The Alchemy Spirit House in Zionsville may be one of the few truly great things that came out of 2020. The owners, Mark and Laurie Nigbur, opened Alchemy’s doors to the public this past July, finally making their dream of opening a craft distillery a reality. Keep Indy Indie had the opportunity to sit with Mark and hear his story and the genius behind what makes this place special.
When they began the process of deciding where to put down roots for the distillery, they had 5 locations in mind: California, Montana, Omaha, Nashville, and just outside the great city of Indianapolis. Hoping for a great school district for their little ones, they came across Zionsville.
“Really, everybody I’ve met that had anything to do with the project–from the mayor, to the building owners, to everyone else who was a part of the process — just made it go so smooth. So I knew the universe was with us. We didn’t have any pushback.”
Mark has been distilling for 18 years, and was actually one of the first to start distilling in North America. He started in Colorado Springs, created a vodka there, and became headhunted to open a distillery in Maui. He ended up spending the last 14-15 years there, and during that time he developed an aspiration to create a truly authentic tasting room.
A true tasting room is a distillery that ferments, distills, bottles, labels, and everything in-house. One can taste the spirits and also consume original cocktails that are made at that very location — a truly unique experience!
The space could best be described as an industrial speakeasy, with all the right amenities to assist with feeling at home, cozy, and invited to relax and loosen up with friends, colleagues, or family members. You can sip a cocktail, have a flight and some appetizers, and just enjoy the space and people around you.
Patrons can see the distilling process directly through the glass wall. As Mark says, “I’m very transparent– no pun intended! You can always see what we’re doing back there.”
“People come into the distillery and they will sit down as strangers, and within ten to fifteen minutes, they are all talking and laughing and just having a great time. And it is just so cool to see that, especially in these times.”
One of our favorite features of Alchemy is the team’s attention to detail. Each morning, Mark and the team build their “setlist” (their menu of cocktails that they will be serving for the day). All of their cocktails always consist of fresh ingredients. Their botanicals are sourced from all over the world, and no artificial colors, preservatives, or additives are used.
Many of their cocktails are either prohibition or pre-prohibition styled drinks that they have put their slant on. Mark has a great respect for the mixologists that pioneered these original craft cocktails back in the day and desires to bring this history back to life.
“Customers have a real appreciation for what we create and what goes into it, which is what you should expect. Expect something better from your cocktail, and we deliver that.”
Though not originally designed for it, the space is also an awesome venue for private events. Both the upstairs and downstairs are perfect for intimate gatherings, and for this reason especially, many have fallen in love with it. From company outings, birthday parties, you name it: the space is perfect for it.
Food can be catered in or one can choose among Alchemy’s various small plates available. “I love the word sexy to describe what we have. The rustic metal and the velvet, it’s just a great space to take pictures, and just hang out and be cool.” In the future, Alchemy will be opening outdoor seating to expand on their space and open up more possibilities for future events.
If you are looking for a bar that sells your everyday beer and spirits, Alchemy is not for you. Alchemy Spirit House has distinguished, original cocktails and spirits, and offers such a unique experience, unlike anything we’ve seen before.
Guests that come in to check out Alchemy Spirit House should want to enjoy and savor a cocktail. Bonus if they should want to have an understanding of what it takes to distill a true spirit whether it’s vodka, tequila, or rum. Visitors can see immediately everything that is going into the drink in front of them. And from start to finish, the only thing going into these drinks is quality.
Unique Experiences Offered
Mixology 101 Class: On Saturdays, The Alchemy provides an opportunity for patrons to learn about the basics of cocktail building. All the barware you would need is provided and you actually create the cocktails yourself. Mark is there to guide and provide insights, but the experience and cocktails are all yours.
Distillery Tours: Full distillery tours, by Mark himself, are available every Sunday. Each tour includes a tasting of their most popular spirits.
Vodka Infusion Class: Every Sunday morning, you can come in and distill your own botanical vodka. You can pick from over 36 botanicals. The team will educate you on the different kinds of botanicals, what pairs with what, and how you’d like your spirit to taste. You weigh the botanicals, load your still, and distill it out. They will proof it, bring it down to bottle strength to whatever you’d like, bottle it, label it, and then you get to take it home that day.
Mark was kind enough to share one of his popular drink recipes with us for you ambitious mixologists at home. Give it a try and be sure to let us know how it turns out.
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