Sipping Local Booze at the West Loop's New CH Distillery
Tremaine Atkinson is the West Loop's newest gin pusher.
His territory: the stretch of Randolph Street between Clinton and Jefferson, home to his new CH Distillery, which is distilling wheat-based gin and vodka with Illinois-grown grain.
"We call this our 'gateway' gin," says Atkinson of CH's Key Gin, made with key lime, juniper and lavender. "It's a smooth, easy drinker that doesn't smell like a Christmas tree."
Try it with house-made tonic ($11) at the distillery's sleek modern-industrial cocktail bar. Pale orange in hue and swirling with aromatics, the drink is leagues beyond a standard-issue G&T.
CH's London Dry is redolent with classic gin botanicals: juniper, coriander and cardamom. Request it in a spiced, savory Bloody Mary ($11)--a drinkable after-work snack.
There's more to CH than just juniper: They're also aging rum in bourbon barrels and have a wheat-based whiskey in the works. Bottles of vodka and gin can be purchased at the bar ($35 for 750 ml).
Its food is as thoughtfully prepared as the spirits, with sophisticated snacks like salmon roe with pumpernickel blini ($18) and shiitake pâté on rye ($12).
Go on Saturdays for a tour ($15), which includes "The Tradition": a shot of CH's vodka or gin, with rye bread and pickles on the side.
Please check your inbox to verify your email address.