Hometown Distilleries in a Beer City

I’d not heard much mention of either of these local businesses, but I’ll have to investigate the matter further.

Er Umm Have a Drink

The phrase “Chicago distilleries” tends to elicit visions of cinematic gunfights and bullet-pocked Cadillacs — not hyper-educated Gen Xers surrounded by 60 pounds of raw ginger. Welcome to the new era of boutique spirit making in Chicago.

Your local guides are Sonat and Robert Birnecker and Sonja and Derek Kassebaum, the young couples who own and operate the area’s only two artisan distilleries, and whose meticulously made spirits have been called “impeccable” and “second to none” by local tastemakers like Kyle McHugh and Charles Joly.

At first glance, the Koval Distillery (owned and run by the Birneckers) and North Shore Distillery (the Kassebaums’ outfit) could not be more different. Koval, in Ravenswood, is proudly urban, while North Shore’s operations sit well outside the city, in north suburban Lake Bluff. The Birneckers’ stars are luscious, intense liqueurs in flavors like rose hip and ginger; the Kassebaums specialize in subtle, sophisticated riffs on old favorites, including vodka, gin and aquavit.

But take a closer look and you’ll find the two companies run along parallel paths: the proprietors are dedicated, with a single-minded fervor that borders on the evangelical, to the promotion of choice local ingredients, to spirits produced in small, fastidiously monitored batches, and, most emphatically, to reintroduce Americans to that oft-forgotten inalienable right: the freedom to get sauced on booze made in your own backyard.

[Click to continue reading Chicago News Cooperative – Koval and North Shore – Hometown Distilleries in a Beer City – NYTimes.com]

Cocktail Lounge BW

North Shore, in Lake Bluff, is known for Distiller’s Gin #6

Distiller’s Gin No. 6 is extremely smooth, with a complex blance of citrus, spice and floral notes. We create No. 6 (90 proof) by infusing our grain-based spirit with hand-selected botanicals from all over the world, along with fresh lemon zest and lavender blossoms.

If you have never tasted this gin, or you think you don’t like gin, we strongly recommend trying No. 6 neat (straight) before mixing it into a cocktail or martini. This will allow you to smell and taste the complex nature of this gin. We know you will be amazed at how much you like this gin.

[Click to continue reading North Shore Distillery – Award-winning Distiller’s Gin No. 6 – Modern Dry Gin]

Koval makes several kinds of spirits, including an intriguing-sounding rye, something made from levant spelt, pear brandy, and other tasty items.

Koval Inc. is the first boutique distillery located in Chicago. Its founders, Robert and Sonat Birnecker, gave up academic careers to bring the distilling traditions and techniques of Robert’s Austrian grandfather to America. Certified both organic and kosher, Koval holds itself to the highest standards of purity and craftsmanship. Koval avoids the common industry practice of outsourcing the production of neural grain spirits for rectification, making all of its products from scratch. Each step of the distilling process, from the “mashing” to the bottling is carefully monitored to insure that only the best spirit reaches your lips.

[Click to continue reading Koval Distillery – Koval Distillery]

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