Chicago’s most-ordered cocktail bucks the national trend and I couldn’t be prouder

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Nielsen came out with a report this week examining the most-ordered cocktails at bars. (This is market research I can really get behind.) Given the recent rise of “mixology” and Prohibition-era cocktails, just what are the most popular drink orders in America these days? They all start with the letter M—unless you’re in Chicago.

In every other major market—Boston, L.A., Miami, New York, Tampa—the most-ordered cocktail is a margarita, followed usually by martinis, except in Miami where the number two is the mojito. That makes margaritas and martinis the most popular cocktails in America overall. But in Chicago, whiskey reigns supreme, and the Old Fashioned is the most-ordered cocktail. As a former Chicagoan, I say: You go, Chicago.


Nothing against a good margarita, especially one with some aged tequila and the freshest of lime juice, but an Old Fashioned is just so… admirable. I love that it’s the most popular cocktail, not just among fancy drinkers or traders loosening their ties after work, but drinkers across the board. After Old Fashioneds, mimosas are Chicago’s second-most-popular drink order, because #brunch. Margaritas aren’t even in Chicago’s top 5.

The Nielsen report also found some interesting pricing data: The average cost of a cocktail in the U.S. is $9, but Chicago and New York boast average drink prices of $11.95 and $11, respectively. Maybe it’s all the expensive bourbon?