Tag: bar

Drinks to Warm You Up This Holiday Season

As the winter months bring more chilly winter days, getting creative and finding new drink recipes is a great way to have fun while staying warm this holiday season! Wither it’s a switch-up on an old classic or you are looking to try something new, there are plenty of drinks that can remind you of the holidays while expanding your drinking pallet and keeping warm. Below are a few ideas for your next round.

Warm Orange Maple Old Fashioned

A drink that earned the name the old fashioned has stood the test of time. An orange maple old fashioned is similar to the beverage, but with a twist. Add boiling water to maple bourbon and combine with muddled sugar and bitters. Complete with a cinnamon stick garnish and an orange peel. This drink is sure to be a holiday hit and warm you up from the inside out!

Holiday Hot Toddy

A hot toddy is a classic drink that everyone should try at some point! For a holiday take on the classic bourbon hot toddy, spice things up by adding any type of holiday spiced liquor such as pumpkin or peppermint. Plus, since this drink is tea based it’s perfect to drink morning, afternoon, or night! We recommend asking your bartender what options they have for the holidays so you can try something new and bold, you will not be disappointed.

Cranberry Gin and Tonic

Grab your classic gin and tonic and add a little bit of holiday cheer by adding come cranberry juice and garnishing with a lime, mint, or rosemary. This drink is perfect for someone who would like a cold drink but does not want anything too sugary or sweet. This beverage is the perfect balance of alcohol and festive seasonal berries so you enjoy the holidays in more ways than one.

Final Thoughts

Have fun this season knowing you don’t have to stick with your typical beer or wine. These holiday cocktails are sure to bring festive flavors and help open doors for many more festive drinks this holiday season! Spice things up while staying warm by trying one of the drinks above at your local bar Johnny’s Bar & Grill.

Pool Table Etiquette

Playing pool at a bar or a billiard is a great opportunity to have fun with friends and show off your skills. Such a game can go from a friendly match to a competitive game depending on who you are playing with and their skill level. Whether you are new to the game, or have experience, you must know a few rules of etiquette to have an enjoyable game while showing your opponent some respect. Read along as we discuss a few of these rules!

Give Your Opponent Space

It is a common mistake to hover over your opponent or grab some chalk while it is their turn. This is bad pool etiquette. If it’s your opponents turn, sit back and watch. Staying in their point of view, or even grabbing chalk while their trying to focus can be very distracting, stay classy and give them their space as you’d like your space too.

No Drinks on the Table

Don’t do it! Do not put drinks or any food on the pool table, place them in their designated area. The last thing you want to do is spill your drink on the table, ruining everyone’s time, it’s considered a big party foul!

Do Not Distract Your Opponent On Purpose

It is against the official pool association rules to stand behind an opponent’s shot. If you are playing with friends, these rules are a lot more lenient, but when playing a serious match, be respectful and don’t stand in the direction they are aiming.

Conclusion Next time you go to a bar or billiard to play pool keep these rules in mind. If you are playing with a stranger spark up a conversation to understand their level of seriousness for the game. Proper pool etiquette is important for a fun and safe game. The more you play pool the better you’ll come to understand these rules. Enjoy a game of pool and delicious food here at Johnny’s Bar & Grill in Sterling, IL!

A Brief History of Darts, a Timeless Bar Game

Bars are social spaces where people from all walks of life can sit down and enjoy drinks together. This core principle of the bar reaches all the way back to ancient times, where Greeks and Romans established taverns as places for people to congregate, drink alcohol, and socialize. Over the centuries, bars have evolved in appearance and the specific types of amenities they offer, but the idea at the heart of the bar remains the same: a place where people can kick back, socialize, and enjoy themselves.

Along with the usual activities of drinking and socializing, games are another way for people enjoy themselves in a bar. One game that you’ll likely encounter often is the game of darts. It’s a common sight to see a group of tipsy people tossing darts at a board with no semblance of accuracy – though they’re certainly enjoying themselves. With its combination of simplicity and enduring popularity, you may have wondered about the origin of this classic bar game. This blog will give a brief rundown of the evolution of darts, and its implementation in bars worldwide.

