Midwest Living Review
Get ready for a full sensory experience on Koval Distillery's tours as you smell, see and sample whisky products while hearing the story of how they're made. This distillery opened in a nondescript warehouse in Chicago's Ravenswood neighborhood in 2008. Founded by a young couple, she an American, he an Austrian who learned the distilling process from his grandfather, Koval makes white whiskey, a clear alcohol described as a bridge between vodka and whiskey; amber whiskey aged in oak barrels; and liqueurs flavored with flowers, coffee and ginger. It's very much a small family business, and their Lion's Pride whiskey is named for their oldest son, Lion. Tours explain the three steps of the distilling process: making mash, fermenting, distilling. Our tour guide, Meg Bell, said Koval gets its grains from the Midwest, primarily from Kansas. She also explained the difference between the head, hearts and tails of the grain. Koval whiskey uses only the hearts, while moonshine uses all three, which is why it tastes so harsh. All of Koval's products are organic and kosher and made from scratch rather than with outsourced neutral spirits. Its Rye Chicago won a Gold Medal 2010 White Whiskey by the American Distilling Institute, USA. Tours are booked through the distillery website, cost $10 and last 1.5 to 2 hours. Two-hour, $200 whiskey workshops are available to those who want to learn the the history of whiskey and train their palate.