25 Degrees (Chicago): Spiked soda fountain specialties (and more) add fizz to an eatery’s drink menu

Focused on fun, the beverage menu offers spiked milkshakes, sodas and floats. Photo by Alex Janowski

“Spiked milkshakes — what’s more fun than a spiked milkshake?” asks Joe Boumaroun, co-owner of 25 Degrees, River North’s new upscale burger bar.

Well, if pressed, I could think of at least a few things.  But Joe has a point.  Particularly since the bar-restaurant offers eight delightfully grown-up twists on the quintessential burger joint shake ($10).  All feature creamy Häagen-Dazs premium ice cream.

Beverage manager Mike Anderson can be found shaking things up at 25 Degrees. Photo by Alex Janowski

Take 25 Degrees’ Turkish Latte, a literally intoxicating blend of Bailey’s Irish Cream, iced espresso, coffee ice cream and spicy cardamom.  Indeed, it was a fun follow-up to my gourmet bacon cheeseburger.  And it was a tough choice given some of the other options, which included the Salty Caramel (Maker’s Mark whiskey, butterscotch vanilla ice cream and Hawaiian red sea salt) and the Guinness Milkshake (Guinness stout, house-made chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream).

Also shaking up the eatery’s cocktail menu are orange, grape and cream “spiked sodas” ($9) and “adult floats” ($10).  I kicked off my lunch with an “orange soda,” a combo of Stolichnaya orange vodka, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, Orange Crush and orange juice.

“It tastes like Fanta out of the bottle, right?” says Mac Boumaroun, who owns 25 Degrees with his brother Joe.

Indeed it did, Mac — with a lot more of a “pop,” so to speak.  Thankfully, the restaurant doesn’t offer free refills on its spiked sodas — otherwise, I would have been in trouble.

25 Degrees is an offshoot of a small chain of L.A. “bordello-meets-burger-bar” eateries.  And most of its clever cocktails were originally mixologist-conceived for the flagship location in Hollywood’s historic Roosevelt Hotel.

Signature cocktails are ingredient-focused. Photo by Alex Janowski

In addition to its “spikes,” the restaurant also offers a list of hand-crafted signature cocktails ($11) which, adhering to the restaurant’s philosophy, feature fresh and house-made ingredients.

“Everything is handmade here, so why not hand- craft the cocktails?” Joe says.

At the top of the list is the ever-popular Redhead in Bed.  Thoroughly enjoyed by my friend M., this kicky little cocktail tops off Hanger Citron vodka, muddled strawberries and fresh lemon juice with a douse of sparkling wine.  My other dining and drinking companions CoCo and O. endorsed the Mayday, a mix of Maker’s Mark, Domaine De Canton Ginger Liqueur, fresh orange and soda.

The restaurant also offers a smattering of beers and a reasonably priced wine list that covers all the basics — Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, Cab, etc.  All bottles are in the $22-to-$45 range.

Wine drinkers will find affordable varietals. Photo courtesy of 25 Degrees

“We don’t want to overwhelm [people] with the wine, since we have all these cocktails to choose from,” Mac says.

The list has something “to satisfy any wine drinker — it’s small, but has nice variety,” Joe says.

“People are looking for value these days, and we want [our list] to be nice and affordable so if you and your lady come out for a drink, you don’t break the bank.”

25 Degrees Chicago
736 North Clark Street
Chicago, Illinois  60654


This entry was posted in featured, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply