In the new Sun-Times series “The Grid,” Ji Suk Yi is exploring Chicago’s many neighborhoods. These stories are both love letter and travel guide for locals and visitors alike to get to know (or rediscover) these many interesting places. You can watch her videos and read all the comprehensive travel guides from “The Grid” here.

Each week, Ji visit a new neighborhood so check back often and keep exploring!

Ji Suk Yi explores Chicago neighborhoods in the new series "The Grid" produced by the Sun-Times audience team.

Ji Suk Yi explores Chicago neighborhoods in the new series “The Grid” produced by the Sun-Times audience team.

Off The Grid: Ravenswood

Ji recently visited for Ravenswood on the city’s north side for The Grid.  There, she learned all about the incredible manufacturing in the industrial corridor, including Chicago’s new printers row.  She also explored Ravenswood’s “malt row” — a series of breweries and one distillery, Koval — where she got a cocktail-making lesson.

Koval’s education ambassador, A. Tonks Lynch, taught Ji how to make a drink called an “Old Sweet Heart.” It’s a twist on an “Old-Fashioned,” one of the oldest mixed drinks with a history going back to the late 1800’s. The drink was known first as a whiskey cocktail, then as an old-fashioned whiskey cocktail, then (finally) as just an “Old-Fashioned.”

Now, thanks to Koval, what’s old is new again in the Old Sweet Heart.

This cocktail was developed with Spirit Tea, another Chicago-based company. The official recipe calls for their Clear Heart oolong tea, but Spirit Tea tells us the Clear Heart is currently out of season. Once it’s back, it can be ordered through Spirit Tea’s website.

Check out this video where Ji learns to make The Old Sweet Heart cocktail. The cocktail recipe is below.

The Old Sweet Heart Cocktail

An Old-Fashioned-style cocktail using Spirit Tea’s Clear Heart oolong cultivar processed as black tea, along with Koval’s bourbon whiskey.


  • 2 oz KOVAL Bourbon
  • ½ oz Clear Heart Syrup (recipe below)
  • 3-5 dashes Angostura bitters


Stir ingredients with ice. Strain into rocks glass over king ice cube. Garnish with orange peel.

Clear Heart Syrup

Bring 1 cup water to boil. Add 30 grams Clear Heart tea leaves, allow to simmer. While the tea cooks, stir in 1 cup sugar. Once sugar has dissolved into the water, remove from heat. Strain into a heatproof container and cool. Yield 1.25 cups syrup.

Ji Suk Yi and bartender Tonks Lynch talk about making cocktails at Koval Distillery in Ravenswood.

Ji Suk Yi and Koval education ambassador A. Tonks Lynch talk about making cocktails at Koval Distillery in Ravenswood.

For more about Koval, watch this Sun-Times “Food We Love” episode where Linda Yu interviewed Koval co-founder Sonat Birnecker.

Then check out all of the episodes in “The Grid” neighborhood series:

The Grid: Exploring Chicago neighborhoods

Be sure to check out our new Sun-Times video series “The Grid,” which showcases the best of Chicago’s neighborhoods (and suburbs!) by turning a spotlight on the people, places and things that make our city one-of-a-kind. Look for a new video episode each Wednesday on The Chicago Sun-Times website. #thegrid

The Grid neighborhood guides: