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Warming Up With Hot Sin

You won't feel bad about indulging in O'Donovan's Winter Warmer cocktails.
Tuesday Jan 13, 2009.     By Dana Kavan
Centerstage Chicago Nightlife City Guide Arts

O'Ds decorated for Xmas

Drink of the week: Hot Sin

Where you can find it: O'Donovan's

The damage: $6.

Why here? I say this every January, but I think this year it really applies: This is the most brutal winter in my recent memory. That's either the cold, hard truth, or my Midwesterner brain is programmed to forget the suffering it endures each winter. As much as I'd like to hole up in my apartment and hibernate until the Cubs home-opener, my penchant for an active social life tells me to do otherwise. Thankfully, O'Donovan's is so close to my pad that I could walk to it barefoot and not catch frostbite.

How it went down: Not only is O'Ds location conducive to keeping warm, but it also slings Winter Warmer cocktails to heat things up. Featuring a dozen drinks of the hot chocolate, coffee and cider variety, the menu lists a couple classics, like the hot toddy, a cognac-spiked glogg and Irish coffee, but also has a few surprises, including a Mexican coffee laced with tequila. I had just polished off a juicy $2 burger, topped with Swiss and mushrooms (O'Ds rocks the bargain burgers every Monday), so I was looking for the least heavy of the Warmers lot. Despite its salacious name, Hot Sin was the tamest of the bunch, so I bit.

Hot apple cider spiked with a shot of Skyy Spice Vodka comes served in a glass mug and garnished with a cinnamon stick. The Skyy Spice intensifies the cider's clove and cinnamon flavor, with a bite from the vodka lingering at the end of each sip. Whether it was the cider's heat or the warming effect from the booze, I sank snuggly into my seat as I drained the mug.

Would I want to become a regular? Even if O'Ds wasn't the closest watering hole to my home, I'd still stop in frequently to take in its friendly digs and warm interior. No matter what holiday, the bar is always decked in festive regalia, piled on top of its colorful artwork and walls. And, as fitting as O'Ds is for the winter, come summertime it gets even better: The bar has a massive beer garden with a tiki-hut feel and plenty of tall tables to perch on while you relish every second of warm (fleeting) sun.

Dana Kavan scours the city for drink deals so good you'll offer to buy a round and creative libations that outshine your average on-the-rocks concoctions. Want to give Dana tips on where to rack up a bar tab? Share your finds before her next night out.


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