By Joanne Kosey
Nothing like a stop at the Quincy Street Distillery on Quincy Street in downtown Riverside. It's a very unique place billed as a "speakeasy cocktail bar and retail shop" where one can partake in some locally distilled libations, learn about the beverages and some Riverside history along with it.
The proprietor and founder of Quincy Street Distillery is Riverside resident Derrick Mancini, who chose the location because he felt the history of the town would blend in with the character of the business.
Knowledgeable in Riverside history, Mancini relates many facts about the town including that Quincy Street was once known as Auto Alley because of automobile dealerships once there. It still has a somewhat auto-focused flavor with Metal Mites and Jeff's Auto Repair operating on the street.
Formerly a physicist at Argonne Laboratory, Mancini is a man of many interests and says he always had an interest in food and drink as well as history, but the establishment is not just another bar.
It is a place where spirit brands and their labeling tell a story of Riverside. A young bottle of whiskey – the distillery's "white lightning" -- bears a label depicting the original water town in the town. A more recent offering – a zippy, cinnamon flavored whiskey –has a label depicting the smoking water tower the day after it burned down in 1913. I can see the bottles becoming collectibles. As Mancini said, "We are selling nostalgia".
The drink menu is extensive, with cocktails from the classic to specialty and original drinks. I was pleased to see a gimlet, which was my cocktail of choice before marriage. I liked them so well I even named my pet schnauzer Gimlet.
Quincy Street Distillery spirits are also sold at retail stores and served at restaurants and bars. However, I strongly recommend stopping in at the distillery for a nice cocktail and a look at the other related items that make good gift items to go along with a nice bottle of spirits.
Located at 39 E. Quincy St., the hours are Wednesday from 5 to 9 p.m.; Friday from 4 to 9 p.m., Saturday from 2 to 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. The distillery also offers tours. Check out the website at www.quincystreetdistillery.com.
I, for one, will be returning to have that gimlet and make it a nostalgia trip for myself.