Tipple: tip-ple (tpl) (v.) (1) to drink alcohol habitually or (2) in small quantities throughout the day.
Finally, a venue with a menu crafted around what will pair with the cocktails!
We are all familiar with the epic wine/beer/cocktail lists that often accompany a trendy restaurant’s equally epic menu. The majority of restaurants, in fact, often develop their beverage programs to stand alone and not necessarily with the menu in mind. Not so at Tippling Hall where partner and chef Guillermo Tellez’s carefully crafted menu was developed with drinking in mind. Not only that. But they approach all they do with a focus on making sure that everyone has a great time!
According to their website, “Tippling Hall offers the best of the best, be it food, cocktails, wine or beer. The real draw, the aspect which sets us apart from nearly every other hotspot in Chicago, is the passion for hospitality; the intense desire to make people happy, without pomp or circumstance.“
The stripped-down interior exposes the brick walls and trussed ceilings. The seating, benches and communal tables, reminds me of traditional beer halls around the world. Tippling Hall manages to feel like a beer hall, wine bar, cocktail lounge, and trendy restaurant all at the same time.
I was recently invited to bring a friend and sample their extensive cocktail menu and to try out a few of their delicious and intriguing comfort food options. First, you must check out their unbelievable beer/wine/cocktail/slushie/sake/cider/etc. list. I have never seen a menu this comprehensive or this clever. If you don’t laugh out loud while reading the menu, then you probably need to check your sense of humor. Check out such cocktails as the Big Ass Bloody Mary, Fiery Balls, Booty Collins, or the Grumpy Cat. You get the idea.
I sampled The Crippler which is named based on its high booziness factor including Bonded Rye Whiskey, Mezcal, J.M. Overproof Rhum, Stroh Jagertree, Yellow Chartreuse, and Memphis BBQ Bitters. Whee! This was one strong but super tasty cocktail if you prefer a more savory/bitter edge. For something a bit more traditional and sweeter, check out any of their draft cocktails like the Deep Dish Manhattan (Koval Whiskey, Carpano Vermouth, Averna, Malort). If you’re a fan of the movie “This Is Spinal Tap”, don’t miss out on the tasty Derek Smalls (Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka, Cucumber Mint, Line, Grapefruit Bitters). This one goes to 11.
For dinner, my guest and I were treated to a ‘chef’s tasting’ consisting of the following:
- Bacon-Wrapped Dates – stuffed with smoked Manchego cheese and served in a tasty mustard-chili sauce. This ‘traditional’ tapas offering is a perfect pairing with the Manhattan.
- Lamb Meatballs – Think “deconstructed gyro” and you will understand the flavors. The lamb meatballs are served with a spicy cucumber salad in a wonderful cucumber/yogurt/mint sauce, but what elevates this is the addition of house-made giardiniera. This is a “must try.”
- Tarte Flambée – All of the flatbreads look amazing so you may wish to try them all. This one was excellent, with bacon, onion, and a light cheese sauce.
- Chicken Pot Pie – Served with root vegetables and a butter crust, this is a very traditional sort of presentation but with superb flavors. I found this perfect on a cold, wintry night and it pairs extremely well (surprisingly) with The Crippler.
- Roasted Beef Short Rib – First of all, this is a huge slab of meat! If you have a faithful hound at home, save the bone and you will have a friend for life. The meat is fork-tender, falling off the bone and covered in a savory, full-flavored mushroom sauce. The creamy garlic-potato puree adds a perfect comfort food touch.
- Adult Chocolate Chip Cookie – This is not just a cookie. It is a giant cookie creation served warm in a skillet with vanilla-rum ice cream and bacon brittle. Think about it – cookie dough, chocolate, vanilla, rum, bacon. What could be better?