What is a Chicago Handshake?

Chicago is an alcohol city. You could say this about many cities across the United States, but it seems to ring the most true here in the Windy City. Going back to the Prohibition Era, Chicagoans were incredibly sneaky (and creative) when it came to finding a good drink. 

From the gangsters to the speakeasy operators, we’ve never been the kind of people interested in following the rules. That’s exactly the mantra The Double Tavern encourages. We accept everyone and are adamant that our space is used for this type of radical joy.  

If you’re new to the Chicagoland area and aren’t exactly familiar with the drinking etiquette here, we’re about to let you in on what exactly a Chicago handshake really is. And no, it’s not some elaborate hand game you play with the bartender for a free drink. But you can keep wishing!

Explaining the Chicago Handshake

If you walk into any bar in Chicago and ask for a Chicago handshake, any bartender worth their salt will be able to serve you one. Traditionally, the Chicago handshake is a way to begin or end an interaction or engagement at a bar

You can use the Chicago handshake as an introduction or as a celebratory way to finalize business. In whichever scenario you decide to order it, the Chicago handshake is always the same. Essentially, this is a drink that generally includes a shot of Jeppson’s Malort and an old school Midwestern beer.

Usually, the beer will be Old Style, as it’s considered Chicago’s beer. Fun fact: Old Style beer originally was created in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. After 1935, the company crossed state lines to officially become the city’s beer, which was completely solidified after Old Style began to sponsor the Chicago Cubs in the 1950s. 

The Chicago handshake is entrenched in the city’s culture, traditions, and undeniably impressive spirit of those who live here. If you’re looking for a place to try your first Chicago handshake, you have to get yourself over to The Double Tavern in Logan Square. 

Classic Chicago Drinks

Logan Square is perhaps the most artsy and hip community in the Chicago city limits. We at The Double Tavern are interested in creating a space that’s open to everyone and everything. We are especially motivated by the idea of the double and how letting loose every once in a while can allow ourselves to connect with others and with ourselves. 

The entire premise of our bar, hence the name, is the idea of the double. There are plenty of definitions, but the most important one is being able to see your true self. The feeling of being drunk, brought on by alcohol consumption, is something of an out of body experience.

Many cultures actually believe that this is the highest form of human consciousness. It also is a mirror image to the self or having deep conversations with oneself. We hope that we can bring you to the place that you’re interested in going to when you drink. 

Being true to yourself and embracing all versions of yourself is incredibly important, and if our bar can create that space for you, we wholeheartedly encourage it. Celebrate yourself and your relationships–old or new. And maybe that starts or ends with a Chicago handshake. 

What is Malort?

You might be wondering, after all this talk about the Chicago handshake: what exactly is malort? Don’t be afraid of this liqueur just because some have warned you against it. If you’re new to the Windy City and have yet to try a Chicago handshake, we’re sorry, but it’s really a rite of passage. 

Malort is a Swedish style of bitters. It is distilled from wormwood, which is an herb that is used to help kill stomach worms and parasites. Technically speaking, Absinthe is a cousin to Malort. But don’t fret: Malort does not have any hallucinogenic qualities unlike Absinthe. You can try Malort at pretty much any Chicago bar, but we encourage you to go all out with a Chicago handshake. 

More Classic Chicago Drinks

As we said before, Chicago is an alcohol city. We know a thing or two about how to make a good drink. We have created a number of different cocktails over the years–some more iconic than others. In fact, did you know that the Old Fashioned has its roots in Chicago

Midwesterners historically have preferred simple drinks, like beer or whiskey. This is why there are fewer cocktails that originated here than in, say, San Francisco or New York City. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Old Fashioned was first documented in the 1800s by a Chicago bartender. 

Additionally, we made the Mamie Taylor, named after the 1890s Vaudeville actress. The recipe for this drink includes scotch, ginger beer, and lime juice. It is believed that this drink inspired the more popular Moscow Mule. 

Where to Find a Chicago Handshake

You can probably walk into any Chicago bar and ask for a Chicago handshake, but you don’t want to visit just any old bar. That’s why you’re reading this article. So head over to Logan Square and visit us at The Double Tavern for a Chicago handshake–whether it’s your first or your hundredth. 

And, even if you’re convinced you’ll hate the Chicago handshake, we’ve got a plethora of other great cocktails–old and new–for you to choose from! If you live in the Logan Square or Chicago area, plan an outing to The Double Tavern with friends or with a date. We promise you won’t forget it. 

If you have any questions regarding the Chicago handshake or The Double Tavern, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us a message. We’d love to hear from you and answer any questions you may have about our bar. If you’re interested in seeing our full menu, check out our website. When you visit us, you’ll see exactly why we’re one of the best bars in Logan Square. Plan your trip to us today!