Two Big Events
with Bill Welter
Binny's in Highland Park
November 6th, 6-8pm
Bill Welter, owner and distiller of Journeyman, will present his various whiskies, gins, liqueurs, rums... he makes just about everything. He will lead us through his portfolio and the art of being a do-it-all craft distiller. Space is limited, so reserve your spot today by calling (847) 831-5400 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yamazaki Meet and Greet
with Mike Miyamoto
Binny's South Loop
November 6th, 6-8pm
Meet Japan's top distiller, Mike Miyamoto, and learn about what makes Yamazaki a world class distillery. Taste whiskies from their portfolio, and maybe get a sneak preview of the new heavily peated version of Hakushu. No need to RSVP for this one.
This thing is the Whiskey Hotline, but that doesn't mean we are stuck in a rut. For example...
What is aguardiente, you ask? Literally "fire water," and it depends on where it comes from. Zhumir is from Ecuador, and it breaks down like this. Start with sugar distillate (think rum or cachaca). Only made with stalks and whatever other plant material they throw in there (think grappa). That means it's wild and gnarly, so they flavor with anise and other botanicals to cover up its raw qualities (so really, think aquavit). We tasted the Zhumir and couldn't live without it. And it might be our first product from Ecuador that isn't a cigar (just don't fact check us on that).
Pierde Almas 9
For the first time, mezcal and gin come together in one product, but not in a VodQuila sort of way. This is for real. Pierde Almas double distills the mezcal, then allows botanicals to macerate for a full day before a third distillation. The 9 means they use nine botanicals: Juniper berries, coriander, star anise, fennel seed, orange peel, cassia bark, angelica root, orris root and nutmeg. So that's how you make wild mezcal even wilder.
BroVo does a couple cool things at once. They make female-focused, cocktail-centric spirits. Their botanical liqueurs are great building blocks for giving cocktails a savory twist. But what we really like is their line of Amaros. Each is an infusion created by mixologists with an emphasis on local flair. Round one was all Seattle, but keep your eyes peeled, because Chicago is next.
Sure, there are other coffee liqueurs out there. But trust us, this one from Journeyman is awesome. What makes it different? For one, the spirit base is unaged bourbon, which is already pretty great. Then they add vanilla, cinnamon, organic cane syrup and fair trade coffee beans, which they soak for four days. Not too sweet, not too thick. One more reason why Michigan rules.
The Binny's Handpicked Cask program is alive and well. A lot of our casks are just now arriving, and we're still waiting for few more. We can hardly wait.
Our new Handpicked Gordon & Macphail bottles are here and waiting for you. That includes bottlings from Miltonduff, Tormore and Caol Ila that you will only find at Binny's.
About our Handpicked Signatory casks. Well, we're still waiting. We were going to blame the government shutdown or something. Last we heard, our casks were on a boat off the East Coast. Keep an eye on the Hotline, and get excited. Casks include Dufftown, North British, Glen Scotia and Edradour.
We also have our very own Handpicked English Whiskey Company vatting. It's a dual cask vatting, and we love it for its balance of peaty earth, honey and oak. And in another Chicago cask, we teamed up with North Side gastronomic hotspot fountainhead to bring another delicious EWC cask to Chicago.
Speaking of Chicago Casks, our bros over at fountainhead have one more cask up their sleeve. They're splitting a Kilchoman cask with their bros at Bar on Buena and their bros at Binny's, and calling it the Barrel Room Option cask. Dude. It's better than popped collars and backwards caps. For real.
Still speaking of Chicago Casks, we have still have some Compass Box Delilah's on hand, and it is fantastic. And we don't want to spread rumors (we totally do) but there may be a Binny's CB release in the works too.
Our two Handpicked Wathen's Casks just arrived. Here and here. We tried to hit that cherished Wathen's profile, only with more honey and sweetness and spice. Binny's Wathen's is the best Wathen's.
Our two Handpicked Four Roses F-yeast recipes have arrived - here and here. We also have the other eight recipes picked and inbound. Not only does Binny's offer every single Four Roses recipe, but we'll have totally refreshed expressions soon. Like next week.
Also still waiting: Ridgemont Reserve 1792.
Bill's Michigan Wheat
A wheat whiskey from New Holland? Yes, please. Their stuff is always great and never seems to last. This bottle is named after Bill Owens, founder of The American Distilling Institute. By the way, don't forget about New Holland's Beer Barrel Aged Bourbon. It would be a cool gift for fans of beer and whiskey alike.
The gins are good. Instead of candy or syrup or baked goods, they are flavored to emphasize traditional gin botanicals. Flavors like lime and ginger. There's an emphasis on craft: copper pot still distillation, second distillation botanical infusion, globally sourced and hand-selected botanicals. And so on.
Penny Packer Bourbon
Check out the back label: this bourbon was produced in Kentucky, but bottled in Germany. How? They ship tanks over to Europe and bottle it there, where it grew to become a top seller across Europe. Not wanting America to miss out, they now ship it back to America in bottles. It may be one of the 'smoothest' bourbons ever - probably because of its 80-proof strength.
