52. Green Mill Cocktail Lounge – Chicago, USA

Cocktail – Valentine Martini
Raspberry vodka, raspberries, lime, sugar

Date Visited – Nov 2015

A favourite haunt of Al Capone, and being a huge Boardwalk Empire fan this one was taking priority! It may have been open over a hundred years but it’s not unusual for these places to close overnight, so I wasn’t taking the risk! With the advancement of the cocktail scene this place isn’t going to win awards for its cocktails, they don’t even have a menu, what it’s far more famous and popular for is the Jazz. It’s essential to experience some of the Jazz scene when you’re in Chicago so I was happy to combine the two, checking the listings in advance and selecting a Tuesday when the Fat Babies are in residence, heavier on the brass! There’s a cover charge of $6 and the seats fill up before showtime, I had a prime spot where I was later joined by a young German businessman. People come here to dance, those who know how, and I couldn’t quite pinpoint the style, it wasn’t Swing or Charleston, but it was captivating to watch.

The Valentine Martini is obviously named for the Valentine’s Day Massacre. It’s made using raspberry puree, which they don’t stock, so instead the bartender made a martini using raspberry vodka and lime juice instead of dry vermouth, a bit more on the sweet side. I’m not keen on fruit puree drinks or dry vermouth so found this version much easier drinking. Al Capone had his own booth and no pride of place is given to it today, anyone can sit there and I imagine many do being none the wiser. It’s centrally located so that he had a good view of both the front and rear doors. The bar still has the secret exits but these aren’t available for public viewing, so don’t ask! It’s not Center City, I took the ‘L’ uptown to Lawrence and spotted it from the train, there’s an advantage to elevated travel! It’s a well respected venue among the locals, the bartender in Lost Lake says they make a really good Sazerac, so for a classic prohibition bar, select a classic cocktail and you won’t go far wrong!

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