I have grown up in the suburbs of Chicago since age 3 and have now lived in the city itself for over 3 years. Want to know one of my favorite things about living here? There is always more to discover! I could live in the city for the next 40 years, and I would still be discovering fun new places! CH Distillery is one of my newest faves! Not only is CH Distillery an actual, functioning distillery open for tours, it is also a gorgeous cocktail bar with a small, delicious kitchen! So Chicagoans or those of you planning a trip to Chicago soon, you need to add CH Distillery to your list and here’s why:
You Get an Up Close Look!
You can get an up close look at how they do it with a tour. If you’ve never gone on a tour of a liquor facility before, they make great date nights if you are interested in how things are made, science, or drinking alcohol. Bryan and I have been on both a wine and beer tour, but this was our first distillery and I found out I actually had NO IDEA how vodka was made. The biggest take away – the good alcohol, as in the alcohol that you want to drink, rises to the top of the metal columns (I think they look a bit like flutes) and is carried over to a new area where it is then cooled back into liquid. I didn’t do well in chemistry at all but I find that really cool! At the end of the tour, you will also get to try The Tradition, which is their take on a classic Russian way to drink vodka – chilled CH Vodka served alongside rye bread and pickles. I will be honest with you – this was the first time I had ever enjoyed sipping vodka clean. It was so smooth with a really subtle sweetness. Plus I’m dorky and love getting to try a different “Tradition”!
CH Distillery Knows Their Stuff!
We got to tour with Tremaine, who is the co-founder and lead distiller, and he is laid back, funny and incredibly knowledgable. To go on a tour with a founder is cool on it’s own, but Tremaine and CH Distillery really cares about the product. Such passion is infectious. Not only are they making an amazing vodka, but they also make gin, bourbon, rum, limoncello, and even Aquavit which is a rare Scandinavian spirit (I had to look that one up when I saw it was in Bryan’s cocktail). They love experimenting with new ideas and flavors, connecting with Dark Matter Coffee to make a liqueur. CH Distillery is also the only distillery making grain to bottle vodka from Illinois-grown ingredients. I love that! I even learned that their grain comes from Kane County, which is where I grew up!
The Delicious Cocktails
Lastly, they have this amazing bartender named Azreal who will make drinks for you based on your mood. Her whole philosophy is that drinks have emotions, too. She will ask you some questions and create something brand new for you on the spot. But forewarning, she might not be able to remember what she used! She is seriously an artist. Such creativity is amazing to watch and yes, the drinks she made us both were incredible!
The Amazing Food!
Our tour wasn’t until 7, so we decided to hang out afterwards to try out their food and I’m so glad we did. We ordered a couple things to share – a Lamb dish with a salad on the side and a Mushroom Risotto. Both were incredible! I can’t wait to go back and try some more items off the menu.
I’m going to go with Industrial Chic. There is a big glass window right behind the bar where you can see the distillery and all the equipment plus there is a lot of stainless steal behind the bar. In addition, you have some concrete column and beams. However, all that is off set my some cool wood features, fabric denim coasters, and cool light fixtures. It all comes together to work perfectly. Even for a Tuesday night, it definitely felt like the place to be!