Koval adds tasting room to Ravenswood distillery

Chicago Scene

CHICAGO — Distillery in Ravenswood opened its on-site tasting room earlier this fall, completing the experience with distillery tours, classes, events, a store, and now a tasting room with small bites all under one roof.

Founded in 2008 by husband-and-wife team, Dr. Robert Birnecker and Dr. Sonat Birnecker Hart, Koval began as the first distillery to open in Chicago since the mid-1800s. Crafting a Chicago line of whiskey, gin and specialty spirits using unique organic grains and signature “heart cut” techniques.

The Koval tasting room draws on influences from the founders’ Central European heritage and world travels, while also looking for inspiration closer to home, with local, seasonal elements, as well as collaborations with Chicago area makers such as Spoken Cafe, Lucila’s Alfajores, and Hewn Bread.

The Koval Distillery

“We feel that the new tasting room truly completes a visit to Koval,” said owner and president, Dr. Sonat Birnecker Hart. “When people come to the distillery, they will not only have the ability to tour behind-the-scenes and learn about our process, but also relax with a cocktail at the bar or patio, and even bring home a bottle. It really turns an educational experience into a full night out, which was always our dream from the very beginning.”

The menu will feature a mix of classic cocktails and imaginative originals designed to highlight the flavor profiles of each Koval spirit – from crowd favorites such as Koval Bourbon or Dry Gin to more uncommon offerings like liqueurs, fruit brandies, and limited-edition releases. In addition to cocktails,
a variety of perfect pairs (Koval spirits expertly combined with delicious bite-sized treats), flights, light food, and international coffee drinks will be available.

The full menu can be found on the KOVAL website.

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The Koval process

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