Virtue Restaurant Hyde Park, Chicago

The Black Bourbon Society’s mission is to advocate and educate through it’s series of events and excursions. The crew arrived in Hyde Park, Chicago recently to celebrate one of greatest wins in recent bourbon history. Chef Erick Williams’ Virtue Restaurant was the scene for a celebration in collaboration with Makers Mark to commemorate The Black Bourbon Society’s Double Gold at the 19th annual San Francisco World’s Spirits Competition.

Bourbon lovers everywhere owe a great deal to Maker’s Mark. They are the biggest players in the wheated bourbon category. It’s the space that offers bourbon with notes that are often softer and rounder than those found in straight whiskey.

The barrel select program at Makers allows partners to choose their own adventure by customizing a nine-week finish for a cask strength Makers Mark 46 barrel. BBS is the Private Select program’s first participant to select a Double Gold winner in Makers Mark history. There are over 1,000 available stave combinations, Black Bourbon Society landed on theirs without choosing Mocha- the most popular selection in the program.

A world class offering, this selection will only make appearances in select markets.

Black Bourbon Society oak finishing stave selections.

Baked American Pure (2) French Cuvée, (3) Maker’s 46 (3) and Toasted French Spice (2)

The only Makers Private Select to ever win Double Gold
Handmade Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky

Baked American Pure staves add a moderate char with organic, bright vanilla flavors. There are hints of green apple, maple candy, and maple syrup on the nose.

Toasted French Spice is what you taste on the tip of your pallet with this selection; it’s the first thing that hits you. Followed by cotton candy flavors and a botanical green brightness, it’s the most polarizing stave. Notes of nutmeg and Christmas spice integrate with clove and allspice. The long finish is appreciated more because you notice that spice up front.

French Cuvee and Makers 46 staves add texture and viscosity to the blend. Spiced oak with a medium toast level adds a cohesive foundation reminiscent of apricot jam.

Makers Mark is a brand with a rich heritage. It began as a husband/wife brand back in 1953 set out to make perfect bourbon based off the principles of the Samuel Distillery  founded in 1844. The iconic red wax dipped bottles, the label calligraphy, the flavor profile are all timeless attributes from a brand that hasn’t exists as long as most of its contemporaries.

Virtue Restaurant’s Chef Erick Williams is your 2018 Chicago Tribune Food & Dining Game Changer Award Winner. The New York Times profiled Williams as one of the 16 Black Chefs Changing America.

smoked trout, pickled beets, crispy ginger
grilled salmon, corn, benne seed puree
dessert + shots!


Other Notes:

4-6 hours is the average time for Makers Mark Private Select partners to make there barrel stave selections. Delilah’s Mike Miller went through 18 different iterations before identifying his blend. 18 combinations is the program all-time records holder.


since 1953
the iconic red wax glassware hand dipped on site
Owner + Chef Erick Williams

This is Part I of our BBS/ Maker’s Mark/ Virtue Restaurant coverage. Be sure to check out deuxième partie with Chalonda of Afro.Beer.Chick.


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