It’s Friday night, and I’m headed to West Fork Whiskey. Rather than deal with the tourist crowds and chain restaurants downtown, or the longer than preferred wait time on Mass Ave, West Fork has become my new go-to cocktail bar. It’s something new, local, and different.
West Fork Whiskey was only a dream a mere few years ago. David, Blake and Julian are all Hoosier born, Hoosier bred gentlemen. After graduating from Indiana University (go Hoosiers!), Blake and his wife moved to Indianapolis for a job in the insurance industry. David moved back to Indiana after graduating from law school. David, the third co-founder, dropped out of medical school in NY to chase the whiskey dream. Once they realized they wanted to make great local whiskey, they took a huge risk, cashed out their 401k’s and started West Fork Whiskey.
“While we love our local roots, we also think it’s important to know that we designed our process completely from scratch. We don’t filter our whiskeys in any way – which is extremely rare. At the end of the day, we want people to be able to taste what we taste out of the barrel. Our spirits are 100% Indiana from grain to glass.”
Based in the growing Kennedy-King neighborhood – you can’t stop in without a picture in front of the famous black and white “LOCAL Whiskey Made Me Do It” sign. This is a must-Instagram moment for sure. And yes, local whiskey did make me do it.
You’ll fall even more in love with the interior of the tasting room. I enjoy sitting at the bar and getting to hang out with the bar manager, Nate Purcell. Nate always greets guests with a smile on his face. He is innovative and takes pride in creating the cocktail menu. The cocktail menu is updated seasonally!
If you’ve never been to West Fork Whiskey, I highly recommend starting with a flight. You get to try 1 oz pours of three types of West Fork Whiskey. You get the opportunity to customize which whiskey you’d like to enjoy. My personal favorite is the Colonel, which is a wheated bourbon. When in doubt, ask Nate! He will steer you in the right direction.
Currently, there are five different products. Each one has a story behind the name. They explain a few of the names in this video. But I encourage you to ask at West Fork, or one of their many local liquor tastings to find out more.
LINK HERE – https://vimeo.com/248332055
As far as cocktails, I am always impressed with whatever seasonal concoction Nate has created. For the 2018 Winter menu, there is a big beet influence. Yes, you read that correctly, beets! Normally, I would not consider ordering a beet beverage…. Or beets at all. However, I know I’m in good hands and the flavors complement each other well. I can’t wait to see what they come up with for summer.
West Fork Whiskey does not have a kitchen. That means two things – 1. They are dog friendly. 2. You can order food from the neighbors, Canon Ball Brewing Company. Both are total wins in my book. They also offer local Broad Ripple Chips as a delicious snack. I love that they have truly gone and beyond to support the local community in every aspect of their business.
The ambiance is very relaxed. You’ll find a crowd of anyone from 25-60! Everyone is very polite. I’ve almost always ended up making a new friend just by sitting at the bar. They host events featuring live music which are a blast. I cannot wait for spring to finally blown to enjoy their sidewalk and play cornhole.
I asked Blake what his best piece of advice was to anyone interested in distilling their own whiskey. He responded with “Do it legally and don’t cut any corners. Most people don’t know that distilling in their own home is illegal!”
I’ll leave the distilling to West Fork Whiskey! I’m so excited to see what the future holds for West Fork. There is great momentum for Indiana distilling, I’ll toast to that!
Article written by: Kate Ruddell, Into Indy