Family behind Moreno's Liquors opens speakeasy lounge in Little Village

CHICAGO (WLS) -- For 42 years, Moreno's Liquors has served its community in Little Village, but opening a bar was a different kind of hurdle. That's when the owner's kids decided to open Osito's Tap.

"Osito's Tap is a speakeasy style bar that we created right behind our store Moreno's Liquors," said owner Michael Moreno.

Named for their beloved chihuahua, Osito's brings together the family's deep connections for sourcing rare tequilas and mezcals, with their next-generation approach to their Mexican heritage.

"We kind of wanted to showcase some of our specialty spirits that we have over there, as well as the craft beer in cocktail forms and showcase them and pair them properly with foods," he said.

EXTRA COURSE: Impressive mezcal collection for sale at Moreno's Liquors
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In Steve's Extra Course Video, he talks to owner Michael Moreno about his impressive collection of mezcals for sale in the liquor store up front.

"The Last Words" starts with fresh lime juice, some rosemary-infused elderflower liqueur and tequila, plus an egg white that becomes frothy when shaken vigorously. A rosemary-pierced cherry serves as garnish.

The "Mi Tierra" is another creative take, using a traditional Mexican herb called epazote.

"So we actually boil down the epazote in the back and make a very nice, lovely green-colored drink that we have here, made with mezcal," said Moreno.

Tepache is another unique addition on the menu.

"Tepache is a naturally fermented pineapple juice," he said.

It takes about a week to make.

"Naturally ferment our pineapple in-house, and then we barrel age it in our own bourbon barrels we have in the basement for about two to three days."

Foodwise, they offer a trio of homemade salsas - hot habanero, green avocado and chocolate mole - plus cured chorizo, salchichon and some cranberry-bacon-onion chutney to go with the crusty bread. Queso fresco is steeped in olive oil with rosemary and sage for another option.

Moreno said every element of the menu is considered, and then typically transformed using a Mexican lens.

"We focus heavily on craft as a whole. That includes craft spirits, craft cocktails, craft beer. So what we're doing is very unique and different from what anyone has seen around here," said Moreno.

The first Tuesday of every month they have a special with unique cocktails they get to show off to their loyal clientele, but there's a happy hour every day - 6 to 8 p.m. with drink specials.

Osito's Tap
2553 S. Ridgeway Ave.
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