Along the north side of the Chicago Riverin the event space known as Rockwell on the Riversits Judson & Moore (3057 N. Rockwell St.; judsonandmoore.com )a whiskey distillery full of welcoming spirits and smiles.
Rockwell on the River is a combination of an event space, business spot and marina that has merchants such as Metropolitan Brewing, Metropolis Coffee Co., Soul & Smoke barbecue restaurant and, yes, Judson & Moore (heretofore designed "J&M").
As for J&M, it's a family-run distillery founded in 2018 by entrepreneur Judson Bergman; his daughter, designer Elise Bergman; and her husband, distiller/engineer Collin Moore.
Designed by fcSTUDIO, Judson & Moore's space in Rockwell on the River operated as a leather tannery in the early 1900s, coincidentally named "J.M. & V. Weil Tanners." The building is a brick-and timber-warehouse, which after a fire in 2015, was rebuilt to the specifications needed for a modern-day distillery. The production facility includes a mill room, production room with a showpiece 500-gallon custom Vendome copper still, barrel storage and an open gathering space.
A tour is highly urgedand, if you're really lucky, Moore will be the one conducting it. Yes, he's easy on the eyes and his Tennessee-inflected voice is as soothing as whiskey, but he'll dazzle you with loads of information about J&M, whiskey, distillation and related topics. And no tour is complete with a sampling of the distillery's first release (rye whiskey, bourbon whiskey, red corn bourbon whiskey and single-malt whiskeymy favorite).
By the way, if you have any doubts about the quality of the whiskey at J&M, the distillery's single-malt whiskey snagged a silver medal and its rye whiskey garnered a bronze medal at the 2022 American Craft Spirits Awards.
In addition, there are some pretty cool cocktails, such as the Penicillin (J&M single malt with lemon, honey and ginger), Sparkling B (J&M Bourbon with Cocchi Vermouth di Torino and Top Note Gentiana) as well as the reliable standbys the Manhattan and the Old Fashioned; as well as spirit-free options like the Ghia Spritz and the Seau and So (Verseau Great Lakes Aperitif with soda and lime).
So I urge you to check out J&M. Bring a few friends (and even a dog), learn things you never knew about whiskey and sample some pretty tasty spirits.
Information: Currently, J&M's bottles are only available for purchase at the distillery, Thursday through Saturday at 2-6 p.m. The space is open for cocktails and tastings on Thursdays at 4-8 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays at 2-8 p.m. (However, special events may take place during other days and times; be sure to check the website.) Hour-long distillers' tours, each led by one of the distillers, take place Saturdays at 2 p.m.; visit https://judsonandmoore.com/products/distillers-tour.
Note: This visit was arranged.