We could all use a drink right about now. Fortunately, the fact that September is Virginia Spirits Month provides a perfect excuse to indulge in a local tipple … or four. Even better? You can get it with a shot of history.
Did you know that George Washington was once one of the most prolific producers of whiskey in America? His home, Mount Vernon, continues his work with George Washington’s Rye Whiskey, the official state spirit of Virginia. Cooler still, they’re produced in a faithful reconstruction of Washington’s original distillery. That means the whiskey is made using 18th-century methods. Whiskey lovers can visit the distillery to learn how their favorite drink was crafted in Washington’s time.
“Our methods are as close as you can get to 18th-century brewing,” said head distiller Steve Bashore in a recent press release. “Everything is done by hand, and there’s nobody else using these methods in accurately reconstructed buildings. Everything we do lends itself to how Mount Vernon’s rye tastes the way it does.”
But you want to taste the fruits of their labor. This Saturday, Sept. 5, and next Saturday, Sept. 12, the distillery will host tastings of the spirits starting at 2 p.m. Space is limited, so reserving in advance is strongly recommended.
The basic rye whiskey recipe used today comes from the distillery ledgers from 1798 and 1799, the year Washington died. It is not aged, and has a grain flavor with hints of spice. There are also versions that are aged for two and four years, as well as apple brandy, made using varietals that were grown in Washington’s orchards, and peach brandy. This month, the premium bottles—which can, in the case of the four-year-aged whiskey, cost as much as $225—are discounted by 20%. Now is the time to celebrate history and local spirits, one sip at a time.
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