A paper with the phrase “Let There Be Gin,” taped to an otherwise plain glass lobby door in Ravenswood, is the only indication that this location is home to one of our favorite burgeoning distilleries.
But inside Letherbee’s bare-bones headquarters, new spirits are being imagined and released at an impressive pace.
Less than one year after its launch, the tiny distillery run by Brenton Engel has just released barrel-aged absinthe.
Charred Oak Absinthe Brun ($40 for 375 ml), currently rolling out at bars and liquor shops across town, boasts a beautiful golden color. It’s barrel-aged for six months in new charred-oak casks, and its luscious anise flavor has a warm, toasted finish. Engel believes it’s the first absinthe of its kind.
Finishing touches are also being put on Vernal Gin ($35 for 750 ml), infused with cornflower, rose hip and chamomile. It will be available come spring in limited quantity.
And that’s only the beginning. Keep an eye out for a coffee liqueur collaboration with Dark Matter, a custom gin for the forthcoming Promontory in Hyde Park, and possibly a modern Blue Curaçao for Paul McGee’s upcoming tiki bar.
Find Absinthe Brun at Provenance Food & Wine, Lush Wine & Spirits, The Green Grocer, In Fine Spirits and other shops carrying small-batch, local spirits.
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