Robert Birnecker and Sonat Birnecker Hart of Chicago's Koval Distillery
The Chicago Hum-dinger cocktail

Giving Your New Year’s (and Brunch) Bubbly Cocktails a Local Kick

New Year’s Eve approaches, and the mind turns to bubbly wine. And New Year’s resolutions. And I can tell you from experience that few things stimulate creative thinking about those resolutions than a sparkling wine cocktail spiked with potent distilled spirits.

Bourbon historian Michael Veach

Michael Veach, Bourbon Historian: Q & A About Craft Whiskey’s Role

If you are a fan of whiskey in general and American whiskey in particular, then Michael Veach may have your dream job title: bourbon historian.

Craft Producers Adjusting to Spirits’ Growth Spurt

The Independent Spirits Expo held in Chicago Sept. 25 was a celebration of the rapid growth in the craft spirits sector. But a panel of industry insiders held earlier in the day discussed some of the challenges distillers face in addressing the growing consumer demand.

Frontier Whiskey Makers: The Original ‘Microdistillers’

With the Independent Spirits Expo coming up Wednesday (Sept. 25) in Chicago, what better way to warm up for one of the year’s biggest craft sampling events than with a tip of the hat to the nation’s original “microdistillers:” the frontiersmen whose stills produced the early bourbons and ryes that became the indigenous American liquors?

Tailwinds Craft Spirits Bring Tropics to Chicagoland

Discerning rum drinkers in the Chicago area may debate which locale produces the best variety. Some will say Puerto Rico, others Jamaica or Venezuela or Barbados or a variety of other nations in the Caribbean region. Now, at least a handful of Chicagoland’s craft spirits fans would include a new entry: Plainfield.

Michigan State’s Spin on School Spirit(s)

The Artisan Distilling Program at Michigan State University opened a tasting room in July. The launch of the bar near the East Lansing campus fulfilled a longtime goal of MSU professor Kris Berglund, whose program had operated in a low-profile manner since he founded it in 1996. “We’ve kind of been the black ops guys,” said Berglund. “Now we’re coming out into the light a little bit.”