Within the past several years, Chicago and the Midwestern region have been creating expertly-crafted spirits that are popularly stocking the shelves of the area’s local bars and around the nation. Read ahead for our guide the best distilleries in and around Chicago.
CH Distillery & Cocktail bar is a beautiful distillery with creative spirits ranging from Peppercorn Vodka to Key Gin with white pepper and lavender. Beforehand, take a tour of this West Loop distillery and finish it with the Russian tradition of drinking ice cold vodka with rye bread and a pickle. They also have a list of Eastern European favorites at their bar that sits in front of their glass-encased distillation room.
CH Distillery & Cocktail Bar, 564 W Randolph St Chicago, IL 60661 312-707-8780
One of the newer distilleries in Chicago, Rhine Hall seeks to repopularize fruit brandy. Their specialty, apple brandy, is made by chopping and mashing a seasonal blend of apples using a vintage exercise bike! The final concoction is a heavenly mixture of house-made cider and Angostura bitters bottled on-site. Their smooth plum and unique mango flavors are crowd pleasers as well. Their tasting room is open Thursday to Saturday, and they also have cocktail classes available.
Rhine Hall Distillery, 2010 W Fulton St Chicago, IL 60612 312-243-4313
This mom-and-pop distillery mixes previously unimaginable concoctions. They sell not only rye and wheat, but oat, spelt and millet liquors. Koval is known for their single-grain, un-aged and organic spirits. Though the Bourbon and Four Grain are probably the most popular, give the unique millet a try. On tours, you can sample each of Koval’s products. The shop includes daily tastings and cocktail demos that you can also drink. Tours are held at 7pm on Wednesdays, a few times in the afternoon on Saturdays and also on Sundays at 2pm and 4pm.
Koval Distillery, 5121 N Ravenswood Ave Chicago, IL 60640 312-878-7988
Few’s aged gin and whiskey are housed in barrels that help to give it that great flavor and ‘wow’ factor. The botanicals and herbs they mix in are perfectly suited for lemonade or basil cocktails and tonics. Their rye is top-notch and is a great base for sazeracs, making it some of the best in the region. Also ask about their specialty micro batches.
FEW Distillery, 918 Chicago Ave, Evanston IL 60202 847-920-8628
Opened by a family with distilling roots, Chicago Distilling Co. sells gin, white whiskey and vodkas. Their award-winning gin is one of the best in the area, with a juniper flavor and a smooth finish that balances with a squeeze of lemon. Their 1,700 square foot tasting room is dedicated to sampling their spirits and teaching patrons about their distilling techniques. Tours are given Thursday to Saturday.
Chicago Distilling Company, 2359 N Milwaukee Ave Chicago, IL 60647 872-206-2774
North Shore is the distillery that helped pave the way for the distillation boom in the city. If you’re looking for some exotic and gourmet flavors, they sell the of sol chamomile citrus and Tahitian vanilla that are the best flavored vodkas in the nation. Among their arsenal, they also have gins, and aquavit as well as limited releases, but their standout is the absinthe, which is now a timeless classic. Their tasting room is open every day except Monday, and don’t forget to check out their cocktail bar, where area restaurants will deliver.
North Shore Distillery, 28913 N Herky Dr Lake Bluff, IL 60044 847-574-2499
Tailwinds Distilling Co is a distiller of rums and caye that co-owners and brothers have crafted after being inspired by their experiences in Mexico and the Caribbean. The expanding distillery is developing a barrel aging program as well. In the tasting room, patrons may sample five spirits, including a seasonal coffee rum as well as agave reserves. Expertly crafted in-house cocktails give this tiki bar a nice relaxing feeling, and it’s a great getaway for Chicagoans who are fans of the locavore movement.
Tailwinds Distilling Company, 14912 S Eastern Ave Ste 103 Plainfield, IL 60544 815-290-0786