Wine & Spirits: George Washington’s Whiskey

by Editorial

A limited edition rye whiskey is being made at Washington’s reconstructed distillery.
By John Arundel

(Photo courtesy of Mount Vernon Estate)

General George’s whiskey, aged to perfection for two centuries, is now back on the market.

Okay, the limited edition George Washington Rye Whiskey may not exactly be two centuries old,  but it sure tastes smooth enough to be.

Master Distiller Dave Pickerell tells us that its nose is “slightly floral, earthy, and grainy,” with a taste that is “surprisingly sweet and mellow,” but with a bit of a bite, characteristic of un-aged rye. George Washington’s Rye Whiskey is true to its historic pedigree: an un-aged (and thus uncolored) spirit, twice distilled and bottled at 43 percent alcohol.

“The response from George Washington Rye Whiskey sales has been overwhelming,” said Melissa Wood, Mount Vernon‘s spokesperson. “Our visitors are inspired to eat and drink like a president after they depart Mount Vernon.”

This is a limited edition rye whiskey made at George Washington’s reconstructed distillery – only 600 limited edition bottles are being offered for sale.

Each 375 ml bottle retails for $95, and purchases are restricted to two bottles per person. The whiskey is available for sale in person only at the Distillery & Gristmill site gift shop and The Shops at Mount Vernon. Whiskey sale hours are Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The George Washington Rye Whiskey is the most authentic version of Washington’s whiskey available today.

Washington was a detailed record keeper – Mount Vernon’s staff were able to determine from his records the recipe and process of creating whiskey during Washington’s lifetime. Distillers used the same grain recipe (60% rye, 35% corn, and 5% malted barley), mixed and fermented in 120-gallon oak barrels, and double distilled in copper pot stills, just as it was done 200 years ago.

The George Washington Rye Whiskey was made at the Distillery & Gristmill site, located about three miles from the estate on Route 235. Demonstrations by costumed distillers take visitors through the historic process of whiskey-making in this reconstruction of the largest 18th-century distillery in America.

The distillery is adjacent to Washington’ reconstructed gristmill, a water-powered mill where Colonial millers grind corn into meal and wheat into flour just as it was done more than 200 years ago. Both are 0pen daily from March 31 through October, 10:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. Admission to the site is $4 for adults, $2 for children ages 6-11, and free for children 5 and under.

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