3 Chicago restaurants with news now

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English: Cafe Brauer also called South Pond Re...
English: Cafe Brauer also called South Pond Refectory is a National Historic Place in Lincoln Park Chicago. It is currently run by the Lincoln Park Zoological Society (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Patio at Café Brauer’s Dog Days of Summer event on Sunday, July 23. Bring your pooch to the Lincoln Park Zoo’s al fresco restaurant and bar, overlooking the zoo’s scenic Nature Boardwalk, for a fun brunch fit for both you and your pup. There will be goody bags for the dogs and a kiddie pool available for the pups. And Cafe Brauer is a lovely place to enjoy the view and sip a glass of wine or a cocktail with your lunch or snack.

English: Lollapalooza 2011 in Grant Park - Chi...
English: Lollapalooza 2011 in Grant Park – Chicago, Illinois (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

South Water Kitchen, 225 N. Wabash. This August 3-6, 2017, tens of thousands of music fans will blanket the streets for the Lollapalooza music festival. Just steps from Grant Park and adjacent to Hotel Monaco, South Water Kitchen is catering to thirsty festival-goers by offering $5 draft craft beers to patrons wearing Lollapalooza wristbands, open to close, ThursdaySunday.  Their draft selection, regularly ranging from $8-$9, includes eight hand-selected craft brews, such as Stone Brewing’s “Tangerine Express IPA,” 3 Floyds’ “Alpha King” and more (limit 2 pp).

T&B Grill’s Taco Tuesday trio special – plus dessert

If you’re anywhere near Albany Park and you’re hungry, do not fail to check out T&B Grill, 3658 W. Lawrence Ave. Consider the Taco Tuesday special of any three tacos and a dessert for $13.99. Choose from these unique options, all of which are served with homemade cilantro and jalapeño tortillas.

  • T&B Taco with spicy shrimp, habañero aioli and garlic cilantro lime slaw;
  • Duck Taco made with duck leg confit and ancho pepper, guajillo aioli, pickled cabbage and carrots;
  • Fish Taco with grilled fish, pico de gallo, jalapeño lime aioli, black sesame seeds, pickled cabbage and ancho chile peppers;
  • Chorizo Taco with homemade crispy chorizo, pico de gallo, sliced avocado and chipotle aioli;
  • Pork Belly Taco served with pineapple habañero pico de gallo, and garnished with grilled pineapple and habañero aioli; and
  • Grilled Veggie Taco with black beans, sweet corn, yellow squash, zucchini and red onions served with roasted tomatillo salsa.

On Friday and Saturday T&B’s BYO Margarita Bar lets you BYOB and mix with one of their housemade drink mixes: margarita (lime), mojito (mint), blackberry basil, strawberry rosemary or fresh orange juice. $3.50 per glass or $10 per half carafe. margarita (lime), mojito (mint), blackberry basil, strawberry rosemary or fresh orange juice.

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Culinary battle royale at Oyster Bah August 9

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Oyster Bah, 1962 N. Halsted in Lincoln Park, hosts a culinary battle royale on Wednesday, August 9, 2017. The knives will come out as Chef Donny Farrell of Oyster Bah and Chef Chris Evangelides of Ivy Room/Tree Studios get ready to rumble for a good cause. Beginning with a reception at 6:30 pm, the two chefs will pit their individual cooking styles against each other while dealing, Chopped-style, with the added challenge of four secret ingredients. The winner not only takes home the crown but also receives a $1,000 gift certificate to present to his charity of choice (the Mental Health Association of Greater Chicago for Chef Donny and the American Diabetes Association for Chef Chris).