Slow and Steady Growth

One appeal of darts lies in its ease of access: anyone can pick a dart up and throw it at a board. Of course, the amount of technique and skill required to throw darts accurately is what separates a novice from a skilled player, but for a group of people looking for a bar game to play, darts are a great way to relax and have a good laugh.

The game of darts is a firmly British one, though its origins are most likely placed during the Dark Ages. As such, there aren’t many solid recordings of the development of the game of darts during this time. Most historians agree that darts originated among British soldiers, as both a pastime and a way to practice their aim. Legends dictate that the earliest darts players, who were soldiers, would throw spearheads at various targets, including alcohol containers and tree trunks. The game would grow steadily in popularity until the 19th century, during which it was played by everyone from English nobles to commoners.

Darts and Bars: a Match Made in Heaven?

In 1896, a standardized ruleset for darts was finally established by Brian Gamlin, a carpenter. Finally, people could agree on the game and darts could be widely enjoyed by bar goers – in theory, at least. In practice, that’s not what happened.

Instead of being embraced with open arms by bars, taverns, and pubs across the United Kingdom, darts were a controversial topic. Forms of gambling were outlawed at the time, and darts, termed a “game of chance” due to its high skill gap and enjoyment in bars, fell under this category.

In 1908, a bar owner was taken to court for hosting darts games in his bar. The case was dismissed, setting a precedent for allowing darts in bars and taverns. By the 1930s, darts were played in bars, taverns, and pubs worldwide, finally earning its place among bar goers from all walks of life.


To this day, darts enjoy widespread popularity at both the amateur and professional levels, played by anyone from bar goers to professional darts players, and being hosted in bars and official darts tournaments. Next time you stop by your local Johnny’s Bar & Grill, play a game of darts and participate in this historic game,which makes beauty out of simplicity!

Read This and Drink with Confidence

Ask anyone who drinks alcohol and you’ll hear something different from everybody. One will attest that tequila makes them euphoric and social, another will attribute their sudden rush of aggressiveness to too much Jack Daniels or Vodka. While there is plenty of scientific study about how alcohol affects the brain, there is still not a lot of information on how different types of alcohol work on the body. If you’ve ever wondered how to drink with more confidence, read on!

 A “Standard” to Live By

Did you know that all alcohol whether you’re talking about wine, beer, whiskey, or tequila is the same? All drinkable alcohols are made from ethanol, and ethanol just so happens to be what gets you drunk. The NIH thus has created the “standard drink” model so people can understand that all drinks regardless of their respective sizes contain the same amount of ethanol. A standard drink refers to 12 ounces of beer, 1.5 ounces of liquor, or 5 ounces of wine.

The Factor of Environment

The way in which you consume alcohol, as well as the environment where you consume it both play important roles in how it will affect your body and mood. Having a few beers while watching TV will feel different than taking 2 back-to-back shots at a club with your friends. This is because your choice of drinking environment is reinforcing the experience you want to have. For example, if you like to philosophize around the fireplace, sipping on a peaty scotch is probably a better choice than shots of Jägermeister and Red Bull.

The company you keep while drinking is also indicative of your mood while drinking. Studies have shown that when individuals are with others that are drinking heavily, they’re more inclined to feel just as intoxicated as their comrades even if they haven’t drunk as much. Choose your friends wisely when you’re planning on consuming alcohol, it will influence your experience heavily.

In the Mix

Are you feeling uncharacteristically tired or hyper after a few cocktails? If your drink is mixed with highly caffeinated or sugary liquids, it will quench the intoxicated feeling even though you’re taking on the same amount of alcohol. Sugar has been found to actually mitigate the effects of intoxication because it slows down the entry of ethanol into the bloodstream.


The best strategy for a fun night out on the town is to moderate your drinking and keep in mind that your experience with alcohol is hinged on both who you’re with as well as what you’re mixing your alcohol in if anything. When you feel like having a standard drink (or two) in an inviting and fun atmosphere, visit Johnny’s Bar & Grill today.

Winter Cocktails to Celebrate the Holidays

With the winter holidays quickly approaching settle down with your Christmas shopping list and ring in the New Year with a flavor-filled cocktail. Whether you’re looking for a new favorite to carry into the new year with you or are simply looking to play around with drink ideas during any holiday parties, read on to discover some fun winter cocktails to keep in mind this year.

