The top rated Chicago hostel, Holiday Jones offers private and shared rooms with the most affordable nightly rates in the city. Just one stop away from downtown.
Located in the heart of the popular Wicker Park neighborhood, Holiday Jones allows guests to stay like a native in Chicago while still having easy access to Chicago’s city center and top tourist attractions. In a building that was transformed from a single resident occupancy into a modern upscale boutique hotel/hostel, Holiday Jones is for the new world of travelers, or as we like to call them, “The Enlightened Travelers.” So whether you’re in town for a concert, conference, or just to see the sights, stop by to grab an espresso, check out a room, or even snack on an empanada.
For the first floor cafe, we wanted something that fit with Holiday Jones, meaning we wanted something cool and unique, yet appealing to the discerning, value-conscious, guests that would be occupying our hospitality establishment. It took some time (as all great things do), but eventually our path crossed with the folks of 5411 Empanadas. Much like us, they were a young, rag-tag, group of ambitious upstarts, only with exotic Argentine accents, and alluring tans. They were hungry to transition their business from a food truck, to brick-and-mortar establishments. And we were just hungry. Hungry for their delicious native baked delights that we still struggle to properly pronounce. Smash cut to right now. They’re inside of us! Baking up their ever-so enticing empanadas and slinging hot shots of espresso, in a sensual South American way, for all to enjoy.
An empanada wouldn’t be complete without a “Fernet and Coke” to wash it down. A traditional Argentine drink, sometimes known as “Fernando” or “Cabezón,” fernet is an Italian liqueur, with a top-secret recipe that hasn't changed since its creation in 1845. Fratelli Branca Distillerie, who produces Fernet, say it includes 27 different herbs and spices taken from four continents, including South African aloe, gentian root, chamomile, iris, rhubarb, gum myrrh, red cinchona bark, galanga, cinnamon, zedoary, and yellow Iranian saffron. The drink is black looking, bitter and very strong - even after Coca-Cola is added to sweeten it a bit. It’s an acquired taste with a herbal flavor that's almost medicinal and was in fact created and marketed as a health tonic (thereby allowing it to bypass Prohibition laws in the US). Today you can sample Fernet at Holiday Jones, or better yet make it for yourself!
To make a traditional Fernet and Coke you’ll need the following ingredients:
First turn your attention to the ice-cubes. Try not to use more than three cubes or the drink will be too watery. Add the Fernet and slowly pour in the Coca-Cola. You will get a brown chocolaty foam, which you have to “kill” with a few more drops of Fernet. This final touch is almost like a ritual for Argentinians as it delivers that bitterness in the first zip. Enjoy!