Paging Dr. Chilton! The History of Lubbock’s Iconic Cocktail (And the Best Ones in Downtown) cover image

Paging Dr. Chilton! The History of Lubbock’s Iconic Cocktail (And the Best Ones in Downtown)

Downtown LBK • July 5, 2023

The city of Lubbock is known for a few things. Of course, the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Buddy Holly and his band, The Crickets. And finally, the Chilton. Two lemons. One shot of vodka. Some soda water. A salted rim. That’s it. Those four ingredients are all you need to mix and enjoy the iconic beverage created right here in the Hub City. 

If you’re lucky, you might get as far as Dallas, Texas before no one knows what a Chilton is. You can try to tell the bartender it’s only four ingredients… it’s so simple to make… yet, for some reason that hasn’t been discovered, Chiltons just never taste the same once you leave West Texas.

Maybe it’s similar to how piña coladas taste better on the beach… or how hot chocolate pairs well with a winter trip to the mountains.

Whatever it may be, we love it. And we’re going to keep telling the story of how the Chilton came to be, passing it down to generations of Lubbockites to come. 

The (Supposed) Story

To be completely honest, we’re not even sure this is a true story… but it’s the only one we’ve ever heard, so we’re sticking to it. It’s the one that’s been told by bartenders since the 70s–although no one around here actually witnessed the creation of the Chilton.

The story takes place at Lubbock Country Club. Iconic in its own right–but even more so now. 

Legend says… a man, Dr. Chilton, walked up to the bar one summer day and started giving the bartender behind the counter instructions.

Salt the rim.

Fill the glass with ice. 

Squeeze in the juice of two lemons.

Add one shot of vodka.

Top with soda water.


Garnish with a lemon wedge. 

Thus, step-by-step, the Chilton was born.  

The story isn’t long or complicated, but should it be? Seems fitting that the story is just about as simple as the drink itself. 

Our Downtown Favorites

So, now that we’ve recounted the legend of the famous local cocktail, let’s talk about where you can get your hands on the best one in Downtown. 

Although it may seem hard to mess up a Chilton, it happens. Too much liquor. Too much soda water. But the most common mistake is not enough lemon. 

Dr. Chilton was very clear–the juice of two whole lemons. Yet, sometimes they’re made with the juice of two lemon wedges. Umm… we don’t remember ordering a vodka soda with a twist? 

But have no fear, these four bars in downtown Lubbock have perfected the Chilton–and we highly recommend you stop by and order one soon. 

The Brewery LBK

Although they’re known for their award-winning craft beer, The Brewery LBK can also make a dang-good Chilton. The rim–perfectly salted. The lemon–exquisitely measured. 

So if you want to enjoy the Brewery’s delicious food, eclectic atmosphere, or dog-friendly wrap-around porch, but you’re not much of a beer-drinker, a Chilton is an excellent option. 

Our favorite part: Chiltons are $3 at the Brewery on Thursdays. Happy hour, anyone? 

Flipper’s Tavern

Let’s be honest. Flipper’s Tavern already has a lot to offer. 

Artisan hotdogs. Pinball machines… everywhere. And a welcoming, casual atmosphere. What more could you want? Oh yeah, an incredible Chilton. 

Flipper’s Chiltons are special. They’re the lemoniest (is it a word? Who knows, but it is when we’re on this topic) Chilton you’ll find downtown. 

Flipper’s also celebrates happy hour all day long on Thursday, so that means $1 off Chiltons and beer. We’ll see you there!  

Midnight Shift 

How about Lubbock’s iconic cocktail with a side of gorgeous patio? 

That’s what you can expect if you’re ordering at Midnight Shift! The bar + restaurant is connected to downtown’s Cotton Court Hotel

Just outside the bar, you’ll find picnic tables, a fire pit, and yard games to enjoy while you sip on your Chilton. It’s a summertime paradise. 

Midnight Shift’s happy hour is Monday through Thursday 5-7 pm. Get over there and give their Chilton a try!

Bodine’s Cocktail Parlor 

Bodine’s Cocktail Parlor is one of the newest additions to business in downtown Lubbock. And trust us when we say–they know how to serve a delicious drink. 

If you’re looking for a fancier night out on the town, order your Chilton at Bodine’s. The cocktail parlor boasts retro vibes and beautifully garnished drinks–perfect to take your evening up a notch. 

Bodine’s runs different, creative-themed specials all the time, but you have to keep an eye on their Instagram to catch them! We’ll see you at the next one.

So if you haven’t figured it out yet, Lubbock loves our Chiltons. We’ll give you one more tip: if you’re not much of a lemon person, Chiltons can be made with any flavor of vodka you prefer. We love blueberry and cucumber! 

If you decide to give one of these Chiltons a try, be sure to take a picture, post it to your Instagram story, and tag both Downtown LBK and the bar you order it from! 

And when you’re enjoying your night out on the town, Downtown LBK always encourages you to drive sober and drink responsibly. In the words of famous rapper MadeinTYO, “Uber everywhere.”