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Beverages that Celebrate Chicago

Alpana Singh


Last night my husband and I were coming back from Hyde Park and as we drove north on Lake Shore Drive and passed Soldier Field, we were greeted with the breathtaking vista of the downtown Chicago skyline. A couple of buildings were strategically lit in formation to spell out 2016 Chicago. I, like many Chicagaons, questioned whether hosting the games was really the best use of our resources, especially when we have far more pressing and important issues to deal with but at that moment I felt a sense of awe and pride as I imagined what it would be like to share our wonderful city with the global community on an international stage.

And then of course this morning, the IOC put the kibosh on any dreams we had to host the Olympics and they did it promptly - out in the very first round with the lowest number of votes. I know Chicago has its fair share of problems and I was wishy-washy on hosting the games to begin with but I was shocked that we were eliminated so quickly. Yes, Chicago is the city of big shoulders but big shoulders equals even bigger hugs. Next March will mark my 10th Anniversay as a Chicagoan. When I moved here from Monterey I was alone, scared and overwhelmed and I thought at times I would never find my way. The city soon embraced me and I found the place where I belong. It was certainly hard to take when I learned that the selection committee dismissed the city that I love in such a quick, brutal way.  We may not have been chosen to host the Olympics but I say, "So what!" From the strength and diversity of our people to the beauty and history of our landscape, Chicago was and will always remain a world class city worth celebrating.

We Chicagoans may not accept our dissapointments easily and we seldom forget but we are very good at telling you what is great about our city. And if you're looking to raise a toast to Chicago, here are a few beverages that celebrate our city in style.   

Goose Island Juliet Beer -

Brewed and bottled at 1800 N Clybourn. The company may be owned by an international conglomerate but Chicagoan, Greg Hall, is still the man in charge and continues to raise the bar on craft beer. His latest effort includes a selection of beers were inspired by food pairings. A particular favorite of mine is the Juliet which is fermented with wild yeasts and aged in barrels that once held Cabernet Sauvignon wine. The result is a beer that drinks more like a Pinot Noir with a light rose color and flavors of tart blackberries and spice. It's a really good match with pork dishes - especially pulled pork sandwiches and lechon tacos. In addition to Goose Island, we also have Half Acre Brewery located in Northcenter and Two Brother's Brewing Company located just outside of Chicago in Warrenville.  

Metropolis Coffee

Jeff and Tony Elder are the dynamic duo and father and son team behind Metropolis Coffee. The roasting facility is located in Andersonville and they have a coffee shop located on Granville in Rogers Park. I recently visited their roasting facilities and I was immediately impressed with this quirky yet bright and passionate family and the coffee is downright addictive and delicious. They've been roasting and brewing up inspiration since 2003 and have quickly gained a strong and loyal following amongst coffee enthsusiasts. Of course, Chicago can also be proud of locally roasted Intelligenstia but as a coffee lover I say how great is it to have both companies right in our backyard.

Koval Spirits

Also located in Andersonville, Koval is Chicago's first boutique distillery. The husband and wife team of Robert and Sonat Birnecker both gave up their careers as academics to pursue their dream of bringing Robert's Austrian grandfather's techniques of distilling traditions to America. They produce and impressive selection of handmade organic and kosher vodkas, grain spirits, brandies and liqueurs. I'm a ginger nut and I love their ginger liqueur which took 60 pounds of ginger to make just 10 gallons. It is delicious mixed with a splash of soda and lemon twist or you can add it to your favorite gin for a refreshing cocktail. 

North Shore Gin No 6 -

Located in Lake Bluff, North Shore Distillery produces a variety of small batch spirits including Absinthe, Vodka and limited edition flavor infusions - the latest one being mole poblano flavored. I'm a gin drinker and I'll usually opt for Hendrick's but if a bar stocks North Shore, I'll switch over. I think the secret to North Shore gin is their use of lavender blossoms which contributes a soft floral quality to the nose. It's a beautiful gin. You could mix it with the Koval Ginger for the ultimate Chicago cocktail.    




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1 Comment

smussyolay said:

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no jeppsen's mallort? :)

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