'Cocktails for Hope' behind push to make to-go drinks possible in Chicago

Sunday, June 28, 2020
Coronavirus Chicago: 'Cocktails for Hope' behind push to make to-go alcoholic beverages possible in city
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"Cocktails for Hope," helped lobby the city of Chicago, then create bottles and labels for other bars that wanted to sell pre-made cocktails to-go.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Cocktails to-go have been legal in the suburbs for several weeks, but it took Chicago's City Council a bit longer to approve the measure.

As long as they're bottled, labeled and given tamper-proof seals, any bar in the city can now sell pre-mixed drinks to go.

Before the lockdown, Kumiko was one of the city's best bars. Located beneath the El on Lake Street in the West Loop, the shutdown forced Partner and Creative Director Julia Momose to get creative.

"To go from operating every day, to pay the bills and pay staff to no income whatsoever but rent that doesn't go away and bills that don't go away, I started looking into options," she said.

So along with a friend and regular customer, she formed an organization called "Cocktails for Hope," which helped lobby the city, then create bottles and labels for other bars that wanted to sell pre-made cocktails to-go.

"We actually are spinning off a bottle program right now, to help people get bottles at cost - 375 ml bottles that are compliant with the law. We're also providing opportunities and templates for labeling and things like that to help bars get spun up as quickly as possible," said Ian Beacraft, one of the co-founders of "Cocktails for Hope."

Cocktails normally cost between $17-20 each at Kumiko, but the carryout drinks run 10-15% less.

"Guests aren't sitting with us. They aren't getting the ice and the glass and the whole experience, so wanting to acknowledge that," said Momose.

In Glen Ellyn, Common Good Cocktail House has been preparing and selling their hand-crafted cocktails to-go for weeks, like their Dark Side Daiquiri.

"It's a Jamaican black rum and a Bacardi 8 infused with blackberry and basil. To that we add black pepper, and a little bit of lime. So it's like a really funky, really robust kind of fruity daiquiri," said Owner Mike Melazzo.

The team has a system down - mixing or "batching" as it's called - then pouring, labeling and sealing with a tamper-proof top. They put just as much effort into the to-go program as they would if they were serving guests inside.

"For a lot of people in this community, this is their home away from home. So for them to be able to have a taste of that at home is a totally different thing. It's nice to be able to go home, crack open a bottle, just pour it over ice and you're done," Melazzo said.

Common Good has about a dozen bottled cocktails at any one time, which is good to know because if you get to their patio and it happens to be too busy, you could always get a couple of bottles to take home and have your own party. Cheers to that.

There are already about a dozen bars signed up for the program, but a lot more to come.

For information about bottles, labels, etc: www.cocktailsforhope.org


630 W. Lake St.

Common Good Cocktail House

560 Crescent Blvd., Glen Ellyn

Some other cocktails to-go in the city:

Hub 51

Award-Winning Hub Punch ($11 - basic vodka, avion tequila, licor 43, pomegranate) and Hub Margarita ($12 - avion tequila, lime juice, agave) now available to-go.
Available for carryout through Il Porcellino at 59 West Hubbard Street.
How to Order: Simply stop by to order or order ahead online here.

Il Porcellino

Classic Negroni ($13 - fords gin, campari, cocchi vermouth di torino), Mr. White Negroni ($13 - fords gin, kina, suze) and Jamaican Negroni ($13 - appleton 12 yr, smith & cross jamaican rum, campari) are all now available to-go.
How to Order: Stop by to place your order.

Ramen-san Fulton Market

Okinawa Ol' Fashioned ($15 - rittenhouse rye, okinawa sugar, angostura bitters), Penicillin #2 ($15 - toki, laphroaig 10 yr, ginger, honey) Yuzu Margarita ($12 - casamigos blanco, espolon resposado, yuzu agave sour) and Japanese Yuzu Highball ($12 - toki, soda) are now available to-go.
How to Order: Stop by to order or order ahead online here.