Each course will be expertly paired with a beverage by Oyster Bah’s Mixologist and Sommelier team, Christina Smith and Nate Redner. So come ready to eat, drink, and judge because this culinary contest will be decided by YOU! The four-course dinner costs $59.95 per guest (not inclusive of tax and gratuity) and reservations are required. Call 773.248.3000.
English: Panoramic view of Chicago from the Sk...
English: Panoramic view of Chicago from the Skydeck at Willis Tower. Created using 52 individual images taken April 5, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
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Eat hearty in July at Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap

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July Mac of the Month

Mac and Cheese Day – 7/14: Get cheesed with Spin Dip Mac at Jake Melnick’s. Jake’s Creamy house-made mac n’ cheese is tossed with their creamy spinach artichoke dip, topped with cheddar and Swiss cheese then baked until golden. Garnished with fresh tomato, Parmesan, pita chips and Sriracha crema.

Ice Cream Day – 7/19: Treat yourself to Jake Melnick’s Hot Fudge Sundae ($6.25) after a “fish” dinner.

July Ahi Tuna Burger

The Asian B.L.T.T. is the perfect summer burger featuring a hand-packed Ahi Tuna burger, topped with smoked teriyaki bacon, wasabi ranch salad and crispy wontons. The salad is on the burger so it counts, right? BTW, July is Ice Cream Month so don’t hold yourself back from celebrating all month long!

 
July Pina Colada Wings

International Chicken Wing Day – 7/29Grab a basket of the Spicy Pina Colada Wings, the perfect celebration flavor. Jake’s jumbo wings are fried until crispy, tossed in their house-made spicy pina colada sauce and garnished with toasted coconut. Served with Ranch dressing.

Oh, and just in case you don’t have enough carbs, it’s also National French Fry day on Friday, 7/14. Jake’s will be selling $5 specialty baskets this Friday, the 14th including the Breakfast and Street Fries.
Go and consume in peace and happiness.
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July 2017 Chicago restaurant news

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Summer is a busy time for Chicago’s restaurant scene. All season long, patios and rooftops burst with happy diners and drinkers, but air-conditioned interiors beckon more seductively for some – a welcome haven from the heat and humidity and a time to enjoy good food with friends and family. Below are a few restaurant items of interest.
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Shaw’s Chicago Lobster Fest is ON!

Lobster Festival is back at Shaw’s Crab House Chicago, 21 E. Hubbard. All during July, enjoy the decadent taste of everyone’s favorite crustacean. Special menu items for the month include: Lobster Maki. Lobster Tacos. Lobster Roll. Lobster Fettuccine. 1.5 lb Lobster Boil with potatoes, corn, and sausage.

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The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce (ACC) is excited to announce the official launch of Andersonville First Fridays, a late-night, monthly event series beginning this Friday, July 7 from 6-10PM. In an effort to promote local shopping and dining, businesses will keep their doors open late to welcome visitors with promotions, refreshments, and special experiences on the first Friday of each month. This month’s First Friday also coincides with the grand opening of Transit Tees at 5226 N. Clark.” Chicago Reader last month voted Andersonville Chicago’s best overall neighborhood. 
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Maggiano’s Make A Wish white chocolate cannoli cake

Maggiano’s Little Italy, 516 N. Clark, is always busy updating everything they do. It now offers lots of lighter-side pasta dishes, plus vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free Italian options. Browse their new brunch options and their lunch menu that now also includes some of their dinner-time pasta classics like Chicken Parmesan and Veal Piccata, plus Italian recipes with an American twist like Pesto Perlini Mozzarella and Grilled Salmon & Herbs. And don’t forget the kids’ menu – Ziti Pasta, Cheese Flatbread, and Giant Meatball with Spaghetti. Dine in, carry out or get delivery. With many pasta entrees, they give you an extra one to take home for free! Either way you get warmly satisfying food that fills your stomach while it comforts your spirit.

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Troquet River North

Bastille Day, July 14, 2017.  Troquet River North, 111 W. Huron at Clark, is offering an all-day special on Friday the 14th to celebrate. For $12 enjoy a classic croque monsieur with frites and a choice of Kronenbourg 1664 or Kir Royale.

