Friends! Have y’all been to CH Distillery & Cocktail Bar yet? LK & I kept hearing a buzz about it, so we made our way to the West Loop the other night & had one of the best tours/dinners/happy hours we’ve ever had. From learning the ins and outs of their distilling process to meeting the amazing people behind it all, we’re so happy we made the trip as part of our summer tour-the-city series! Less than three years old and Chicago’s only distillery that makes grain-to-bottle vodka, CH (which stands for Carbon + Hydrogen!) is a pearl in an ocean full of distilleries!
Besides being greeted with small drink samples & the two signature cocktails we ordered right off the bat (I tried Doctor’s Orders [CH Whiskey, Carrot, Lemon, Ancho Chili & Ginger] & LK had Rosemary’s Baby [CH Peppercorn Vodka, Lemon & Rosemary]), our spirited and uber-animated tour guide made our first few moments with CH unforgettable. We appreciate people that make things thoughtfully fun – right? Because life should be FUN! He was interactive, he cracked jokes and above all, he sure knew his stuff! Thanks to Patrick, we learned so much about the science of alcohol & what goes into making a micro-distillery operate at full capacity. Which is an incredible affair, by the way.
Vodka, gin, whiskey & rum, some tea-infused, several spicy numbers. Did I mention how good their cocktails are? Made with seasonal juices and house-made syrups, they’re the kind that make you feel all warm inside and totally satisfied just after that first sip. No joke. The Moscow Mule is made from freshly pressed ginger, one of their specialty vodka-based drinks called Baby Sharks (infused with strawberry, cucumber, red bell pepper & Serrano) is to die for, and another signature cocktail called Cease & Desist has a bit of an interesting story behind it.
Formerly called the Oxycontin cocktail, the Cease & Desist is the distillery’s most renowned drink. Why? Well, in a nut shell, oxycontin’s maker Purdue Pharma was not amused after hearing the name of the new drink (which contained none of the prescription painkiller, by the way – simply [& deliciously] a mix of CH’s London Dry Gin infused with Lapsang Souchong tea, ginger, honey & lemon). Thus, the Oxycontin cocktail was happily rechristened the Cease & Desist. Clever, huh? We thought so too! But that’s definitely not the only unique thing about this place. Once of the many perks about CH is that if you’re curious about something, the bartenders will readily entertain you with more details and answer any questions you might have, and if you fall in love with something, you can always add a bottle to your tab to take home.
This is also a fantastic date night or after-work happy hour hot spot, with cozy booths toward the back and a crazy-cool bar that faces the distillery’s giant stainless steel vats in a glass enclosure so you can witness all of behind-the-scenes action in the front. Along with their cocktails, we also had the chance to taste some bites off their menu & it’s no doubt an equal part of the appeal. First of all, you know the service is on point when you feel like you’re the only one in the place, and that’s exactly how we felt. Second, the menu is constantly changing under the standards of their fantastic Executive Chef Pablo Madrigal, and we got nibbles at their Ancho Whiskey Duck Tacos (infused with CH Whiskey & topped with brussels sprout slaw & roasted tomatillo salsa), their oysters (served with CH Key Gin mignonette & barrel aged hot sauce… yeah, that’s right) and the variety of Charcuterie & Cheese board options.
We’re cannot get enough CH’s Illinois-grown ingredients, handcrafted creative cocktails, and impeccable food menu comprised of Northern European-inspired and Modern American bites. If you have haven’t spent at least an hour in this romantic environment with the most welcoming & warm staff, the LK team highly recommends you do so soon! Cheers!