RIVER NORTH — If your primary concern when choosing a whiskey is the alcohol content, you've got a thing or two to learn about the distilled brown beverage.
For starters, don't spell it "whisky" (that refers to the British or Scotch variety).
Robert Giles and Tyler Mendoza are experts on the stuff. They man the bar at Untitled at 111 W. Kinzie St., a speakeasy-style restaurant that opened last summer and claims to have the largest collection of American-made whiskeys in the world. Some 279 bottles are stacked on shelves from floor-to-ceiling in their library.
Giles, Untitled's whiskey curator, hopes there's more on the way.
"Since we opened in the middle of the year, most of the allocations for harder-to-get whiskeys had already passed," he said. "But now that 2013 is here and we're starting fresh, we're gonna be getting all kinds of stuff. Hopefully, by spring, we'll have well over 300 whiskeys. Get a lot of good stuff in."
In the meantime, they're cracking into their collection, which includes some of the rarest bottles in the world, for "Whiskey Week" from Jan. 22-25.
The four-day event kicks off with an Angels Envy Bourbon Dinner: a five-course meal prepared by Executive Chef Joseph Heppe with pairs poured from the Kentucky-based distillery. That menu starts off with a 10-year-old cheddar and ends with rye ice cream.
For the rest of Whiskey Week, patrons can enjoy complimentary tastings of spirits alongside representatives from the distilleries behind them. On Wednesday, Jan. 23, Compass Box Whiskey Co. will be highlighted. On Jan. 24, Templeton Rye (bar manager Tyler Mendoza's favorite) is in the spotlight and Hudson Whiskey is featured for Friday, Jan. 25.
The tasting events are first come, first served and run from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Reservations for the $50-per-plate Angels Envy Bourbon Dinner can be made by phone at 312-880-1511. Check-in starts at 6 p.m. and the dinner begins at 6:30.