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Bistro Voltaire, 226 W. Chicago Ave., promises a free appetizer glass of champagne to all diners July 14, and also offers a mouth-watering 3-course prix fixe dinner all that week for $38. Escargots, grenouille, tartiflette, bouillabaise, anyone?
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6 cool Chicago summer fun ideas

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Never a shortage of fun places to go and things to do in Chicago in the summer. Check these out for now and later – and notice that a few of them have stuff going on TODAY!
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Angelo’s Wine Bar, 3026 W. Montrose Ave., known inside for its rich, warm wood modern interior, now boasts a cozy, fairy-light illuminated patio where you can enjoy appetizers, pasta, pizza and small plates perfect for sharing with tablemates. From Burrata Mostarda ($14) and seasonal Spring Risotto ($16). Spaghetti generously tossed with Pecorino Romano cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano and olive oil. Pizzas, P.E.I. Mussels in Brodo ($10), Roasted Skin on Salmon ($14) and Smoked Bone in Short Rib ($19) are just a few entree items. Patio hours are 4-11pm M-Th and 11am-11pm F-Su.

TODAY: Angelo’s Wine Bar’s neighborhood block party with live music, food, games, complimentary beer and wine (while supplies last) to celebrating the community. Proceeds from the optional $5 cover will be donated for neighborhood improvement. 4–10:30pm
Saturday, July 1, 2017. Free parking in the Angelo’s parking lot across the street.

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Pitchfork Music FestivalJuly 14 to 16, welcomes some of the most trusted voices in music this year, with a lineup of not-to-miss sips and bites. While you’re there look for the John Dewar & Sons Traveling Whisky Emporium, the immersive, one-of-a-kind “whisky tiny house.”  Taste specially-crafted DEWAR’S 12 Blended Scotch Whisky cocktails, tastings of unique single malts Aberfeldy and Craigellachie, and sample custom scotch eggs created by former Top Chef winner, Chef Michael Voltaggio.

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FireFin Poké Shop, a fast-casual food concept, is opening its 4th location (with a few others under development). Open Monday – Friday at Ogilvie Train Station, the healthy and chef-driven restaurant will serve a limited menu featuring nine poké favorites, with customizable options available to foodies, busy commuters and Loop lunchers.

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The Patio at Café Brauer’s Dog Days of Summer event on Sunday, July 23. Bring your pooch to the Lincoln Park Zoo’s al fresco restaurant and bar, overlooking the zoo’s scenic Nature Boardwalk, for a fun brunch fit for both you and your pup. There will be goody bags for the dogs and a kiddie pool available for the pups. And Cafe Brauer is a lovely place to enjoy the view and sip a glass of wine or a cocktail with your lunch or snack.

TODAY and Sunday, July 1 and 2, Skydeck Chicago opens one hour early, at 8am, to allow tourists and Chicagoans extra time to experience the spectacular views of up to 50 miles and four states from the 103rd floor of Willis Tower. Imagine snapping an Instagram sensation on the projecting glass boxes known as The Ledge that is 1,353 feet up and extends 4.3 feet out from the skyscraper. Skydeck Chicago attracts more than 1.7 million visitors annually; it’s an ideal family activity for those looking for a fun outing this holiday weekend.

Furious Spoon Ramen Shop, known for handmade noodles at its multiple locations around Chicago, brings back for the month of July the chance for you to eat your way through the menu of ramen bowls. All You Can Eat Ramen for just $18 means you can eat as many bowls as you like during 1 visit (no sharing allowed). The promotion is valid at all locations, during all business hours. Guests who eat 5+ bowls will win a $25 gift card and be entered to win a hands-on noodle class for 4 (valued at nearly $500).

 

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Party down Chicago on July 4, 2017

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Sunset view of Chicago skyline from Lincoln Park.

