Quarterly Whisk(e)y Club

January 03, 2014

This May marks the one year anniversary of Coq d’Or’s official whiskey club. Membership will remain free throughout the inaugural year. However, in May, The Drake will institute a nominal membership fee to sign up. Join now at thedrakehotel.com.

The next quarterly event will be February 27th and will feature Scotch whisky—without the “e”. Historically, Scotch whisky was aged wooden barrels that were purchases from the British Isles. The intention of the barrels was to take the harsh edge off of the “fire water”. However, since these casks had been used prior to the whisky being poured they began to take on the flavor of the previous liquid—giving the whisky a “finish”.

Popular finishes included whiskies that came from sherry and port casks. Through the centuries, however, many other types of used casks have been experimented with, such as Bourbon, Madeira, Sauternes, Cognac and others.

This February Coq d’Or will present three examples of these finishes using the classic Glenmorangie single malt scotch, but finished in three different casks, port, sherry and sauternes. See if you can taste the difference by signing up for Whiskey Club now and emailing Nora.Heneghan@hilton.com your RSVP.

Real Chicago, Real People - "Coming home for the holidays"

September 06, 2011

With the implementation of this blog only a few months ago, it was a passion of ours to be a go-to-guide to all things Real Chicago- from the perspective of those who live Real Chicago each and every day. In its evolution over these past few months we have realized that, just as important to us as the "Real Chicago" experience of  the"Real Chicagoian" is, in fact, the memories made by visitors from around the country and our surrounding neighborhoods-- memories made when they visit this city and experience its magic. The memories experienced by Real People in Chicago = Real Chicago... and we want to hear these stories. We want to share these stories!! These stories are what epitomize the concept of Real Chicago--- and with that idea in mind we've created, via this blog, a Real Chicago, Real People series. Of course we will continue to include the "insider's scoop" per concierge recommendations, resident references, and staff picks- but we'd like to expand upon the quandary- "What does Real Chicago mean to you?" We start off with a recent email submitted to The Drake Hotel for inclusion in the Real Chicago Blog. This email encompasses the essence of all the things we want our visitors to feel when they come to Chicago, not just The Drake Hotel.   Although it's hard to fathom that summer has unofficially ended with the conclusion of Labor Day weekend, it's even harder to contemplate the approach of the upcoming season. Some may think winter=snow, ice, cold....

We here at The Drake think Holidays--- the cheer of the holidays--- the cheer of family and friends, and the warmth one feels when they see a familiar face in an

oh so familiar place.

September 4, 2011

 

My real Chicago Experience is traveling to The Drake in December to celebrate the holiday season.  Taking a four hour train ride in to embrace the Big City, the Windy City, with beautiful holiday storefronts and tree lined streets decorated with white lights.  Shopping on Michigan Avenue, hoping to find that perfect gift.

 

In recent years, we walked arm in arm to stave off the gusts of wind and stay upright in slush filled streets.  We found special moments purchasing gifts we hoped would bring joy to others.  When age dictated we were no longer able to wander the streets of Chicago, we shopped in the gift store on the lower level of The Drake.  A store filled with all kinds of treasures.  Who needed to fight the snow, cold and crowds, when we could marvel at items there for hours?  One year we purchased a Mark Roberts "Peppermint Elf".  Every holiday season our elf decorated the kitchen, keeping watch over our confections.  That year we were sure we had found the treasure from the trip, and indeed I thought we had, until I took my mother's picture in front of old St. Nick and his reindeer located just off the lobby.  What a lovely picture!  It became her photo Christmas card, sent so all could see our fun filled journey.

 

Years of memories - the Dickens Carolers, the beautiful Christmas tree in the lobby with presents nestled below, the train set running for hours.  How we enjoyed sitting in the lobby watching the guests come and go.  I wonder how many other mothers and daughters have made this trip, able to create wonderful memories while staying at The Drake?

 

For us, going to the Drake in Chicago was coming home for the holidays...

Sadly, in July, my mother passed at the age of 88.  This year I hope to start a new tradition and celebrate the holiday season with my brother's family at the Drake.  I look forward to sharing with my niece and nephew the fun that exists there; shopping, taking afternoon tea, seeing the beautiful holiday decorations, attending the Nutcracker ballet and enjoying a special evening at the Drake.  I will miss my Mom, but I know she will be there with us in spirit and in every story I tell them.

 

~Julie, Illinois

  Thank you, Julie, for your contribution and taking our visitors on a warm and inviting walk through your Real Chicago memory. We hope this post inspires more people to submit their Real Chicago experience for inclusion in our Real Chicago ~ Real People Blog series- for every moment in this city is someone's Real Chicago memory. Share yours. To submit your memory for inclusion in the Real Chicago, Real People blog series, please email us your story. Your memory will be included in the blog that same week and your name will be entered into a drawing for a one night stay at The Drake Hotel. *Drawing to occur once The Drake receives 100 entries.

