The Great American Cooking Expo...All Booze & No Food

November 13, 2011

When a Groupon for a food and wine festival was recently featured, my mom and I decided to grab some tickets and head out for a Saturday filled with numerous taste tests. The Great American Cooking Expo took place Saturday and Sunday November 12-13, 2011 at Arlington Race Track in Arlington Heights, IL. The expo featured more than 140 food and drink vendors showcasing what's new in their respective areas. 

Mom and I arrived early and the expo was already packed. The expo was set up with rows of booths and we were given a sheet listing all of the liquor that was being sampled. Little did we know, the "cooking expo" was more like a "booze expo". Every booth we went to was pouring shots of hard liquor from handmade vodka to coffee-infused Patron. There was actually very little food to be found other than a spread of Korean fare that was being made for the crowds. Cooking demonstrations were limited to just four presentations on the Saturday we went, and they ran out of food to give out to those viewing the demonstrations.

We made our way from booth to booth sampling everything from barbecue sauce to soy nut butter. For the $20 we paid for a pair of tickets, it was definitely worth the infinite taste tests and booze samples. I was excited to see the array of beer vendors and even found a Chicago brewery I had never heard of, Argus Brewery.

Overall, The Great American Cooking Expo fell short of the food and cooking side, but if you appreciate liquor and beer, you'll find yourself right at home. It was fun to try many different varieties of wine and beer (and vodka!) I had never seen, let alone heard of, I just think the expo needs to be positioned as an alcohol-focused event. Check out some of what we sampled at the expo below. Cheers!

Two Fat Guys Barbecue Sauce

Ed Hardy sparkling wine...who knew?

Korean-style scallion pancake

Korean barbecue beef

Korean noodles

Qream Strawberry Liquor

Smirnoff Fluffed...they were mixing it with orange soda, yuck!

Tito's Handmade Vodka

Coffee-infused wine

Herbal tea...we needed a break from the booze

Holiday cocktails made with Don Q rum

More barbecue sauce

UV Cake Vodka mixed with pineapple juice

Northshore Distillery in Lake Bluff, IL...heard great things about this place!

Cripin's Blackberry Pear Cider...tastes just like a snakebite!

Big Eddy...special release from Leinenkugel's

Twist on a classic...Blue Moon and champagne grapes

Guinness Black Lager...lighter in taste than original Guinness

My favorite vodka I tried...infused with cucumber essence, very refreshing!

Gramp's Gourmet Pickles...these were flying like hotcakes!

Cooking demo kitchen

The Great American Cooking Expo
November 12 & 13, 2011
Arlington Park Racecourse
2200 W. Euclid Ave.
Arlington Heights IL, 60006


  1. Any idea if there is a Cooking Expo planned for 2012 at Arlington?

  2. Hey there! I haven't heard anything about an additional Expo for this year but I'd check the Arlington Race Track website periodically for info!


Latest on Instagram

© The Ghost Guest. Design by FCD.