Don’t be mad. I know I promised a bourbon/baking post. I am working on it, I swear! It’s just that I had such a fun day that I have to tell you about.
Every now and again you have an experience that far exceeds expectations. It’s the polar opposite of going to that movie everyone’s raving about and feeling let down. So many things these days are exaggerated so when something truly impresses, it sort of sticks with you.
That experience – my last minute trip to Whiskey Acres. Last Thursday I saw something on the interwebs about their new artisan release. I’m still in the early excitement of my state bourbon project so I felt it only appropriate to go and check these guys out! With a few persuasive texts on Thursday evening, I recruited a mom friend to make the trek, organized the kids after school pick-up and off we went for a Friday road trip.
A 90 minute drive and we arrived in Dekalb, Illinois, home of estate distillery, Whiskey Acres. According to one friend, whiskey is the only reason to find yourself in this small town 60 miles west of Chicago. Is he right? Wrong? I have no idea. I went for the bourbon and was not disappointed!
Virtually from the minute you totter onto their repurposed stone courtyard, it’s as though you’re hanging out with friends. Very fun friends who make cocktails with homemade vodka, rye and bourbon!
The best part is that they’re not stiff or snobby – we all know that kind of establishment – the kind where the subliminal message says ‘Don’t you know who I am?’ Insert a Tina Fey style eyeroll here. Not my scene.
Instead, we were quickly whisked into their tasting room. Once inside, we got to talking with Nick, one of the co-founders. Kind of in the middle of a sentence, he interrupts himself to say “It’s driving me crazy that you guys don’t have a drink yet. Can I get you a bourbon slushy?”
Even if it wasn’t 95 degrees, how can anyone resist an offer like that?!
The other patrons are equally friendly – like the little boy who clambered onto the stool beside me and said hi. Then we proceeded to discuss the characters on his shirt and how he wants to be an alchemist or a warrior when he grows up.
I mean, what’s not to love? We were having such a good time hanging in the tasting room, chatting with Trish (our drinks maker/tour expert/self-proclaimed hummus aficionado) and Nick that we were almost late for our distillery tour!
Walking around the distillery grounds and hearing about how they start with seeds to grow the corn in their products and how the water comes from an aquifer below the distilling room, it’s clear what they’re doing here is a labor of love. Like many other places, the still has a name (Flo), but unlike many other places, they set up life-size cutouts of distiller (“Hot Rob”) in the distilling room and in the barrel house. Don’t you think a cutout of someone would make your workplace more fun?
To top it off, at one point Nick mentioned how they’ve got a maple barrel bourbon. Sounds delicious, doesn’t it? Well it certainly was my lucky day because he even offered to let me sneak a taste.
I’m no fool, of course I said hell yeah!
I look forward to my next Whiskey Acres visit when it’s cool enough to hang out by the fire pit and stay awhile. Perhaps bring the kiddos to run around and a picnic, or perhaps another school day adventure. Either way, I know I’ll have a great time there. What’s an experience you had that far exceeded your expectations? I hope it was as good as this!