As the holidays approach and we move ever further into the more heavily automated 21st century, many down-home traditions still ring in the holiday season with nostalgia and fond memories. Home-cooked meals, fresh-baked cookies, and fresh-made ciders all serve as a nod to simpler times and family traditions. As the temperature drops and the thermostats raise, warm and cozy holiday liquors serve as a reminder to slow down in the fast-paced times, with all but one holiday staple—Egg Nog. Holiday drinks over the past 30 years have gone from a few festive staples, to a multi-million-dollar industry. Yet as the list grows, the one holiday drink that started it all, is often left off the list. Most today have not developed a taste for the cream heavy, sugary drink that for most, is only saved by a heavy serving of bourbon or whiskey. It’s for that reason that many families during the holiday season, have decided to skip Egg Nog all together in favor of its hidden hero, whiskey. The greater Champaign County area serves as a great host for some of the best whiskey spots, hidden in plain sight. Whether it’s an off-the-shelf whiskey or a 20-year scotch, our community offers a wide variety of whiskey spots for every taste, budget, and experience. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced whiskey drinker, here are a few of the must stop whiskey spots in the area.
Right on the edge of Walnut St. downtown Champaign, Barrelhouse 34 offers up a great architectural flow exceptional patio seating. Looking to enjoy an Old Fashioned or Manhattan, Barrelhouse offers a variety of whiskey cocktails with a warm and cozy atmosphere to compliment the season.
A self-proclaimed “Whiskey lover’s paradise!” Derailed offers a variety of whiskeys including bourbon, rye, Canadian, Irish, and Scotch. The open floor, live music, and gaming offers a whiskey experience for the more social whiskey drinker.
This traditional Irish Pub offers up a great selection of appetizers, entrees, and desserts to pair well with the many Irish whiskeys available. Near the center of downtown Champaign, Dublin’s Pub offers a warm escape for the traditional Irish whiskey drinker.
Located in the center of downtown Champaign Guido’s aims to offer up something for everyone. From an extensive lunch and dinner menu to specials such as boozy milkshakes, Guido’s is a destination dream for those that may be the only whiskey drinker in the group. From bourbon, American, Canadian, Irish, to Scotch whiskey, there is no shortage of selection at Guido’s.
Located in the iHotel, Houlihan’s offers an upscale dining experience with a selection of whiskey cocktails. Looking to enjoy a quality meal and a new take on traditional whiskey cocktails, Houlihan’s is definitely a must for the adventurous whiskey drinker.
At the center of downtown Champaign, you find Radio Maria offering up a fine dining experience heavily influenced by local art and repurposed fixtures. Radio Maria sets a very social atmosphere with artistic takes on whiskey.
Located on the edge of downtown Champaign, Seven Saints is a must stop spot for those whiskey drinkers looking to take their palette to the next level. There is no shortage of well-aged scotch at this prime destination for the well-discerning whiskey drinker. Looking to expand your knowledge of whiskey without breaking the bank? Seven Saints also hosts “Whiskey Wednesdays” which offers half priced select whiskeys. Enjoy fine food and fine aged whiskey at Seven Saints.
Having just a few options not good enough for your whiskey tastes? How about over 200? 3Ravens Food and Spirits in Monticello offers over 80 Irish, over 150 Bourbons and Ryes, and over 20 Single malt Scotches. 3Ravens makes Monticello a must stop destination for whiskey drinkers.