Mount Vernon, Va. – A single rare bottle of Martha Washington Colonial Rum fetched $20,000 for Historic Mount Vernon’s educational programs at a gala auction on the mansion grounds last night sponsored by the Distilled Spirits Council.  The company that made the winning bid was Diageo.  For an image of Martha Washington Colonial Rum, click here.

The 750 ml bottle of Martha Washington Colonial Rum, number one of a limited edition of 12 bottles, was distilled, aged and hand-bottled at Historic Mount Vernon.

Handcrafted in 2005 by Master Distillers from some of the world’s best-known liquor brands, the colonial-style rum was fermented from black strap molasses imported from St. Croix and distilled in an 18th- century pot still over an open fire at the site of the George Washington Distillery.   The rum has been aging in barrels on the grounds of Mount Vernon for the past three years.

The Council’s annual heritage dinner on the lawn at Mount Vernon, supported by the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, raised in total more than $270,000 for the new George Washington Education and Orientation Center, bringing the grand total for the history of this event to over $1,800,000.  The dinner was attended by over 700 Washington notables including Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA), Senator John Warner (R-VA), Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY), Representative Shelley Berkley (D-NV) and the Honorable Frank Keating, former Governor of Oklahoma.

Separately, the distilled spirits industry has donated over $2.1 million for the archaeology and reconstruction of the first President’s distillery, which is open to the public from April through October, and is the only site in North America to accurately showcase 18th century distilling techniques.