Tailwinds Distilling Company, located in the Chicago suburb of Plainfield, offers its customers a chance to escape the notorious Midwest winters (and any season for that matter) with a visit to its tasting room. Situated along a railroad in what resembles a former industrial complex which now houses retail and other outlets, Tailwinds produces rum and 100% agave spirits. Either will afford you the opportunity to warm yourself up from the inside while viewing the onsite distillery.
The tasting room at Tailwinds sports a long tiki-style bar with seating for about 10 similarly-minded folk. The thatch dangling over the bar adds to the South Pacific-like escapist ambiance, begging you to start daydreaming about hopping on a clipper and catching the next flight out to a lower latitude. If there’s no room at the bar, there are pub tables scattered throughout.
While we didn’t end up hopping on our phones and booking a flight to a tropical island somewhere beyond Hawaii, we did book a flight of Tailwinds’ Taildragger rums. Tailwinds offers other spirits but let’s be honest – the reason people come here is for the rum. And in case you forgot, this is a beach bar blog so yeah, we’re all about the rum. As is typical with most of my actual airline flights, I downed a few cocktails beforehand. Their take on the Navy Grog was one of them and I really don’t recall what the other one was. Neither lasted long in my glass so I can’t imagine they sucked.
Our Taildragger rum flight consisted of all four rums Tailwinds produces – White (fans of agricole rhum will like appreciate its taste), Amber (aged for two years in Kentuck American Oak barrels once used for rye whiskey), After Dark (their overproof) and Coffee (blend of their White and Ten Drops Coffee Roasters’ variety of beans). They were all delicious, each mingling with my taste buds in a different manner but the clear standout was their Coffee rum. Velvety smooth with hints of sweetness and vanilla, it was the perfect sipping rum, suitable for chasing away any hints of chill in the air and enough to almost convince myself that I was ass deep in the sand on a tropical island. I bought a bottle and along with my newly acquired Tailwinds hat, set myself up for many virtual flights to somewhere tropical.
If you find yourself in the suburbs of Chicago, think the Joliet/Bolingbrook/Naperville/Aurora loop, head on over to Plainfield and give Tailwinds a look see. You can schedule a distillery tour ahead of time but if you’re just into sipping some pretty tasty spirits in a tropical setting, saunter on in with some of your friends and try some of their delectable cocktails or book a flight. You never know what destination you might end up at.