Raise a glass to Chicago's best booze-infused foods


Ah, booze. The sweet nectar of the gods. Booze has helped make conversations easier, dancing more awkward and karaoke more tolerable for most of us. If, like WC Fields, you cook with wine and sometimes even add it to your food, then it's time to savor these drunken culinary creations (just tell your liver you'll give it a rest tomorrow). These dishes might not be potent enough to make you dance on tables but who really should be doing that, anyway?

Rum Bread Pudding at Big Jones
Any restaurant that brings warm homemade beignets to the table instead of bread is an instant friend of mine; however, if you are looking for something a little stronger then Big Jones' bread pudding is sure to hit the spot. This bread pudding, floating in rum and topped with homemade peach butter and vanilla ice cream, will make you think you died and went to heaven.

Carne con Tequila at Havana
It doesn't have to be Taco Tuesday to get your Latin American fix. Throw caution to the wind, order that mojito without shame and then make sure to try the Carne con Tequila. The name already tells you that you are in for a boozy ride. Refreshing tequila-infused sauce blankets tender cuts of chargrilled skirt steak, which all pairs splendidly with the Latin fries in chimichurri. After a few mojitos and delicious booze-soaked meats you may be tempted to get up and show off your smooth Latin moves. Just remember...you might not have any.

Drunken Donuts at Delightful Pastries
Have you ever experienced a morning where the only words you can muster are, "hair of the dog"? If so, quash that hangover with some boozy donuts from Delightful Pastries. It's truly the Breakfast of Champions. Choose from Jameson's Irish Whiskey-infused chocolate custard or vanilla bean custard and vodka (what the heck; have one of each). These hooch-filled sweets are sure to turn your unhappy morning into an early happy hour.

Michelle's Pasta at Whiskey Business
While you probably won't find Tom Cruise sporting his skivvies here, what you will find is so much better (and won't cost you tons of money on therapy). This fresh fusilli pasta comes with red onions, asparagus, cotija cheese and candied pecans enveloped in butternut squash and pear cream sauce infused with rye whiskey. Watch the sunset over the rooftop deck, shoot back some whiskey (or just guzzle a lot of this pasta sauce) and revel in the '80s and '90s nostalgia as you have a heated debate about how they don't make great shows like "Are You Afraid of the Dark" anymore.

Beer Cheese Melt at Wyler Road
This is not the grilled cheese you remember from your childhood (at least, we hope not). This Logan Square haunt gives the perfect twist on an old classic. I mean, putting beer and cheese together is a match made in Midwest heaven. Enjoy a generous helping of beer cheese, provolone, caramelized onion and tomato all melted on the bread of your choosing. You can also dunk your grilled cheese in their homemade tomato basil bisque, because you know the big kid in you wants to. Carbs be damned—go ahead and order a side of the breadcrumb-and-sage topped mac and beer cheese.

Stephanie Andrews has called Chicago home for 10 years. When she's not eating...err, writing...you can find her stunt doubling for film/TV or making her own cocktail bitters.