As I’ve mentioned here, I recently went to Chicago for WhiskyFest. When I told people I was headed to the Windy City, at least three times I heard: ”Oh – you HAVE to go to Delilah’s!” Well, you usually only have to tell me twice, and so I did go to Delilah’s, and now I’m telling you to do the same.
Let’s get this part out of the way: Delilah’s, at 2771 N. Lincoln, is a dive. So don’t expect a fancy atmosphere. But do expect a big wall of bourbon (above) and some knowledgeable bartenders.
Eric, above, was slicing fruit and setting up following a late night the previous evening, when Delilah’s hosted a WhiskyFest After Party. He described the energy that ran through the crowd when a car pulled up and dispensed Mr. Jimmy Russell, master distiller at Wild Turkey, who proceeded to the upstairs bar to have a few more drinks. “That guy RULES!” he said, admiringly. That might sound funny about any other guy in his mid-70s, but trust me: Jimmy Russell can drink you under the table any time, anywhere.
We played a little Stump the Bartender, asking Eric to bring us something we might not have tasted. He made some good recommendations – among them Heaven Hill’s new Larceny – but we’d had them all. Then he brought out an old bottle of something I’d not only never tried, I’d never even heard of it: Old Mork. According to some quick research, Old Mork was distilled in Louisville, Ky., for medicinal uses only by A. Ph. Stitzel (which would eventually have a Van Winkle connection).
Delilah’s had it priced at $125 a shot, so I still haven’t tried it, but be sure to let me know if you have or do. Tell ‘em the Bourbon Babe sent you.