Twentieth Century Cocktail

Don’t let the name fool you into thinking this classic has no place on this list. While it originated in the early 1900s, this little drink improves on your basic gin martini by introducing the flavor profiles found in Lillet Blanc, crème de cacao, and lemon juice to liven up your cocktail. Take the time to appreciate the notes of citrus and chocolate as you’re either opening presents or basking in the feeling of fresh starts this New Years.

Bartender mixing an Irish Coffee cocktail.
Bartender mixing an Irish Coffee cocktail.

Midnight Martini

What about a cocktail which packs both flavor and a punch of caffeine to help you reach midnight? To achieve its namesake of the Midnight Martini, this drink shows how sometimes the simple things work just as well as a more complicated recipe. It’s also fun because you only need two-three ingredients (espresso vodka and coffee liqueur) to get the desired coffee taste and effect. If you want to add some extra flavor to your drink, adding a little cinnamon syrup should do just the trick.

Irish Coffee

If you’d like to guarantee your being awake to welcome the new year, but don’t quite want the full alcohol punch the Midnight Martini provides, consider making an Irish Coffee to meet your needs. Using hot coffee, brown sugar syrup, and Irish whisky, you’ll be sure to relax into the celebrations with this warm, classic cocktail.

Icelandic Hot Chocolate

When it comes to winter drinks, nothing really screams “cold weather drink” quite like a cup of tasty hot chocolate. While of course drinking hot chocolate is for everyone, why not add a grown up flair to your glass this holiday season? By mixing hot chocolate, Reyka vodka, Ancho Reyes, and Angostura bitters you’ll be guaranteed a cozy drink that’ll warm you up from the inside while making you feel nostalgic for childhood.

Bloody Mary cocktail.
Bloody Mary cocktail.

Bloody Mary

This is the drink you prepare when you know someone is going to be experiencing a hangover the next morning. Fun fact: a Bloody Mary is the most popular drink on New Year’s Day, which is the reason many call it “Bloody Mary Day.” While you’re shopping for ingredients for your other drinks, it would be helpful to purchase a Bloody Mary mix on your shopping trip for the morning after.  


No matter if you’re planning to attend parties this holiday season or practice your hosting skills, keep these cocktails in mind for a memorable experience. Whether you want to try an Irish Coffee or the classic Twentieth Century Cocktail, take the time to come and visit our bartenders at Johnny’s Bar & Grill this holiday season for great food and drinks this year.

What To Pair with a Turkey Dinner

With Thanksgiving and Christmas right around the corner, turkey dinners will be abundant with savory sides and decadent desserts to match. But what about the perfect libation to match? There are so many beers, wines, and spirits to choose from, that making the one perfect pairing can seem impossible. We gathered a few suggestions on what to look for to help you narrow down your search so you can enjoy your meal with friends and family in style!


A frothy brew pairs well with turkey.

If you are a beer fanatic, you know how well it pairs well with some of our grill options. But what about the perfect brew for your turkey? It is important to find a frothy option that will complement not only the turkey, but the side dish options as well. The perfect beer will have a variety and balance of notes, such as fruity, sour, malty, spicy, and hoppy, just to name a few. Options such as a porter, Belgian ale, or Saison brew will capture the notes you are looking for to help bring out the nuances of the season.


Imbibe in a delicious wine.

There are options available to help satisfy the desires of both white and red wine lovers alike. If you love to savor a glass of red wine, a pinot noir is best due to its low bitterness, which helps enhance the flavors of your food and not overpower them. For white wine lovers, a classy sauvignon blanc is your best option with its aromatic notes to help bring out the flavors of those tasty side dishes.


A small shot of whiskey makes all the difference.

Looking to lift your mood with a flavorful spirit? Whiskey, bourbon, and scotch make the best pairing with a turkey dinner. A small pour with a few ice cubes will be more than enough to complement your dinner while still soberly enjoying family time.


Regardless of whether you are seeking the best beverage to truly enjoy the holidays or to try to get through the inevitable family drama the holidays like to bring along, we hope our pairing suggestions will help you savor the holiday season. When the holidays are over or you want to go out to get away from the hustle and bustle of the season, make sure to visit Johnny’s Bar & Grill , where we promise to have your favorite drink waiting for you!

