Last week was Chicago Craft Spirit Week, and I attended the Independent Spirits Expo, which brought together dozens of distillers from across the globe. Held at Carmichael's Warehouse, the Expo offered tastings of new liquors and liqueurs, as well as old standbys. After tasting as many different sips as I could, here are 10 that stood out.
With an exhibitor list that neared 100 and each exhibitor showcasing at least a few bottles, I tasked myself with trying as wide a range of spirits as possible, and sampled whiskeys, gins, vodkas, rums, and liqueurs. Though I'm a huge whiskey fan, only four made my top 10 list. The surprise? Gin. I found several delicious new gins that really excited me—gins I would love to have in my home bar.
I also found that distillers are also really emphasizing local ingredients in their spirits—100 percent of Roughstock's ingredients come from Montana, Chicago-based Koval uses barrels from just north in Minnesota, and Berkshire Mountain Distillers gets its corn from two miles away and water from an onsite spring. More than ever, spirits are expressions of the places they're made. Check out my favorite bottles from the Indie Spirits Expo in the slideshow above »
About the Author: Amy Cavanaugh writes about spirits, food, and travel from her home base of Chicago. Her favorite cocktail is a Manhattan.