Do you know who was the nation’s largest distiller in 1799? Here’s a hint: he is first in the hearts of his countrymen (I’m sure the booze helped with that). That’s right, George Washington, of Revolutionary War and first President fame, was the nation’s largest distiller of whiskey at the time of his death. But the really interesting thing is we still have his whiskey recipe, and the amazing people at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s home, have been brewing it for the past two years, using historical distilling techniques (full disclosure: my mother works at Mount Vernon and is responsible for bottling and selling the whiskey).
On July 4th, Mount Vernon sold their latest batch of the unaged rye whiskey (Roll Call; subscription required). That’s right, it’s an unaged whiskey; it spent no time in barrels, and thus doesn’t have the color of a typical whiskey. It’s also strong, coming out at 43% alcohol. To give an idea on how strong, my mom likes to tell a story that when her staff bottled the first batch last year, the fumes actually got one of her employees tipsy. It’s made in limited quantities (around 400 bottles), and they only sell it two or three times a year. Lines are long and the bottles go quickly, even at a hefty sum ($95). Continue reading