Museum of Science and Industry

August 24, 2011

Whoever said “learning isn’t fun” surely hasn’t been to the Museum of Science and Industry. Mixing learning with hands-on, blood rushing exhibits, there is something for everyone! In 1893, the building was constructed as the Palace of Fine Arts for the World’s Columbian Exposition. Afterwards it was converted into the Field Museum until 1920 when a new building opened and the museum moved.  Since the building was only built as a temporary structure for the World’s Fair, it began to deteriorate until Julius Rosenwald, the president of Sears, Roebuck and Company, stepped in to save the building. It was 1926 when he contributed more than $5 million to the project which included recasting the building in limestone.  The museum officially opened in 1933 as the Museum of Science and Industry. The museum has more than 800 exhibits and encompasses more than 300,000 square feet.  A few popular exhibits include a reconstruction of a 1933 coal mine, a U-505 Submarine and BODY WORLDS & The Cycle of Life.   Julius Rosenwald once said his vision for the Museum of Science and Industry was to create an interactive museum where learning was possible. Nearly 80 years later, his vision is still the main focus at the museum.  Today the museum houses some of the most exciting and mind boggling exhibitions ranging from a display that allows you to witness, in real-time, a chick breaking through the hard shell of the egg that has housed it for 22 days, to an exhibit  displaying the actual formation of a vortex.  If the word vortex has you in a tailspin then it is, without a doubt, essential you take the half hour ride of your life and strap in for the Museum’s OmniMax Theater’s “Tornado Alley.”  This informational, yet, highly entertaining film relays to its viewers what it’s like to be a tornado chaser in one of the United State’s most dangerous weather territories. Throughout the movie you’ll feel as though you’re in the passenger seat of a van traveling 90 miles down abandoned roads in pursuit of one of nature’s most fascinating phenomenons. With a 180 degree span of screen, and speakers that pulsate sound at a greater intensity than that of a Jet engine, you better hold on, because it’s going to be a wild ride. The best way to get to the Museum of Science and Industry is to take public transportation. From the Drake you can walk to Michigan & Pearson and hop on the 10 bus towards Museum of Sciene and Industry. Once you get off, just walk towards S. Lake Shore Drive. For more information regarding the Museum of Science and Industry, visit their website at http://www.msichicago.org/

Lollapalooza

August 19, 2011
The massive summer music festival that is Lollapalooza has rocked Chicago once again. Starting August 5th, over 240,000 people attended the three-day festival that sprawls out over Grant Park. With 130 acts on eight stages, Lollapalooza’s footprint keeps growing and reaching record breaking attendances. It was a sold out festival to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Lollapalooza and what a celebration it was. In 1991, Jane’s Addiction singer Perry Farrell conjured up the idea of Lollapalooza as a farewell tour for his band. It was to be a traveling music festival throughout the United States and Canada. The first year, it was received well by concert attendees but over the years people became less interested. In 2003, Perry Farrell reunited with Jane’s Addiction to revive Lollapalooza and bring it to 30 cities. However it wasn’t met with great success and in 2004 the music festival had to be cancelled due to lack of sales. But that didn’t stop Farrell from making Lollapalooza an extremely successful musical festival and in 2005 it was brought back to life as a two-day festival in Grant Park. From 2005 till now, Lollapalooza has been received with much praise. Attendance keeps growing and so does the need for more musical acts and stages. For the 20th celebration, huge musical acts descended upon Grant Park including Coldplay, Eminem, Girl Talk, Ce Lo Green and the Foo Fighters to name a few. Other acts included Muse, Kid Cudi, Sam Adams and Arctic Monkeys. If you attended Lollapalooza than you know that almost nothing can beat this music festival. Being in the heart of the city with mouth-watering food and the cool breezes of Lake Michigan and shade of Grant Park, is what makes Lollapalooza a three-day music festival you won’t forget. Be sure to read our blog for other great Real Chicago ideas from the Drake Hotel. Ready to come? Book your hotel room in Chicago at the Drake Hotel.

