This month, Koval Distillery has gone above and beyond in providing 2 amazing and delicious cocktails for our Beverage of the Month feature. Established in 2008, KOVAL produces organic whiskey, liqueurs and specialty spirits in Chicago’s first distillery since the mid-1800s.
Founders Robert and Sonat Birnecker, chose to leave their academic careers to bring the distilling traditions of Robert’s Austrian family to America. In making this decision, they vowed to make organic spirits from scratch (avoiding the common industry practice of purchasing and bottling pre-made spirits) and to change the way people understand whiskey by creating a new, signature style – using only the “heart” cut of the distillate – affording a brighter, cleaner take on whiskey.
The name Koval means “blacksmith,” in numerous Eastern European languages, but the word in Yiddish also refers to a “black sheep” or someone who forges ahead or does something new or out of the ordinary. Sonat’s great-grandfather earned Koval as his nickname when, at the ripe old age of 17, he surprised his family and emigrated from Vienna to Chicago in the early 1900s to start a business. Coincidentally, the surname of Robert’s grandfather (at whose side Robert learned the art of distilling) is Schmid – German for “smith.” Sonat and Robert chose the name Koval to honor both men – and to reflect their own extraordinary decision to leave their careers to make some of the most unique whiskey in America.
Each KOVAL product is made from grain to bottle at KOVAL‘s production facility in Chicago. KOVAL works with a co-op of Midwest organic farms to source the freshest ingredients to produce clean, organic whiskies and spirits from scratch using only the heart cut (the purest cut) of the distillate.
KOVAL’S FOUR GRAIN WHISKEY
KOVAL’s Four Grain Whiskey is distilled from a mash bill of rye, wheat, oat, and malted barley, aged in heavily charred new oak and bottled single barrel at 94 proof. The four grains define its depth with a banana nose, creamy palate, and spicy finish.
COCKTAIL: BLOOD & SAND
3/4 oz KOVAL Four Grain Whiskey
3/4 oz Blood Orange Juice
3/4 oz Dolin Blanc
3/4 oz Cherry Herring
KOVAL’S DRY GIN
KOVAL’s Dry Gin is made with a unique variety of woodland spices. Juniper and wildflowers envelop the nose, while the taste is dry, yet vibrant – clean and nuanced by emerald grasses, golden citrus, and white pepper with a round, floral body. Crisp enough to enjoy straight and of course excellent in cocktails both classic and contemporary.
COCKTAIL: DRY GIN GIMLET
1 1/2 oz KOVAL Dry Gin
1/2 oz KOVAL Ginger Liqueur
1 oz fresh lime juice
1/4 oz Green Chartreuse
3 drops Cardamom Bitters
Shake, strain and serve up
Want to make these cocktails yourself? Visit the Koval Distillery or check out your local Binny’s.