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Craft spirits created by Chicago's top coctaileurs and bartenderwildmen.
March 2016 Issue / Vol. 4, No. 6            World-class gin, seasonal gins, fernet, bësk, absinthe.


Executive Chef
Anthony Fullylove

Executive Sous Chef
Lee Hillson

Executive Chef
Forest Hamrick

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Wine Educator Gary Spadafore on Napa Valley

Il Terrazzo: Simple becomes special.

Certified Sommelier
Mitch Ober



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Letherbee Distillers | World-class gin, seasonal gins, fernet, bësk, absinthe | Chicago, Illinois He loves whiskey, and he loves making things. So when Brenton Engel lived on a farm in Illinois in the mid-2000s, it made sense to try to make some hooch. He came up with Illinois Joy, a spirit he describes as closer to rum than whiskey that he made by fermenting white sugar. “Think of it more as a corn-flavored rum,” Engel said. “Most moonshine is made this way.” In the next couple years, Illinois Joy—ILJOY, endearingly—started gaining a cult following outside neighborhood bars in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood. Engel made regular deliveries to Jason Vaughn, now at Pub Royale. It was a hit with his colleagues at Lula Café. And occasionally, to this day, an empty jar of ILJOY shows up in the basement at Longman & Eagle. When Engel started bartending, he progressed to adding botanicals to his booze. Through “a twist of fate, punk shows, and late-night drinking at local dives,” with Chicago’s topnotch cocktaileurs and “bartenderwildmen”, the idea of creating a distillery started to coalesce. “These dudes can party,” Engel said. “And they can make great booze.” The crew comprised Engel, co-founder Cody Hudson (Struggle Inc.), Nathan Ozug (the Longman & Eagle drink slinger), Robert Haynes (Analogue Chicago), and John McCourt. Engel created an LLC and called it Let There Be Distillers. “It was a way to celebrate the resurgence of small distillers in the USA,” Engel said.