Bobbing For Apples

It’s an age old Halloween tradition: bobbing for apples. This year, we’re bobbing for Pinnacle’s latest vodka flavor, Pinnacle Caramel Apple Vodka. You’ll be surprised at how much it tastes like an actual caramel apple. Try it alone or with one of these sweet cocktails. If vodka doesn’t appeal to you, try one of these other festive treats!

Fresh red apples floating on water beside kitchen window
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Whiskey Hotline: Rollin’ In

From the most recent edition of the Whiskey Hotline, What’s Rollin’ In!



The Only One I Love
With a name like Yellow Rose, you know it’s from Maine. Just kidding. Yellow Rose is the first legal distillery in Houston, and they’re all about extremes. Take their Outlaw Bourbon. Their secret mashbill recipe? 97% corn, despite what their website says. The Straight Rye? 95% rye. Our favorite is their Double Barrel – a bourbon that sees finishing time in cabernet barrels for six months. They first caught Brett’s eye while he was judging at the American Distilling Institute 2013 competition. Only a matter of time before they hit the shelves at Binny’s.


Fishy Businessballast-9-27-2013
How does that old saying go? “Beer before liquor?” Ballast Point proves that’s bunk by following their knockout beers with exceptional spirits, coming soon. We got a sneak preview of their delicious rums and phenomenal gin a few months ago, when their beers first hit Chicago. And we’re hoping that someday we can get their whiskey too.


Pappy Van Tequila
It turns out the T in George T Stagg stands for tequila. Expresiones del Corazon are garnering rave reviews, combining agave’s citrus and savor with caramel and spice from the most coveted American bourbon barrels. That’s right, tequila aged in barrels from George T. Stagg, Pappy Van Winkle, Sazerac, and more. High-end stuff, but amazing.


A Knock-Outchavez-9-27-2013
Also from the world of tequila comes the new Julio Cesar Chavez tequila. It’s a one-two punch of award-winning blanco and reposado. What’s the hook? We have our supplier on the ropes, trying to get the legendary boxer to do a Binny’s appearance.


Rising Sun Rising
Japan is making some of the best whiskey in the world in 2013. Case in point: Nikka Coffey. This is a great introduction to Japan, especially for bourbon drinkers. Big and sweet, it is corn distillate run through a Coffey still – a continuous column still. And it’s just one great new spirit to arrive from this producer.

Nikka operates two unique distilleries – Yoichi and Miyagikyo. We’ve had the stunning Yoichi 15 year old for a while, and now we can brag that we also have the Miyagikyo 12 year old. Or for a snapshot of what they’re doing, reach for a Taketsuru bottling, which includes whiskey from both as a blended malt. Joining the 12 year on Binny’s shelves are the new 17 and 21 year old expressions. If you care about whiskey at all, pay attention to Japan.


Grander Marnier titanium-9-27-2013
Two new flavors from that iconic orange-and-Cognac liqueur. The first: GM Titanium includes more exotic orange flavor and less sugar than the standard bottling. We think they’re targeting men, what with the macho martial arts ad tie-ins. It’s good: amped up orange and spice with less sweetness means more mixable, which is just fine with us.

The second: Grand Marnier Signature Collection No 2. Last year, they introduced a new, limited-run cherry version. This year, it’s all about peach and raspberry. Not bad. And if you’re still looking for last year’s cherry bottling, we still have a few bottles here and there.



Looking for more news from the world of specialty spirits? Be sure to check out the Whiskey Hotline.


Whiskey Hotline: Passing Shots

• First, a couple great events. For more info and to RSVP for either of these, call 312 768-4400.


• Ian MaCallum of Glen Garioch is hosting a dinner at Binny’s South Loop on October 2. Along with great whiskies from this classic Highland distillery, we’ll enjoy barbeque from Lillie’s Q.


compass-box-9-27-2013• Then, John Glazer of Compass Box is coming to Binny’s South Loop on October 8 for a tasting of some of his industry-shaking vattings, including the stunning new Delilah’s bottling, among others.


• By the way, we got a limited amount of the stunning new Compass Box Delilah’s Bottling. Super cool, Mike. Grab some soon, because not only does it support one of our favorite bars in Chicago, but it’s a steal at this price.


• New at Binny’s, two gin expressions from our friends in Madison, Yahara Bay. Their gin is good, their barrel aged gin is even better.


• You already know that California’s St. George Spirits makes a delicious Dry Rye Gin. But did you know about the limited new barrel aged version? It’s awesome.


• We really like this new barrel aged gin trend.


• What have you done for the Whiskey Hotline lately? One of our favorite customers from Ohio sent us a half gallon of Ohio maple syrup. Which we love almost as much as whiskey.


mcphail-set-9-27-2013• For collectors and gift-givers: check out this Gordon & Macphail Glenrothes 40 year old gift set. A great package at a solid price, considering what’s in the bottle. And it comes with a glass!


• Tempus Fugit is our go-to for imported, mixable liqueurs. Unlike other Fernet, their new Fernet Angelico does not taste like chewing tobacco and wintergreen gum.
Another weird but delicious liqueur – Genepi Guillaumette. It’s an Italian bitter liqueur with an herb sprig right in the bottle. Mixologists pair it with tequila, but that only hints at its versatility.


Cabrito! The little goat is back and cheaper than ever. >> Insert Chicago curse joke here. <<


forgiven-9-27-2013• Let’s say you manage a big Kentucky distillery, and you find out that your crew screwed up by mixing a rare rye with a batch of bourbon. What do you do? If you’re Eddie Russell, you taste it, fall in love with it, bottle it and sell it as Wild Turkey Forgiven.


