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Great Lakes Distillery's Kinnickinnic Whiskey lands at Binny's

By Roger Kamholz in Food on Jun 9, 2011 6:00PM

2011_6_KKwhiskey.jpgChicago-area whiskey enthusiasts have one more local option to explore, now that Great Lakes Distillery's Kinnickinnic Whiskey is being sold at Binny's Chicagoland locations and through its online store. This according to a tweet sent out yesterday by the Milwaukee-based distillery.

The name Kinnickinnic (which comes from an Ojibwe word meaning "what is mixed") is a fitting choice for the product - and not just because it's fun to say. It's a blend of Kentucky straight bourbon and malt whiskey made by GLD. The distillery won't say from where it is sourcing the bourbon, other than that it hails from "one of Kentucky's finest distilleries." At 86 proof, it'll deliver a bit more kick than most mass-market whiskeys (typically bottled at 40 percent ABV). The distillery has also chosen to forgo filtering to retain the best flavor.

Chicago-based whiskey writer Chuck Cowdery got his hands on some Kinnickinnic and blogged about the stuff on Monday. According to Cowdery, lots of newer American micro-distilleries like Great Lakes struggle with the time and expense needed to make aged whiskey. He calls GLD's approach of sourcing straight bourbon (which must be aged at least two years to be called such) from an established Kentucky distiller and mixing it with its housemade malt whiskey a "unique solution" to the problem.

Although Cowdery doesn't recommend Kinnickinnic for neat sipping - "It's hot with a very strong, white dog flavor... There's just no getting around its youth." - the following comment caught our attention (as you might expect): "The best use for these very vegetal, very young whiskeys is in cocktails, where a skillful mixologist can both temper and complement their sharp edges. That's true in this case as well." To beat the recent Chicago heat, Cowdery mixed himself up a Kinnickinnic whiskey sour. Rave reviews ensued.