Process of Making Tequila

Tequila is a popular alcohol in North America, but its origins can be traced back to Mexico. It was first made by the Aztec people, who used the blue agave plants that were naturally grown on the land. Agave plants produce a natural liquid and are an important part of tequila. From margaritas to tequila shots, this alcoholic beverage can be used for a variety of bar drinks.


The first step of the tequila-making process is harvesting the beautiful blue agave plant. This task requires manual labor. Mexican farmer workers, as known as “Jimadores”, carefully carve out a special portion of the plant. To get the ripest part, the Jimadores use a knife called a “Coa” to remove the center piece. The center of the agave plant produces the most juice and sugars, which makes for the best tequila.


Once the agave is removed, it is shipped over to a facility where they can start cooking the plant. It is cooked and softened to start the juice extraction. In brick ovens or steel autoclaves, the plant is injected with steam at 100 ⁰C to extract a liquid called “cooking honey”. The extraction process takes place over a couple hours until the liquid can finally be removed. Next, it is combined with a solution of sugars. It is important to note – the agave should not be overcooked! If it is overcooked, the tequila may retain a smoky flavor, which is not desirable.

 Fermentation and Distillation

The fermentation process involves yeast, water, and the agave juice. The combination of these three ingredients is called “Mosto”. The fermentation takes place in either wood or stainless steel vats for several days to convert the sugars into alcohol.

After fermentation of the ingredients are finished, a cloudy or milky liquid is produced. Next, the second distillation transforms the milky liquid into clear silver Tequila. Some distilleries go as far as three distillations!


Bottling and Aging

After the steps above are completed, the tequila can be bottled for consumption. Tequila can also be aged in wooden barrels for a richer, deeper flavor. Some companies may choose to enhance the flavor with natural colorants and sweeteners to alter the taste. So if you’re drinking Tequila Silver or sometimes called “Tequila Blanco”, it is clear and typically un-aged. With Tequila Reposado, the tequila is rested and aged between 2 months and 11 months.


From harvesting to bottling, the process of making tequila is something to be appreciated. The time and work involved in making this drink is worth it, especially for creating the perfect tequila-based beverage. So whether you want to drink it straight, or have it mixed in your margarita, choose tequila!

Comment down below your favorite tequila drink!



The Spirit of Whisky

Have you ever walked into a bar for happy hour to wet your whistle a little with some whisky? Most people do. Whisky is one of the most enjoyed spirits across the nation. When the fire-water isn’t enjoyed neat or with an ice cube, it’s being paired with some coke or as a sour. There is no wonder why it is one of the most profitable spirits in the world.

But, why are there so many terms for it? Whisky, Whisky Bourbon, and Scotch are just a few of the names that this elixir goes by. All these names can cause confusion for what is essentially the same drink. We here at Johnny’s Bar and Grill are here to shed some light on your favorite drink.

The different names for what is essentially the same drink is boiled down to the ingredients and the region where it was made. The grain being used determines what type of whisky you are going to get.


In the United States, Bourbon and Tennessee dominate our pallets and the market. First, we have Bourbon, which must contain at least 51% corn – the rest is a mix of rye, wheat or barley. About 95% of all Bourbons are distilled in Kentucky, they are synonymous with one another.

On the other hand, Tennessee Whisky must be produced in Tennessee. That may sound redundant, but whisky producing is very territorial, and Tennessee Whisky makers abhor being referred to as Bourbon. The charcoal filtering process that it goes through makes it unique to other whiskeys.


In the UK, we have smooth and delicious Scotch. Scotch is essentially Whisky, but made in Scotland. Scotch is mostly made with malted barley. Unlike most whisky’s that go well with mixing, Scotch is best enjoyed neat, or on the rocks. You don’t want to ruin that trademark bite that goes with a good Scotch. Canadian Whisky is known for its lighter and smoother taste.

Canadian Whisky, or Rye Whisky is popular with our neighbors to the north. It is often known as Rye Whisky because rye is a popular addition to give it its distinct taste. Let’s not forget about the Irish and their Whisky. It is popular for its amazingly smooth and less than sweet taste. In order to be considered Irish whisky, it must be aged in Ireland for no less than three years.

Now that you know a little bit more about the spirit of whisky, we hope the next time that you sit in a bar and order some fire tonic you feel a bit more informed. Enjoy one for us!