Embark on a journey through the soul of Chicago’s spirits as we unveil the city’s Best Distilleries. From small-batch wonders to established names, these establishments redefine the art of crafting exceptional libations. Chicago’s rich history of distilling finds expression in the meticulous production of artisanal spirits, inviting enthusiasts to explore a world of unique flavors. Whether you’re a seasoned enthusiast looking for unique flavors or someone new to exploring the city’s crafted spirits, our handpicked selection directs you to the premier destinations. Join us in discovering the heart of Chicago’s distilling culture, where each sip tells a story of craftsmanship, innovation, and the timeless allure of finely distilled spirits. Get ready to raise your glass and dive into the Best Distilleries in the Windy City.
KOVAL Store sits just west of Graceland Cemetery and faces North Ravenswood Ave. Two doctors opened the KOVAL Store in 2008 and used unique stills to produce whiskey, gin, and other specialty liquors. In addition to using a custom still, KOVAL Store has several awards, including the best international whiskey for several years. They offer tours, private tastings, and hosting private events. Whiskey is the premier distilled beverage at KOVAL Store with several varieties, like bourbon, barrel-aged, and white whiskey. KOVAL Store also produces various gins, including dry gin, cranberry gin, and barrelled gin. Finally, they have a line of specially distilled liquors like coffee liquor, ginger, rose hip, and Chrysanthemum & Honey. Each liquor uses organic ingredients for the best flavor and responsible sourcing.
The Rhine Hall Distillery on Fulton Ave is just north of the United Center. Rhine Hall takes its name from the Rhine River, which flows through Germany and Austria, inspiring the line of fine fruit brandies that Rhine Hall is famous for. The distillery is run by co-founders from Austria with professional hockey history. This unique distillery offers private tastings, tours, and even cocktail classes for aspiring home bartenders. Rhine Hall Distillery focuses on fruit Eau de vies or schnapps, which includes flavors like apple, banana, cherry, mango, pineapple, and even beer. These sweet fruit brandies are best in cocktails, and Rhine Hall champions the cordial cocktail with a comprehensive menu using their spirits as a base. It’s one of the most incredible distilleries in Chicago.
Mere feet outside the Ogilvie Transportation Center is the CH Distillery, in the heart of the West Loop area in Chicago. With distillery tours and a partner restaurant, Jinsei Motto, CH Distillery shows its hand-crafted organic liquors in quality cocktails that pair with an extensive fine dining menu. It is an experience in itself. CH Distillery takes its name from the city of Chicago and the chemical compound for alcohol. The bottles range from gin and vodka to rum and Amargo de chili, each promising organic grains, and ingredients to craft every bottle with a unique twist. Plus, CH Distiller slaps the CH brand on every bottle.
On the strange corner of Milwaukee and Fullerton sits the Chicago Distilling Company. It’s close to Palmer Square Park and occupies one of the many buildings that line Milwaukee Ave. Logan Square hosts the Chicago Distilling Company, run by a family and operated by women, yet provides the perfect backdrop for private events. The building has an industrial design that speaks to the creative liquors distilled there. The Chicago Distilling Company produces a range of liquors, including absinthe, bourbon, rye, gin, and vodka. Also on the menu are excellent hand-crafted cocktails to highlight each liquor traditionally. It doesn’t stop at spirits, as the Chicago Distilling Company also produces ready-to-drink cocktails using their award-winning liquors as a base.
918 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 60202
FEW Spirits is two blocks west of Lee Street Beach near the corner of Chicago Ave and Main Street. The Evanston suburb is home to where FEW Spirits began brewing their small-batch, prohibition-era-inspired whiskey. The brand used to offer tours and tastings of their distillery and liquors, but the pandemic forced them to shutter public access. They hope to offer tours and tastings again as society normalizes. Rye, whiskey, and bourbon are the premier beverages distilled at FEW Spirits. However, the gin also appears in the form of breakfast gin infused with Earl Gray bergamot, barrel gin, and American gin. Each bottle has a graphic depicting a scene from the 1892 World’s Fair in Chicago.
I-90 cuts through most of Chicago, but if you blink between Diversey and Western, you’ll miss Maplewood Brewery & Distillery sitting right off the highway. Maplewood Brewery & Distillery is a unique blend of taphouse, craft cocktail bar, and meeting place all in one. The proximity to Regal Cinemas makes it a great adult date destination. Plus, the swag is quite nice, with various banners, t-shirts, and even pint glasses for sale. Maplewood Brewery & Distillery crafts aged spirits that include whiskey, rye, and gin. Each has excellent flavors and mixes well in cocktails or sipped on the rocks. They also produce a range of clear spirits, including rum, spruce gin, and brewers gin. Chocolate, bitter orange, and pistachio liquors round out the distilled beverages. We didn’t even get to the beers, as the liquors are so flavorful that it’s hard to try new things!
Apologue Liqueurs sits on the west side of Brownell Woods in an unremarkable neighborhood. Using only non-GMO ingredients and committing to an urban growing environment, Apologue is a distillery on a mission. Apologue believes in giving back to the community, making it a point to donate to nonprofits and source ingredients from local vendors to make a positive impact. Apologue uses some exciting ingredients for their spirits. A berry-infused spirit isn’t too strange, but the saffron, persimmon, and celery root are as unique as they come. Each creative liquor gives classic cocktails a new twist, and Apologue highlights their unique beverages in each hand-crafted drink.
Letherbee doesn’t have an illustrious background with loads of cash investors but comes from hard work, industry knowledge, and a drive to craft quality liquors. Brenton Engle, distiller and the owner, started distilling moonshine in his basement, eventually reaching a level of international distribution few see. Gin dominates the stills at Letherbee, with a fragrant option debuting annually. In addition to the special gins, a standard organic gin joins absinthe, and Bësk, a Swedish liquor distilled for the popular craft cocktail bars around the Chicago area. These flavorful liquors are excellent as shots or incorporated into a wide range of cocktails to spice things up a bit!
The east side of Dan Ryan Woods on 91st and Hermitage is home to the Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery. Sitting in a giant building, Wild Blossom plays host to weekly tours, private events, mead clubs, and tastings. This particular distillery focuses on the fermentation of mead, an ancient beverage created with honey and yeast. Wild Blossom’s mead and wine are among the best in Chicago, especially with the fruity flavors and bottle designs. The Meadery and Winery produce the Chicago Bull’s Blood wine that comes in Cabernet, Merlot, or Syrah blends. While this particular establishment doesn’t distill spirits, the inclusion of wine and mead is as old as time!
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We compiled all the findings in one location and sorted them by the frequency of mentions to ensure you receive top-notch recommendations. We strive to present you with a curated list of establishments that truly stand out, allowing you to enjoy the best dining experiences possible.
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