Whether you go for the fireworks or not, you’re bound to want to share some good food with family and friends. Consider taking a day off from grilling to check out some of the cool options around Chicago this holiday. Here are a few ideas:

Bistronomic (840 N. Wabash), the contemporary bistro rooted in French culture in Chicago’s Gold Coast, will offer uniquely American dishes in early July to celebrate the USA. Beginning Saturday, July 1 through Sunday, July 2Bistronomic will offer a two-course prix fixe menu featuring the Bistronomic Club Sandwich and Red, White & Blue Baked Alaska for $17.76. On Wednesday, July 5 the Le French Burger made with Angus Beef, Housemade Country Pate, Wisconsin Swiss Cheese, Cognac Sauce, Handcut and Kronenbourg will be available for $17.76. The specials will transition into classic French dishes and wine offerings by Friday, July 14 on Bastille Day through until July 16. For the full Independence Day menu, visit Bistronomic’s website. Reservations are recommended and may be made via OpenTable on the website.

Hilton Chicago on Michigan Ave. across from Millennium Park sits in the middle of the biggest Fourth of July festivities in Chicago. Guests can celebrate the country’s independence with an Independence Day Salute concert in nearby Millennium Park and spectacular fireworks at Navy Pier that light up the city’s lakefront. Those looking to avoid the crowds can book one of the hotel’s luxurious suites overlooking Lake Michigan for their own private Independence Day party. Nightly rates start at $111.

Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap (41 East Superior) with the traditional combo of wings and beer! This 4th of July (7/4 only), Jake’s will be offering $3 Surly ‘Merica cans (12oz) with the purchase of a basket of Firecracker Wings ($12.95).  And if you’re up for celebrating National French Fry Day, Thursday, July 13th, Jake’s offers its specialty fry baskets like Street Fries or Breakfast Fries for only $5!

Kitty O’Sheas outdoor patio overlooks Grant Park. The pub features authentic Irish cuisine and their award-winning mac & cheese, and an impressive craft beer selection including their own signature Kitty’s Red Ale imported from Kildare, Ireland. Consider the pub’s new weekend boozy brunch with dishes like almond whiskey buns (small batches made fresh daily), fried chicken and corn bread pancakes, and Oreo crusted French toast.

Rush Street Pantry, located in Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, now offers a selection of Housemade Gelato. Flavors include chocolate, vanilla, caramel, and mango.

The Windsor (160 E. Huron), located in Chicago’s Gold Coast, will offer Red, White & Blue Burger Sliders made with red pepper, blue cheese, and white onion. The sliders will be available on Tuesday, July 4 for $3 a slider. The Windsor is open on Tuesday, July 4 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. To make a reservation, call 312-943-7777.

 

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TimeOut names best bars in Chicago

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Chicago skyline at sunrise Deutsch: C...
Chicago skyline at sunrise (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Time Out, the leading global media and entertainment brand that inspires and enables people to make the most of the city, has crowned Best Intentions Chicago’s Bar of the Year at its recent annual Bar Awards celebration. The Logan Square bar perfectly emulates Chicago’s historic dive bars in a way that doesn’t feel forced, complete with a menu full of balanced drinks and upgraded bar snacks.

The awards are part of Time Out’s global bar program, celebrating the best bars, brilliant bartenders, most outstanding bar teams and extravagant bar designs that define the drinks scene in eight of the world’s most influential cities.

Joel Meares, Editor-in-Chief of Time Out North America, said: “The Time Out Bar Awards once again celebrated and brought together the best and brightest of the drinks industry. These global awards enable us to showcase and capture the latest bar trends and innovations on an international level, and solidify Time Out as the ultimate guide for where you should be drinking this year—whether that’s in New York, L.A., Miami, Chicago and Austin or London, Paris and Lisbon. If you’re looking for the best cocktails in Chicago the likes of Best Intentions, Estereo and Scofflaw are offering incredible, innovative drinks, served by great bartenders in stunning surrounds.

“We want to thank William Grant & Sons for having joined this year’s Time Out Bar Awards as presenting sponsor across the U.S. to support this inventive industry and spotlight those that are really driving it forward.”

