I landed on the amounts listed below, I knew I had figured it out.
West Loop Smash
Inspired by the drink of the same name at Lone Wolf Tavern in Chicago
- 1 tsp. sugar
- Half a lime, cut into wedges
- 8 mint leaves, plus a sprig or two for garnish
- 2 oz. Botanist gin
- 2 oz. Yellow Chartreuse
Muddle the sugar, lime wedges, and mint leaves in an Old-Fashioned glass. Add the gin and Yellow Chartreuse, and stir. Fill the glass with ice, and garnish with the sprig of mint. Enjoy!