Drinks

Sipping Local Booze at the West Loop's New CH Distillery

Sophisticated Chicago-made spirits at 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.

CH Distillery 564 W. Randolph St. Chicago IL 60661 312-707-8780

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