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Drink Thu Mar 26 2009
Malt Advocate's WhiskyFest may be next Wednesday, but bars in Chicago start celebrating tonight. If you're going to WhiskyFest, attending some of these is a great way to get in the mood for the big night; if you're not going, it's a great (and cheap--most of these events are free) way to get in on the action and learn more about the complexities of whisky, weather it be scotch, Canadian, bourbon, or Kentucky.
• Delilah's (2771 N. Lincoln Ave.) has something going on every night of the week. Tonight at 8pm it's a free tasting of Ardbeg Scotch Whisky and a showing of paintings of the distillery.
• Delilah's has two events today. At 4pm they're hosting the launch of the book Beer Hunter, Whisky Chaser, which honors liquor expert Michael Jackson. At 8pm Maker's Mark will be in for a free seminar and bourbon tasting.
• Enjoy a free whisky tasting at Printer's Row Wine Shop (719 S. Dearborn) from 6-8pm. On hand will be Bulleit Bourbon, The Classic Malts, Johnnie Walker and Bushmills.
• Heaven Hill distiller Craig Beam will be a busy man today, appearing at three Binny's locations for a meet and greet and bottle signing. Catch him in Lakeview (3000 N. Clark) from 3-4:30pm, at the Downtown location (213 W. Grand) from 5-6:30pm, and in the South Loop (1132 S. Jefferson) from 7-9pm. Free.
• If Jack Daniels is your man, head to Delilah's tonight at 8pm to meet representatives from the distillery.
• Bar on Buena (910 W. Buena) normally has 3-4 whisky flights on their menu, but tonight they've put together 20 flights, all of which will be discounted up to 25%. Along with whiskey, the bar got its hands on 1 of 12 barrels of Harviestoun Old Engine Oil that will be available in the U.S. The bar will tap their firkin of this Scottish Ale aged in Highland Park 40 casks tonight.
• Buffalo Trace Distillery comes to Delilah's tonight at 8pm for a complete portfolio tasting. Free.
• Templeton Rye hosts a classic cocktail night at Fizz Bar & Grill (3220 N. Lincoln) from 8-10pm where you can learn about some classic Prohibition-era cocktails and Templeton's connection with Al Capone. Free, but RSVPs are highly encouraged (773-348-6088).
• Tonight Delilah's event features Kentucky Whiskey. This tutorial is geared for both novices and experts. It starts at 6pm with Bernheim Wheat Whiskey, followed by Maker's Mark Wheated Bourbon at 8pm. The Old Forester Birthday Bourbon 2008 Vintage Release will happen at 10pm, and Templeton Rye Whiskey takes the stage at midnight. Free.
• 1 North Kitchen & Bar (1 N. Wacker) hosts their annual Whisky Night, with 70 different scotches, whiskies, and bourbons (and a few tequilas) available for sampling. The after-work event runs from 5-7pm and costs $25 a person. Tickets will be available at the door, but RSVPs are highly recommended. Call 312-750-9700 to reserve your place.
• Clark Street Ale House (742 N. Clark) hosts an evening of single malt scotches from Gordon & MacPhail from 7:30-9:30pm. The $20 ticket includes samples from 8 different labels and appetizers. Call 312-642-9253 to RSVP.
• Is it scotch, bourbon, or whisky? Isn't it all whisky? Or is it whiskey? Find out at Five Star Bar's (1424 W. Chicago) "Great Whisk(e)y Debate." This event features Whisk(ey) Professors Simon Brookings from Laphroaig & Ardmore, Dan Tullio from Canadian Club, and Steve Cole, Small Batch Bourbons to educate and lead a tasting of different kinds of whisk(e)y.
• Twisted Spoke's (501 N. Ogden) Bourbonpalooza features some heavy hitters from the bourbon world, including Julian Van Winkle and "Mr. Wild Turkey" Jimmy Russell. Also on hand will be Brian Ellison of Death's Door Spirits. Nacional 27's Adam Seger will be mixing up some original cocktails, and they'll be serving bourbon-inspired snacks. 8pm-2am.
• Delilah's is serving up scotch tonight, with separate tastings of single malt, vatted malt, and blended scotch. It kicks off with The Glenlivet at 7pm, followed by Compass Box Vatted Malt Whisky at 10pm, and Chivas 18-year at midnight. Free.
• Binny's South Loop hosts "World of Whiskies" from 5-8pm where you can sample over 100 whiskies of various styles from around the world. $50 for Binny's card members, $60 for non-members.
• If you're not planning on going to Bourbonpalooza but would still like to meet Julian Van Winkle, head to Roscoe Village's Lush Wine & Spirits (2232 W. Roscoe), where he'll be from 6-8pm, signing autographs and hosting a bourbon tasting. Free.
• Today's the actual fest, but Delilah's is hosting the official afterparty with guest bartenders Preston & Julian Van Winkle. The festivites start at 10pm. Free.
• Nurse your hangover at Delilah's, where several master distillers and whiskey makers will be on hand to talk shop. 6-9pm. Free.