Chicago bar begins listing cocktails’ ABV

Illustration for article titled Chicago bar begins listing cocktails’ ABV
Photo: Milkos (iStock)

Plenty of bars list alcohol content for their beers—if they don’t, they should, please—and sometimes even for their wines. But cocktails have long been more of a mystery when it comes to their booze content. You may know an Old Fashioned will be stronger than an Aperol spritz, but how much stronger? Guests at Sable Kitchen + Bar inside Chicago’s Kimpton Hotel Palomar can now find that information printed directly on the cocktail menu.


Industry publication Plate Magazine reported on the new menu, which lists cocktails from highest to lowest ABV, including some non-alcoholic cocktails. Head bartender Jenee Craver had to do a bit of math to calculate the alcohol content of drinks, but she tells Plate it’s worth it in terms of both “transparency and safety” for guests.

Hear, hear! Just like I would gravitate toward a lower-ABV pilsner instead of a high-octane Russian imperial stout if I’m planning to have a few rounds, I would appreciate knowing the same for cocktails. And it’s not just about the intoxicating effects; some people don’t enjoy perceptible alcohol flavor in their drinks, while others prefer a more spirit-forward cocktail. Listing alcohol content might help steer them toward a drink they not only enjoy, but that’s in line with how much they plan to drink that evening.

If you want to read more about Craver calculates the drinks’ ABV—and you should, it’s interesting—click on over to Plate Magazine.

Kate Bernot is a freelance writer and a certified beer judge. She was previously managing editor at The Takeout.


I Brain You

A few random thoughts:

1.) I think it’s safe to assume that most alcoholic drinks have at least one full shot of alcohol, yes? (Correct me if I’m wrong.) And on top of that, it’s also safe to assume that liquor, whether whiskey, vodka, gin, etc. pretty much gets you drunk regardless. So in that sense, I don’t understand why that’s a big deal.

2.) In terms of people wanting to know, in order to gauge the TASTE of their drink, that’s understandable. There are certain drinks I’ll avoid because I don’t want to drink something that’s basically neat with one or two flavoring agents added in small quantities. I would say, though, that the taste of vodka (or lack thereof) works really really well in Moscow Mules. The combo of lime juice, ginger beer, and vodka is a tasty and even deceptively thirst-quenching one.