The full list of Time Out Chicago Bar Awards 2017 winners:

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Now brunch gives to Maggiano’s Make A Wish campaign

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#eatadishforMAK at Maggiano’s brunch

Maggiano’s has been partnering with Make A Wish® for years. They designate certain dishes that, when you order one, they automatically donate a certain dollar amount to help Make A Wish kids. Check out Maggiano’s web page to meet the young fourth-grader Joshua who is the 2017 Maggiano’s Make A Wish Ambassador.  And check out the mouth-watering selection of dishes you can order and contribute to getting Joshua the service dog he has always dreamed of.

Maggiano’s Make A Wish white chocolate cannoli cake

Maggiano’s, the most popular family-style Italian restaurant chain in America, is always doing good things for the community while giving you good things for your appetite. And now you can donate by enjoying brunch any weekend from 11am to 3 pm. LOVE those lemon ricotta pancakes. And how about a mile-high piece of white chocolate cannoli cake? Num.

Spread the word , folks. Hashtag #eatadish4maw

 

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Pre-summer food, music and wine

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Pre-summer blooms off Michigan Ave.

Summer is at hand, people. No reason not to start right now enjoying the music, food and fun that are always on offer throughout our great city from spring through late fall. Here are a few opportunities to get you rolling…

Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival, on Sheffield from Belmont to Roscoe St. Sun. May 27 – Mon. May 28, 2017 – noon to 10pm.  And don’t fail to check out Trader Todd’s karaoke stage and contest – try out for best singer and look forward  to the award ceremonies in June at Trader Todd’s tiki bar, 3216 N. Sheffield. Check out our review on Trader Todd’s brunch here.
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Happy 40thbirthday, Potbelly! Thursday, June 1, they’re giving a $40,000 donation to One Summer Chicago. Check out the limited-time Potbelly birthday menu items,  and enjoy 40% off Originals sandwiches in-shop at Potbelly nationwide between 11am-3pm. Find your nearest Chicago Potbelly location and go enjoy.
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Dog-friendly, burger/beer specials. Burger + Beer promotion at The Patio at Café Brauer. From May 26 – May 29, get a juicy, succulent burger and a domestic beer for $15.95 all Memorial Day weekend. Read our rave review of Cafe Brauer here.
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English: Band shell in Millennium Park by Fran...
English: Band shell in Millennium Park by Frank Gehry – Pritzker, from across Michigan Avenue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Music at Pritzker Pavillion. Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer – two weeks before the Grant Park Music Festival season begins. To celebrate, order a One Night Pass and get a reserved seat close to the stage for any Festival concert at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. And when you order online this weekend, you’ll save 25% on select seats for any concert in June! Use promo code MEMORIAL when you order online at gpmf.org. Offer expires Monday,  May 29 at 11:59 PM. Or,  explore our entire 2017 season. Choose any four concerts (excluding Beethoven Symphony No. 9 on August 18 and 19) with a Choose Your Own membership and we’ll add the Festival’s Independence Day Salute as our way of saying thank you.

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Rich and rewarding Black Stallion Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

For home barbeques or hostess gifts, consider one of these excellent wines from Black Stallion Estate Vineyards. Black Stallion Chardonnay 2015, Black Stallion Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, and Black Stallion Sauvignon Blanc 2015 are deliciously complex and rich tasting. Perfect companions to grilled shrimp or lobster, super-marbled steak cooked a pointe on the grill, and any favorite traditional accompaniments like mustard potato salad, veggie pastasauteed fresh garlic asparagus or superb sauteed mushrooms.  Get your Black Stallion wines from these Chicago area retailers: SavWay Wine & Spirits, Garfield’s Beverage Warehouse, Sunset Foods, Woodman’s, Heinen’s, or talk to your friendly Binny’s folks.

