By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Nov 18, 2020 at 9:01 AM

Central Standard’s bourbon aged in cabernet wine barrels has always been one of the most popular whiskeys made in Milwaukee and now it’s got a new look.

Bottled with a new label under the name Red Cabin, the whiskey – based on a recent tasting – now has a hint more of that red wine overtone thanks to the fact that it spends a bit more time in the barrels now.

However, says co-founder Evan Hughes, that times varies.

“We rebarrel Red Cabin in cab wine barrels for between 30-60 days,” Hughes says. “It truly is ready when it's ready, though. There is variation depending on conditions.”

As with making any aged spirit, that variation means Hughes and his partner Pat McQuillan have worked hard to perfect the whiskey and now that they feel like they’ve arrived, it’s got a new look.

“From a business perspective, we want Red Cabin to be the bourbon of choice wherever and whenever people relax and unwind here in the Midwest,” says Hughes.

“We’ve spent years perfecting this aging process and can’t wait for folks to finally be able to taste it.”

The flavor added by those California wine barrels never overpowers the whiskey, but rather adds a subtle, but distinct, note of its own.

Red Cabin has won a Gold Medal at the prestigious Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits competition.

During that tasting, McQuillan and Hughes also brought out some maturing single-barrel whiskey samples that suggest that the distillery just might have some great single-barrel expressions up its sleeve.

We’ll be eager to find out!

In related news, Hughes and McQuillan expect to be able to begin moving forward soon on the conversion of the an old Edward Townsend Mix-designed commercial building at 320 E. Clybourn St. into its new tasting room and events space.

Stay tuned for more on that and on those other aging whiskeys.

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.