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Brain Freeze

Evoke the summers of your youth with one of these blended beach-inspired drinks.
Monday Jun 02, 2008.     By Stacy Warden
Centerstage Chicago Nightlife City Guide Arts

Uncle Fatty wants you to cool off with a cocktail
photo: courtesy of Chuan Vo of; Uncle Fatty's buzz-inducing delight
The summers of my youth were filled with Slurpees, shakes and Sno-cones. A day at the beach just wasn't complete until I could indulge in the frozen treats I had grown to love. That is, until I grew up and discovered a whole new category of blended summer drinks. These icy libations may require a bit more travel than simply strolling down to the nearest 7-Eleven, but you'll be able to sling 'em back on rooftop decks and sidewalk cafes once you arrive.

Rum Walker at Uncle Fatty's Rum Resort
Who needs Cancun when the spirit of spring break can be found all summer long at Lakeview's latest watering hole? Uncle Fatty's boasts an entire menu devoted to tropical concoctions, but it's the frozen stuff that the kids here coo for. You'll be lucky if you can walk at all after 20 ounces of the Rum-Walker, an intoxicating blend of banana and pomegranate liqueurs, spiced rum, blackberry brandy and citrus ice cream. And if you think that's over-the-top, just check out Uncle Fatty's 60-ounce fish tank drinks. Other frozen delights include the orange-vanilla flavored Sun Kiss, the Kahlua- and chocolate-infused Caribbean Slide and the Dirt Nap mudslide.

Peanut Butter Mocha at Chaise Lounge
Starbucks has nothing on this smooth coffee concoction. Forget those frilly syrup- and cream-laden Frappuccinos; this drink mixes real peanut butter, espresso, chocolate and Kahlua for a decadent caffeine buzz. And let's be honest: $9 isn't much more than you'd pay for one of those chain produced lattes anyway. If you don't like to cool down with chocolate, try the tequila-spiked Black Orange, with fresh blackberries and blood oranges, or the rum-infused Lychee Mango. The best part about these drinks is enjoying them on the restaurant's cabana-style rooftop deck. It's almost better than a day at the beach.

Shark Attack at Cactus Bar & Grill
Any bar that caters to the urban professional understands how stressful a day of trading, banking and brokering can be. This pub expresses empathy by offering its money-minded clientele cold beer, frozen drinks and Jimmy Buffet. The bar's tank-top-wearing waitresses in short shorts don't hurt either. While Cactus prides itself on the perfect margarita, it also has a sinister little concoction called the Shark Attack. If there were ever a drink to scare away the most triumphant workday blues, this tropical blend of coconut rum, blue curacao and pineapple and orange juices is it. Stop in on a Thursday, when you can try it for just $3.75.

Colorful drinks to cool you down.
photo: Stacy Warden; Sidetrack's blended beverages

Kettle One Krush at Sidetrack
Die-hard Slurpee fans will love Sidetrack's slushy blends. The bar has been serving up its signature frozen concoctions for more than 10 years now, and it sells so much Kettle One Krush that the management may want to consider installing its own smoothie machine. The bright purple drink, served in a 10-ounce mug and yours for six bucks, tastes like a mushy grape popsicle. Sidetrack's other frozen fruity drinks include a lemon-lime flavored Cirocodile, blueberry vodka-fueled pink lemonade and Effen Black Cherry Buzz. The bar's outdoor patio served as the original inspiration for the bevy of blended cocktails, but patrons love the chilling libations so much that they’ve become a year-round staple.

Banana Daiquiri at Mambo Grill
You're going to have to restrain yourself from ordering a mojito to wash down the Latin cuisine at this restaurant. But a few slurps of Mambo's banana daiquiri, and you'll be saying good riddance to those minty muddled mixes for good. This daiquiri isn’t anything like those virgin-style drinks that appease children and prudish ladies, but rather a strong mix of rum, fresh bananas and banana liqueur ($7). Other daiquiri flavors include raspberry and coconut, both of which taste especially good when sipped outside on Mambo's sidewalk cafe.


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