Winter in the Windy City is serious stuff. "A few years ago I had to work during a blizzard," says Rachael Thompson who makes drinks at the Violet Hour, the standard-bearing craft cocktail bar in Chicago's West Town. "It was so windy and the snow was so deep, I thought I was going to die and no one would find me until spring. But people still came to the bar—one of our customers arrived on cross-country skis." In Chicago, that kind of commitment to going out to get a proper drink no matter what is not misplaced. The harsher-than-average winter weather—sub-zero temperatures, snow, ice, and of course, wind—are not just challenges: They are the annual harbingers of the city's perfected, cozy hot cocktails.