• How could Jura follow up their collectible ’76 bottling? With ’77 of course. Rich, creamy, full of depth. Spicy with hints of peat and pear, salt, malt. It is awesome. But it better be.


• Did you hear about that Cleveland Whiskey? It harnesses the power of science to replicate the fine art of aging. That means it is aged quickly under pressure. Like a broasted chicken. Given that, it tastes a lot better than you imagine. Try it with a little water and it opens right up.


• You know it’s for real if they call it “Navy Strength.” Check out Leopold’s Navy Strength Gin. At 114 proof, it’s a mixologist’s dream.


chicken-cock-whiskey-9-27-2013• We made jokes about Chicken Cock in the past. We like to think we have grown since then. Cliff Geertz would have a field day.


• Quincy Street Distillery is the newest kid on the Chicago spirits block. We have their White Lightning, which is fine, and their Old No. 176 Gin, which is fantastic. Gin with a corn whiskey base. We’re looking forward to more, including a distilled mead.


• In other gin news, check out Aviation American Gin. Yes, it gets its name from the classic cocktail. But it turns out it’s good in a million other drinks, too. Less juniper, more botanicals and spices.


• In other moonshine news, check out Short Mountain Shine. Along with some kind of hillbilly vodka, they make a great Apple Pie ‘shine too.



Looking for more spirit news? Check out the Whiskey Hotline any time.

Independent Spirits Expo

Just a quick heads up to make sure you know about this awesome spirits event:


Independent Spirits Expo

 The Chicago Hilton Towers

720 South Michigan Ave., Chicago IL 60605

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

VIP 5-9, General 6:30-9



Buy VIP tickets here and general tickets here.


Why should you be at the Independent Spirits Expo? For starters, you’ll have a chance to sample spirits from an overwhelming number of independent distillers from all over the world. That means all those indie bottles you see on our shelves that you always wondered about. Our very own Pat Brophy is sitting in on an industry roundtable discussion earlier in the day, which is cool. Plus there’s a very good chance you’ll bump into other notables from The Whiskey Hotline and familiar faces from Binny’s stores.


But hey, it isn’t about us, right? It’s about the spirits!

Enjoy the Fruits of Summer: Watermelon Squeeze

Summer is coming to an end this Labor Day weekend, but it seems as if the summer heat is not ready to fade away. Stay cool by mixing up this refreshing cocktail for you and your pals. Trust us, they’ll love it.


Watermelon Squeeze

3 oz Smirnoff Watermelon
2 oz Watermelon Puree
2 oz Sprite


Simple Steps:
Mix ingredients and pour over ice. Enjoy with slices of freshly cut watermelon!


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Enjoy the Fruits of Summer: Lemonade Punch

When life gives you lemons, make this cocktail.


Seriously, though. It’s sweet, fresh and easy to make for a large group or for just yourself! The Lemon Q Tonic is the perfect amount of extra lemon flavoring and that extra scoop of sugar? Well, that’s just optional. (But we recommend it.)


Lemonade Punch


3 oz Dude Vodka
2 oz Lemon Q Tonic
1/2 Squeezed Lemon
Teaspoon of Sugar

Simple Steps:
Pour vodka and tonic over ice and stir in sugar. Squeeze the lemon in and enjoy!


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Enjoy the Fruits of Summer: Orange Crush

Say hello to the new Mimomsa. This fresh mix of citrus and bubbles will have you mixing up another batch before you’re done with the first. The brut is the perfect finish on this refreshing, morning treat!


Orange Crush

3 oz Grey Goose l’Orange Vodka
2 oz Stirrings Simple Blood Orange Martini
2 oz Mionetto Prosecco Brut
Orange for garnish


Simple Steps:
Mix vodka and Stirrings Martini Mix. Then add the bubbles and garnish with an orange.

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Five Ready To Serve Cocktails for Labor Day

1. Crafthouse Cocktails- These handcrafted cocktails from Chicago mixology star Charles Joly are fantastic to enjoy in your own home. All you have to do is open the bottle, pour over ice and enjoy with friends.



2. Skinny Girl- Enjoy one of the many Skinnygirl cocktails without the extra calories you don’t want. Seriously though, there are a lot of options. Margarita, Pina Colada, Sangria, Cranberry Cosmo, Peach Margarita, Grapefruit Margarita… do we need to keep going?



3. Soleil Mimosa- If you’re heading to the beach, a beach that doesn’t restrict alcohol that is, then this is all you’ll need. It’s sweet, refreshing and easy to share with friends.



4. Fluid Dynamics- It seems expensive, but then you realize you’re getting two bottled cocktails made by the most artisan craft distillery and the finest mixologists in the country.

Picture via

Picture via


5. And then there’s always your favorite wine or beer. Brewed or aged to perfection for your drinking pleasure. (Yeah we gave up… can you tell we’re ready for the weekend?)


Enjoy the Fruits of Summer: Blueberry Splash

With the summer heat, it’s necessary to dive into a fruity cocktail after a long day at work. This blueberry cocktail will help not only keep you cool, but splash up your night!


Blueberry Splash


3 oz Absolut Berri Acai Vodka
2 oz Rose’s Infusions Blue Raspberry
2 oz Lemonade
Blueberries for garnish

Simple Steps:
Mix all the contents together, pour over ice and stir in blueberries.


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