Chicago’s cocktail scene shows no signs of slowing down, leaving those who make spirits locally with more and more shelf room to showcase their efforts. And similar to the city’s top bartenders, these master distillers are taking their own creative risks with flavors, aging and spirit choices. Here are nine distilleries in and around Chicago worth experiencing firsthand.

1. Rhine Hall
Owner Charlie Solberg got his first taste of apple brandy during his time playing professional hockey in Austria, where he had a chance to meet the locals and drink as they drank. What started as a passion project for Solberg and his daughter Jenny grew into a family business that officially launched in November 2013. Tours take place at their West Town distillery on Thursday evenings and Saturday afternoons, when visitors can also head to the tasting room to sample their take on grappa and other flavored brandies, including mango and plum. 2010 W. Fulton St.,

2. Tailwinds Distilling
Brothers and pilots Toby and Jamey Beall took up an interest in rum during their travels to the Caribbean, Mexico and South America. Noticing a market opportunity in the U.S., they launched Tailwinds in 2012 with two spirits: Taildragger White Rum and Midnight Caye 100% Blue Agave Spirit. Tours happen every Saturday, when visitors can also saddle up at the bar to taste recently released offerings, including a coffee rum and an agave spirit that has rested in Buffalo Trace barrels for 18 months. 14912 South Eastern Avenue #103, Plainfield;

Open since 2004, North Shore Distillery is the oldest craft distillery in the state of Illinois.

3. North Shore Distillery
Husband-and-wife team Sonja and Derek Kassebaum started North Shore Distillery in October 2004, making it the oldest craft distillery in Illinois. One year later they released their North Shore Vodka and Distiller’s Gin No. 6, which has since been followed by Distiller’s Gin No. 11, their take on a London Dry Gin. Tours happen on Saturdays, and a weekend cocktail bar serves up classics, such as the Pegu Club and the Silver Fizz. 28913 N. Herky Dr., #308, Lake Bluff;

4. FEW Spirits
Master distiller Paul Hletko’s grandfather owned a large brewery in the Czech Republic, which he lost to the Nazi invasion during World War II. When his grandfather passed away in 2008, Hletko decided to honor his family’s legacy by opening FEW, a distillery dedicated to producing gin, bourbon and rye. When they aren’t at work with their own releases, they’re busy collaborating — whether it’s with three other distilleries for their forthcoming Four Kings Rye, or with SideDoor for FEWSide, a fernet exclusive to the cocktails at the River North gastropub. 918 Chicago Ave., Evanston;

5. Letherbee
Brenton Engel was making moonshine for several years when he started receiving weekly requests from kitchen staffs at some of the city’s top restaurants. As a gin-loving bartender himself, Engel set out to create his own high-quality potable that would be affordable enough for bars to cycle through. While best known for their mother’s ruin, the distillery also delves into other clamored-for spirits, including fernet and besk.

CH Distillery went against the grain in making vodka (made from scratch from Illinois grain) its pride and joy.

6. CH Distillery
In an industry in which vodka is often overlooked, master distiller Tremaine Atkinson went against the grain — and now that he’s gained representation at more than 150 of the city’s bars and restaurants, it’s clear his efforts were well received. The spirit continues to be the distillery’s pride and joy (it’s the only one in the city making it from scratch from Illinois grain), but they have more to show for their two years at work, including aquavit, rum and limoncello — along with a buzzed-about tasting room and restaurant in which they’re served. 564 W. Randolph St.;

7. Quincy Street Distillery
After he spent two years looking for a location near his summer home in southwest Michigan, owner Derrick Mancini chose to open his distillery in a 1912 Arts and Crafts industrial building in Riverside, Illinois — just a block away from his residence of 20 years. Since July 2012 the team has been following a grain-to-bottle approach, using a 60-gallon copper pot still to make historically inspired offerings like unaged Illinois corn whiskey and gin made from that whiskey’s mash. In addition to hosting weekend tours, the site also houses a retail shop and bar, which features a variety of cocktails showcasing their 15-plus spirits. 39 E. Quincy St., Riverside;

8. Chicago Distilling Company
To honor their ancestors who made moonshine in the Northwood of Wisconsin, the DiPrizio family established their own distillery in Logan Square. While white spirits headlined their January 2014 opening — including Ceres Vodka and Shorty’s White Whiskey — the team is soon releasing a bourbon, a rye and a barrel-finished version of their popular Finn’s Gin. Tours and bar hours happen Thursday through Sunday and feature current spirits in classic iterations (think white whiskey old-fashioneds and Finn Tonics). 2359 N. Milwaukee Ave.,

Sonat and Robert Birnecker were working in D.C. when they decided to trade in their professor and press-secretary careers, respectively, to create spirits in Chicago. They made their foray into the city’s scene in 2008 with a white rye whiskey, which was soon joined by darker iterations, including bourbon, four grain and rye. Visitors can tour the Ravenswood production site on Wednesdays and weekends, while also taking advantage of the distillery’s rotating cocktail classes and whiskey workshops. 5121 North Ravenswood Avenue,

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