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And if you’re into  higher-end wines, here’s a list of special Black Stallion wines that have garnered serious recognition lately:

  • Wine & Spirits magazine “100 Best Buys of the Year” – 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: 92 Points
  • James Suckling’s list of “Top 100 Reds of Napa Valley 2016” – 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: 93 Points
  • Decanter: 2013 Barrel Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Highly recommended, 91 pts; 2013 Transcendent Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon; Highly recommended, 91 pts;  2013 Gaspare Estate Vineyard, Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Highly recommended, 90 pts; 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: Highly recommended, 90 pts;
  • Wine Enthusiast: 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: 90 pts; 2014 Los Carneros Pinot Noir: 90 pts
  • Robert M. Parker, Jr. / Wine Advocate (Barrel samples): 2014 Bucephalus Red Blend: (91-93); 2014 Barrel Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: (90-92); 2014 Transcendent Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: (90-92)
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Fine brown spirits for moms, dads and grads who love them

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English: The mash tun of Glenfiddich distiller...
English: The mash tun of Glenfiddich distillery, Dufftown, Moray, Scotland Milled malt gets heated up, sprayed water vapour heats from top (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s the time of year when we all scramble to figure out what to get the fathers – or father figures – in our lives. Just saw an old episode of the Cosby show in which he complained that moms always get good gifts, but dads get crazy ones. To prove it, he  dragged out a chest full of the questionable Father’s Day gifts – ugly ties, google-eyes, stupid hats, etc. – he’d saved from over the years. Don’t be that desperate gift-buying person this year! Consider getting your father/figure a bottle of serious whiskey or Scotch whisky. Or take him – or mom or grad – out for a few tastes at one of the many Chicago restaurants that carry fine whiskies.

If s/he doesn’t appreciate that sort of thing, you can always get him some light-up suspenders… Here are a few whisk(e)y suggestions:

  • Tullamore D.E.W. 14 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey (SRP $69.99). First of the new single malts from Tullamore D.E.W. Irish whiskey, the second largest Irish whiskey in the world. Surprise any Irish whiskey-loving dad with this great new expression on Father’s Day. Tasting Notes: Tullamore D.E.W. 14 Year Old Single Malt is vibrant and fruity, with a nose comprised of ripe apples, sweet citrus, and vanilla oak. The whiskey is rich and sweet to the taste, with a long-lasting finish.
  • Tullamore D.E.W. 18 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey (SRP $109.99). Part of Tullamore D.E.W.’s newly launched single malts range, Tullamore D.E.W. 18 Year Old Single Malt is the brand’s oldest age statement to date. This uniquely smooth, warming expression makes a sophisticated Father’s Day gift for a dad who really knows his whiskey. Rich and oaky, its velvety smooth taste includes notes of cinnamon, apples, and toasted marshmallows, and its lingering finish is sweet and malty.
  • Glenfiddich India Pale Ale Cask Finish ($70.00), part of the Glenfiddich Experimental Series: Brian Kinsman, Glenfiddich’s Malt Master and a passionate creator and innovator, teamed up with a small Speyside micro-brewer to craft this first-ever single malt Scotch whisky finished in IPA craft beer casks. Aromas include ripe green apple, William’s pear and spring blossom, along with aromatic hops and fresh herbs are part of Glenfiddich fruitiness and sweet, vanilla oakiness with a long finish. Perfect for the whisky lover who loves to try the latest and greatest. For an unexpected twist, serve the whisky over ice with a squeeze of blood orange.
  • Glenfiddich Project XX ($79.99): Second in the Experimental Series, this whisky resulted from a blending of 20 very special single malts, each from 20 international whisky experts. They were all invited to explore and select a specific cask from a warehouse at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Dufftown. This smooth, unique expression makes a Father’s Day gift for a dad who really knows his whiskey.
  • The Balvenie DoubleWood 12 Year Old Single Malt Scotch Whisky (SRP: $54.99): The most hand-crafted Scotch whisky, this one is aged up to 12 years in traditional oak casks and finished up to six months in sherry oak casks – The Balvenie’s signature. Look for notes of sweet fruit and Oloroso sherry layered with honey and vanilla. The long, warming finish draws out the nutty sweetness and delicate spiciness of this classic expression.
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