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No Drama Gin Packs A Punch

By Anthony Todd in Food on Jun 11, 2012 4:00PM

2012_6_11_Inovasi.jpg Chefs are doing anything they can to make their restaurants unique dining destinations. House-made charcuterie, home-grown vegetables, and even single-barrel branded whiskeys are becoming commonplace in Chicago restaurants. But not many chefs have bothered to commission their own liquor. Chef John Des Rosiers, of Inovasi, Moderno and Wisma, partnered with North Shore Distillery to create a gin just for his restaurants.

No Drama Gin may turn out to be something of a misnomer, because of the high alcohol content of the product. Standard gin is usually bottled at 90 proof, but this is an "over-proof" gin, bottled at 110 proof. "The intensity of the aromatics is so much stronger with this gin," Des Rosiers told us.

The collaboration started when Des Rosiers toured North Shore Distillery a few years ago. "We were going through the process of how they make their gin," Des Rosiers described. "We were tasting it right out of the still at 180 proof. It wasn't hot; it was really good and very smooth. I was surprised." He asked the folks at North Shore to bottle their North Shore #6 gin at a higher proof, and the end result is a surprisingly unique product.

Overproof gins still aren't very common. FEW Distillery makes a "navy strength" overproof gin, but that's the only other local option in this category. The gin is served at Inovasi and Moderno, and Des Rosiers explained that they use it in any cocktail with lower-alcohol liquors to balance things out. "We also serve it straight or on the rocks all the time. It's beautiful. People that don't like gin like this."

Inovasi No Drama Gin is available for retail purchase at Wisma for $33 per bottle. [Wisma is located at 24 East Scranton Ave. in Lake Bluff (847) 234-1805, and 528 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Libertyville (847) 362-4117.]