Run by husband-and-wife team Robert and Sonat Birnecker, Koval was Chicago's first new distillery since prohibition when it opened in 2008, producing a variety of small-batch spirits, including whiskey and gin. The distillery recently moved to a new (and much larger) production facility in Ravenswood, not far from breweries like Dovetail and Begyle.
The best feature of the new digs? That'd be the long-awaited tasting room and patio, where guests can enjoy house cocktails, flights, coffee and a small selection of baked goods. The bright, airy space features a bar backed by a display of Koval's products and a row of overstuffed ’70s-inspired Italian leather couches to sink into while you sip an Old Fashioned.
With a mix of classic drinks and original concoctions, the cocktail menu boasts everything from a barrel aged Old Fashioned (made with a bit of rose hip liqueur) to an Almost Negroni, substituing cranberry liqueur and a bitter soda for Campari. A pairing menu allows you explore the flavors of Koval's various spirits alongside a snack, such as millet whiskey and maple nut fudge or vodka and a lemon bar.
While you can't reserve a table in the tasting room or on the patio, you can still book a tour of Koval's distillery if you're curious about how exactly the booze if your cocktail is produced.