This new bottling from Diageo Classic Malt Talisker was formerly a UK-only release, but is now available at Binny's. This is heavy whisky, with ginger notes, spice, ham, sweet fruit and a touch of peaty smoke. Should be a regular release, assuming it weathers itself.
Even around here, mezcal doesn't get the love it deserves. Very few spirits in the world are as complex and entrenched in tradition while staying this affordable. Case in point: Mezcalero. Raw, wild mezcal sourced from tiny distilleries throughout Oaxaca. Each release is a different tiny batch, all smoky and complex and raw mezcal.
Last month we introduced Quincy Street, our new buds in Riverside, Illinois. This month they're back with a couple more great, local spirits. First, check out Bourbon Spring, their new young bourbon that sees a few months in small oak barrels. We've seen this trick before, but Bourbon Spring shows promise and we're looking forward to more. Next up, something actually new! They produced a limited run of a mead distillate made from local wildflower honey. Keeping our fingers crossed.
Chapter II: Angels and Devils
Not a Dan Brown reference. It's the second Devil's Punchbowl release from Arran. There's a light and dark motif going on - a vatting of old and young casks. How many can dance on the head of a pin? It's in the details. Limited. Also here in limited supply: Arran 16.
Remember Wolfschmidt vodka? Not the "vodka liqueur," but the actual vodka? It's coming back. We knew you'd be excited.
Holiday gift sets should arrive any time. More about that in the next Hotline, but until then, keep your eyes peeled.
We've been hit with an influx of excellent Japanese whisky lately. Rumor is, more is on the way. Maybe something from Taiwan, too.
About craft distilleries aging in small barrels: we're seeing less of it. That means a lot of new barrel aged gins, which require less aging. This is good. Gin is more interesting than vodka, and the final whiskey will be that much better too.
Pike Creek. Canadian whisky, port cask finish, affordable. Cool.
New from Cedar Ridge: Iowa Single Malt? Count us in.
The new Peter Arkle limited edition AnCnoc is here. This time he drew a brick wall and the bottle bears the warning label: remarkable liquid. Wonderfully sherried and luscious AnCnoc.
What the world needs now is a new flavor of Jagermeister. It smells a lot like a barbershop.
Frida Kahlo Tequila is coming back soon, and at a better price than ever. Keep an eye out.
The high-end Jim Beam Signature Craft is here. Pacult gave this bottle top marks in the September Spirit Journal. Should be a continuing release.
New from Glengoyne: 15 year and 18 year bottlings. These replaces vintage bottlings in their core line.
Top of the line from Absolut: Elyx. Vodka, only more expensive.
Speaking of Absolut, their new flavor is Chicago. Cool, but they didn't pick the obvious choice: thick pizza and hot dogs with radioactive green relish.
Glenfiddich Age of Discovery is here. They are proud of the all-ex bourbon aging.
The newest vintage from Glenrothes is 2001. A more affordable bottle from Glenrothes that still offers their trademark breadth and cream.
Check out this expensive new Cognac bottle.
The newest seasonal release from Letherbee is Autumnal gin. We approve. Featured flavors: smoke and mace.
We get it, you can't be a star mixologist every single night. Sometimes you run out of Cocchi Americano. Or Few Bourbon Aged Gin. Or spherical ice. Right? So keep a few of these premixed cocktails on hand. They won't notice that you didn't make it yourself. They won't even care.
High West Boulevardier
A revival of a Prohibition-era cocktail, and it's barrel aged too! The Boulevardier was originally made with Campari, vermouth and bourbon. High West upped the bourbon content (a wise decision) and included Vya Vermouth for the sweet and Gran Classico for the bitter. Then they gave the mixed cocktail four months of barrel age. Talk about getting it right.
Barrel Aged 36th Vote Manhattan
Barrel aged Manhattan. Aged in barrels that formerly held High West Rye. What about that doesn't sound fantastic?
Crafthouse Moscow Mule
Charles Joly is getting a lot of local exposure for his premixed designer cocktails - he was even on TV (yes, that's our very own South Loop Tasting Room bar behind him). And for good reason. These cocktails are fresh and complex and easy to drink. The Moscow Mule is exactly what it should be: vodka, ginger beer, cane sugar and lime. All you need is ice and a copper mug.
Joly resurrected a Chicago legend with this one. Gin and mint, cane sugar and lime. The gin is softer than you'd expect, making this an easy choice even if you aren't a gin person. By the way, Joly's third Crafthouse bottling, Poloma, is being held up by bottling issues.
These designer-mixed cocktails come from the same people behind Germain Robin and more. Think of it this way - they're twenty bucks each - there's two tall cocktails. If you go to any bar in Chicago and get a barrel aged cocktail, you'll pay $20 per. Here, you get two strong ones, for twenty bucks, and they're awesome. Our favorite is the St. Nick, but you really can't go wrong.
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*Not responsible for misprints or typographical errors. Advertised items limited to quantities on hand. Sizes 750ml unless otherwise stated. Not all items are available at all Binny's locations.