Distill Like a President
George Washington’s Apple Brandy Distilled 18th Century Style at Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon, VA — Master Distillers got into the harvest season spirit this week at George Washington’s Distillery, in recreating the Founding Father’s historic apple brandy in his reconstructed distillery at Mount Vernon, Virginia.
The project, sponsored by Mount Vernon Estate, Museum & Gardens and the Distilled Spirits Council, showcased the preparation and distillation of apple brandy according to Washington’s 18th century distilling techniques. The process was led by David Pickerell, former master distiller of Maker’s Mark and consultant to numerous small, craft distillers across the country. The apple brandy will be aged and available for sale at Mount Vernon at a later date.
Mount Vernon’s Vice President for Preservation, Dennis Pogue, explained the history of George Washington’s success as a distiller. He is the author of a new book on the subject: Founding Spirits – George Washington and the Beginnings of the American Whiskey Industry.
“Brandy was a favorite libation of George and Martha Washington’s, and they commonly offered it for the enjoyment of their many guests at Mount Vernon,” said Pogue. “As apples were grown at the plantation in ample amounts, converting some of their juice into brandy at Washington’s distillery therefore served his personal use as well as furthered his commercial interests.”
Pogue stated that Washington’s distillery ledger includes an entry in October 1799 showing that 67 gallons of apple brandy were transferred from the distillery for use at the “Mount Vernon House.”
Tasting of Brandy and First Aged George Washington Rye Whiskey
In addition to tasting the new apple brandy, members of the media participated in a preview tasting of the first batch of aged George Washington Rye Whiskey.
Three hundred of the limited edition bottles of the two-year-old straight rye whiskey will go on sale to the public for the first time at Mount Vernon beginning Saturday, October 22, 10:00 a.m., for $185 for each 375 mL bottle. The proceeds will benefit Mount Vernon’s education programs. For bottle image, click here. Photo by Russ Flint.
The distillery is located three miles from the Mount Vernon Estate.