The Chicago-based distillery expands beyond whisky. By Holly Graham.
What is it? Koval produces spirits in Chicago’s first distillery, originally established in the mid-1800s. Koval itself was founded in 2008 by Robert and Sonat Birnecker, who wanted to bring the distilling traditions of Robert’s Austrian family to the US, making organic spirits from scratch and controlling each stage from milling locally grown grain to distilling, barreling and bottling. Known for their whiskies, Koval also produce peach brandy, prune brandy, vodka, sunchoke spirit, barrelled gin and dry gin. Koval’s dry gin uses their white whiskey as a base and is distilled with grains of paradise, rose hip, juniper, angelica root and coriander.
How does it taste? On the nose, grapefruit is the dominant citrus, chased with overripe banana and herbaceous notes of coriander and thyme. On the mouth, it’s a fruity sip with the overripe banana once again apparent, balanced with floral notes from lavender and a savoury finish of black pepper and coriander. Works well neat, but would make a complex, fruit-forward gin and tonic.