Real Chicago Air & Water Show

August 18, 2011
It’s a bird, it’s a plane…. It’s right outside our windows this weekend! The Chicago Air & Water Show has quickly become the one of the oldest and largest free admission air and water exhibit in the United States. Over 2 million people will be blown away by the show this weekend and will most definitely inspire the Red Baron in all of us. Commencing in 1959 as the “Lakeshore Park Air and Water Show”, the event has surely grown into a mind-blowing weekend. For 53 years, these daredevils have performed at North Avenue Beach and along the lakefront for millions upon millions of spectators- astounded always by the sights and sounds of air and watercraft. Headlining this year will be the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the U.S. Navy Parachute Team Leap Frogs and my personal favorite, the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights. These Golden Knights bravely jump out of a plane 12,500 feet above the ground and race to North Avenue Beach at speeds of 120 miles per hour! Whether you prefer witnessing pilots maneuver small planes in tight circles, hearing the load roar of a B57, or simply enjoying the fresh air along Chicago’s scenic lakefront, this annual event is by far a Real Chicago occasion. Be sure to get to the beach early and save yourself a spot because it will get very crowded. Be sure to read our blog for other great Real Chicago ideas from the Drake Hotel. Ready to come? Book your hotel room in Chicago at the Drake Hotel.

Real Chicago View

July 26, 2011

If a breathtaking view of Chicago is what you are looking for, than the Cité is the place for you to visit. Located on the 70th floor of the Lake Point Tower, this restaurant offers a 360 degree panoramic view of Chicago. The Cité’s view is unlike any other view in Chicago because of its superb location. Unlike most views that are in the middle of the city, the Cité is set apart because it is located on a Lake Michigan peninsula. From every table in the restaurant, you will have out of this world views of the Chicago skyline, Navy Pier and Lake Michigan. The views of this restaurant are not the only perks of dining at the Cité. The bar is the perfect place to meet with friends or family and have a cocktail while watching the sunset over the city. After a cocktail, it is time to dine. No matter where you are sat, you will be blown away by the views and delicious cuisine. The Cité offers French American cuisine that has received numerous awards including the DiRoNA (Distinguished Restaurants of North America) award. While visiting, I had the truffle risotto which was to die for. The menu offers a full range of entrées and the staff is attentive and accommodating to all. The Cité embodies all that is Real Chicago because it offers extraordinary views of our great city and delicious food. After one visit, you will see why the Cité has been a Chicago institute of over 30 years. If the views and food aren’t enough to bring you to the Cité, every Wednesday and Saturday you will have the best seat in town to watch the Navy Pier fireworks.

Be sure to read our blog for other great Real Chicago ideas from the Drake Hotel. Ready to come? Book your hotel room in Chicago at the Drake Hotel.

Chicago's Hot Dawg

July 23, 2011
There are many hot dogs stands and restaurants in Chicago, but there are few as memorable as Superdawg. High school sweethearts, Maurie and Florence Berman, opened Superdawg in May of 1948. Maurie had recently returned from World War II and wanted to open a business that he and Florence could operate during the summers since he was going to Northwestern University and Florence was teaching during the school year. With that idea, Superdawg was born. The menu hasn’t changed much since 1948 except for the addition of a few items. While Superdawg is known for their Superdawg, you can still find burgers like the Supercheesie and sandwiches such as the Superchic. Every meal still comes with crinkle cut French fries, a pickle and their signature pickled green tomato just like they did in 1948. To wash down all of the food, I recommended the delicious supermalts or supershakes. While the food may seem ordinary, it is anything but. Superdawg has been featured on Emeril Live and the Food Network’s Unwrapped. It has also been honored with being named one of the 1,000 places to see before you die. The food isn’t the only thing that keeps customers coming back for more though. Superdawg remains to be one of the last drive-ins, complete with carhop service that allows you to order your food from the car and a carhop deliver will carry it to your car. Maurie and Flaurie, the two 12 foot hot dog statues, have also become an icon and welcome customers to Superdawg. Still family owned and operated, Maurie, Florence, their children and grandchildren have followed one rule since opening back in 1948: “always to serve you in a manner that will make you want to return – and bring your friends, and new generations with you”. To experience this Real Chicago drive-in you can visit the original Superdawg at 6363 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, IL 60646 or the recently opened Superdawg at 333 S. Milwaukee Avenue, Wheeling, IL 60090. Be sure to read our blog for other great Real Chicago ideas from the Drake Hotel. Ready to come? Book your hotel room in Chicago at the Drake Hotel.

