Chicago Whisky Week 2013 Preview

April 19 2013 - 11:00 AM

Maybe you think of whisky as a winter exclusive, but consider pouring yourself one more hearty dram before the tulips come up… it’s time for Whisky Week in Chicago!

This annual tradition, for those who don’t know, is built around the ginormous celebration of distilled grain known as WhiskyFest. The sold-out tasting event takes place on Friday, April 26, bringing distillers, bottlers, and brand ambassadors to town from every whisky-making region of the world (including Chicago’s own backyard). Rather than fly in and fly out though, many of these folks tipple their way through the city all week doing smaller tastings, parties, and meet-and-greets. It’s a great way to try new spirits or meet the people behind your favorite brands without shelling out for the main event.

This year, Chicago Foodies is getting in on the action, too. All next week we’ll be running extensive coverage on all things whisky. Check back in as we talk to local craft distillers Koval, sample some Trader Joe’s Scotch, and mix up a different classic whisky cocktail each and every day. Even beer drinkers will find something to enjoy when we get to the bottom of barrel-aged brews.

In the meantime, break out your calendar and schedule a little time with something tasty. Below are our suggestions for Whisky Week events around the city, but make sure to check out the full listing as well as more details on the official Whisky Week website.



Koval LogoDelilah’s Rye Experiences
Four days of meet-and-greets plus samples from rye whisky producers
*Monday – Koval
*Tuesday – High West
*Wednesday – FEW sprits
*Thursday – Masterson’s Canadian Rye
Delilah’s, 7pm each night, free

Aberfeldy/Dewars Scotch Blending Session
Samples of Dewars and Aberfeldy single malt, the star component of Dewars blends
Delilah’s (upstairs), Tuesday 8pm, free

FEW LogoMeet-and-greet with FEW Sprits’ Paul Hletko
Bar on Buena, Wednesday 8-10pm, free admission/cash bar

New Holland’s Bourbon and Beer
Meet-and-greet with the folks from New Holland as well as specialty cocktails
Twisted Spoke, Wednesday 7-10, free admission/cash bar

Stop & Drink Tasting
Whisky and spirit sample blowout featuring Big Bottom Distillery, Clyde May, Headframe Spirits, Heavenly Spirits, Oola, and Pacific Edge
Clark Street Ale House, Wednesday 7pm, $20 (no reservations required)

Ward Eight LogoMeet Your Local Distillers
Free samples and a meet-and-greet with Journeyman, Koval, Mississippi River Distilling Company and FEW Spirits
Ward Eight, Thursday 7pm, free


Whisky Dinners

Gordon & MacPhail LogoAn Evening with Gordon & MacPhail
Old World whisky and New American cooking
Sable Kitchen and Bar, Tuesday 7pm, call 312-755-9704 for pricing

Journeyman Distillery Tasting and Food Pairing
The Monkey’s Paw, Tuesday, call 773-413-9314 for tickets

Koval Whiskey Dinner
Four courses paired with Koval cocktails
Bistro Campagne, Wednesday 6:30pm, $65 per person, reservations required

Balcones LogoBalcones Distillers Dinner
Four courses paired with Balcones spirits
Jerry’s Sandwiches – Wicker Park, Wednesday 7pm, $50

Bites and Flights
Chris Riesbeck will discuss Gordon & MacPhail Scotch paired with cheese and bite flights
Marion Street Cheese Market, Wednesday 7-9, no reservations required

Journeyman Distillery Pairing Dinner
2Sparrows, Friday 7pm, $60 + tax/gratuity


Other Fun

Knob CreekDrink.Think
Readings from Chicago-area drink writers and samples of Knob Creek and Jacob’s Ghost whiskies
Tavernita, Tuesday, Drinks at 6pm, readings at 7pm, free admission/cash bar

Whiskey and Hip Hop
Intensely competitive whiskey and hip hop trivia and servings of boozy punch.
Jerry’s Sandwiches – Wicker Park, Thursday, Trivia at 8:30pm, Live Hip Hop at 10pm, free admission/cash bar

First Annual American Whiskey Affair
Meet with producers and sample over 75 American whiskeys with live music and food
Untitled, Thursday 8:30-11pm, $50 preorder, $75 at the door

Official WhiskyFest Afterparty
Delilah’s, Friday, 10pm, free admission/cash bar