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Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Whiskey Acres Distilling Co.

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The Whiskey Hotline recently took a brief adventure west which led us to a quaint little farm + distillery in DeKalb, IL. We were led around by the Whiskey Acres team which is run by father + son duo Jim and Jamie Walter, and co-founder Nick Nagele. They like to think of our area as the “Napa Valley of corn,” so it made sense to them to start turning this agricultural gold into delicious whiskies.

 

Binny's Whiskey Acres

 
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Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Maker’s Mark

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This trip took us from the Whiskey Hotline headquarters in Lincoln Park to a hole in the side of a hill in Loretto, KY. Normally we pick liquid from a barrel, but on this mission we were picking the wood.

 

Maker's Mark Private Select Binny's

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Bourbon Barrel Aged Wines

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Bourbon barrel aged wines have exploded in popularity alongside bourbon. We’re happy to offer three different takes on this up and coming style. These wines are aged in traditional oak and then finished for several months in used bourbon barrels to add complexity without the sweet bourbon notes overwhelming the wine.
 

Bourbon Barrel-Aged Wine

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The Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Islay

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We visited Ardbeg first, and got an incredibly in-depth tour from distillery manager Mickey Heads. Our first impression was how shockingly small the operation is, at least in comparison to their marketing budget. Ardbeg only operates a single pair of stills. To put that in perspective Glenlivet has 28 pairs.

 

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The Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Campbeltown

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After a long drive across the lowlands and down the Campbeltown peninsula we arrived in the town of Campbeltown. Once the mecca of Scotch whisky with over 35 distilleries in the town, the number has dwindled down to just 3. Two of them are owned by the Wright family, Springbank and Glengyle. Founded in 1828, the Springbank distillery is a special place for Scotch lovers.
 

Campbeltown Scotland Binny's

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The Whiskey Hotline Hits the Road: Speyside and The Highlands

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Family owned since 1895, G&M is one of Scotland’s oldest independent bottlers. They’re also a wine, spirits and beer wholesaler. Their operation is very large, spanning several acres. We got a chance to see one of their warehouses and it was a sight to behold. They use a tall, racked warehouse as opposed to the short, dank dunnage warehouses. There are some real gems in their warehouses and they have some of the oldest casks in the business. In fact, they’ve bottled the oldest single malt ever bottled, a 70-year-old Mortlach. We had the privilege of tasting two different Macallan casks from 1940 while we were there. They were both surprisingly vibrant and fresh when we expected woody and tired. We’ve got plenty of G&M cask samples we’re tasting through and considering and will update our picks in an upcoming post.
 

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Confessions of a Mixologist: Adonis

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Sherry has long had an unfair reputation. Dismissed as the stuffy drink of choice for aging British aristocrats, or sickly sweet jug wine more suited to cooking than drinking. Fortunately the variety and quality of sherry is being rediscovered. Sommeliers and bartenders are putting it back on menus and serving up classic, sherry-based cocktails from more than a century ago. This cocktail takes its name from the musical “Adonis,” one of the first Broadway hits back in 1884. Easy to prepare and lower in alcohol than most cocktails, it’s a fine way to begin an evening, or end one. I’ve seen some recipes that call for fino sherry, but I prefer to use oloroso or amontillado, such as the ones from Lustau. The richer, rounder flavors of these sherries pair well with a more full-bodied sweet vermouth like Carpano Antica. Orange bitters are key as the citrus pulls it all together.

 

Adonis

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