A Real Taste of Chicago

July 19, 2011
No Chicago summer would be complete without the Taste of Chicago. The warm weather, great music, beautiful Chicago scenery and of course delicious food is what makes this  festival the world’s largest outdoor food fest and Chicago’s biggest event. Upon walking up to the festival, it is hard to keep your mouth from watering. Immersed in hundreds of favors, you will instantaneously feel your stomach growl. Getting its start on July 4th, 1980, this festival has quickly grown in size and popularity. It attracts over 3 million visitors and has something to offer for everyone. With almost 60 restaurants and food vendors in attendance each summer, there are more than 300 menu options. Being able to sample all of the new cuisines is definitely my favorite part of the festival, and the taste makes sure that is possible. Whether you enjoy more exotic foods like Texas de Brazil’s signature garlic-marinated picanha, a traditional Chicago meal like Connie’s deep dish cheese pizza or one of “humana healthier choices” like Polo Café and Catering’s crab cake nuggets, you’re bound to find it here. Along with the food that’s served, there is also wonderful live entertainment. The Taste of Chicago offers free concerts with local and well-known entertainers. The Taste of Chicago embodies all that is Real Chicago. Scrumptious foods, live music and the breathtaking Chicago skyline all at your fingertips is what Chicago is all about during the summer. The Taste of Chicago is located in Grant Park. Michigan Ave. and Congress Dr. Chicago, IL 60628 Be sure to read our blog for other great Real Chicago ideas from the Drake Hotel. Ready to come? Book your hotel room in Chicago at the Drake Hotel.

Monkeying Around at the Lincoln Park Zoo

June 24, 2011

It is hard to believe that one of the oldest zoological gardens in the country can be found just mere minutes from the downtown area of Chicago. Lincoln Park Zoo, an essential element of the historic Lincoln Park neighborhood, has remained a popular Chicago attraction for its astounding range of animals but most importantly because it is one of the last free admission zoos remaining in the country. Founded in 1868, this 1,200 acre zoo welcomes more than 3 million visitors each year looking to marvel at the world-class animals. The intimate atmosphere is the perfect place to spend an afternoon walking along the tree-lined paths, visiting the lovely flowering gardens and, of course, stimulating those calf muscles with a scenic paddle boat ride on beautiful waters. But we can’t forget about the animals, of course! With about 80 different mammals, ranging from polar bears and lions to African Apes, all furry friends can be found at the famous Regenstein Center. If you’re a fan of the cold-blooded creatures, don’t miss the reptiles, amphibians and 70 different species of snakes as they crawl and slither behind glass barricades. And if you simply relish in the sweet sounds of a summertime chirp, the McCormick Bird house won’t disappoint as it houses over 75 different species of birds. Want something more down to earth? The Blum-Kovler Penguin-Seabird House is the haven for the vast array of aquatic birds. Needless to say, if you’re an animal lover you’ll be able to make a day of this Real Chicago spot. If you love nature, the park’s trails provide a fine escape from the human filled sidewalks of the downtown area. A short twenty minute leisurely walk from The Drake, down the historic street of Inner Lakeshore Drive, this oasis is a must-see when you’re staying downtown. Lincoln Park Zoo is open 365 days a year and hours vary depending on the season. This a prime place to spend an afternoon and starting this Friday, today, Lincoln Park Zoo is hosting their annual “Jammin’ at the Zoo”. OneRepublic and Jason Reeves will be performing at the “wildest concert in town” and all proceeds will be used to support the programs and animals at the zoo. Lincoln Park Zoo is located at 2200 North Cannon Drive Chicago, IL 60614 Be sure to read our blog for other great Real Chicago ideas from the Drake Hotel. Ready to come? Book your hotel room in Chicago at the Drake Hotel.

Such Great Heights

June 22, 2011

There’s no better way to see all of Chicago than by bravely taking the elevator to the 94th floor of the John Hancock Observatory. After your heart stops racing from the 40 second elevator ride, which happens to be the fastest elevator in America, you will be in awe of the spectacular 360 degree views. Standing at 1,030 feet in the air, I believe that the John Hancock Observatory is the perfect place to go on a warm summer day to get a taste of what is Real Chicago. The John Hancock Observatory was completed in 1970 and offers one of the most amazing views of Chicago. Not only can you see all of Chicago and beautiful Lake Michigan but on a clear day you can also see the surrounding states like Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin. The outside observation deck also adds to the experience because it allows you to get a true feel of how high up you are by breathing in the fresh air. After relishing in all the beauty that the John Hancock offers, you can take relax by getting ice cream at Lavazza Expression Café, which also is located inside The Drake Hotel. For a more formal option, The John Hancock Observatory also has an incredible restaurant called The Signature Room. Here you can take in all the views while enjoying their delicious food. For me, The John Hancock Observatory is part of Real Chicago because it reminds me of all the wonderful places and activities Chicago has to offer. You can see famous Chicago institutions such as Soliders Field and Navy Pier as well as the boats on Lake Michigan. It’s a constant reminder of all of the history and exciting activities that Chicago offers every day. Adults (12+) ....................$23 Youth (3-11) ....................$18 Children (under 3) ............FREE* Open daily from 9:00am to 11:00pm (last admission at 10.30pm) Be sure to read our blog for other great Real Chicago ideas from the Drake Hotel. Ready to come? Book your hotel room in Chicago at the Drake Hotel.