MOUNT VERNON, V.A. – Martha Washington’s Colonial Rum, a limited edition colonial-style spirit distilled and aged at Historic Mount Vernon, was hand-bottled today on the grounds of George Washington’s Distillery for an upcoming auction to benefit Mount Vernon’s educational programs.
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, which has been aging in barrels on the grounds of Mount Vernon for the past three years, was hand-bottled today into special commemorative bottles by Joe Dangler, Master Distiller, Virginia Gentleman, A. Smith Bowman, in Fredericksburg, VA. and Dennis Pogue, Mount Vernon’s Associate Director for Preservation.
The bottles of Martha Washington’s Colonial Rum will be auctioned at a September 24 “Spirit of Mount Vernon” gala event sponsored by the Distilled Spirits Council and the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America to benefit Mount Vernon’s education programs.
200 years ago, while our country’s first president distilled whiskey at his distillery on the grounds of the Mount Vernon Estate (one of the largest distilleries in the country at the time), the First Lady was known for serving guests her signature Rum Punch recipe.
In 1797, George Washington, on the advice of his Scottish-born farm manager, James Anderson, constructed a large whiskey distillery adjacent to his gristmill on the banks of Dogue Creek in Fairfax County. Anderson installed his son, John, as distillery manager, and the enterprise became one of the largest whiskey distilleries in early America producing 11,000 gallons in 1799, worth the then-substantial sum of $7500.
After five years of archaeological excavations, the distillery has been authentically rebuilt by a team of restoration architects, craftsmen and historians using 18th-century building techniques. The reconstructed distillery marks the only historic site in the country capable of showing the early American distilling process from seed to barrel. It also serves as the “Gateway” to the American Whiskey Trail, a cultural heritage and tourism initiative of Historic Mount Vernon and the Distilled Spirits Council, which encompasses sites in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. For more information on the American Whiskey Trail, see www.americanwhiskeytrail.com.
George Washington’s Distillery is located at 5514 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway (SR 235) in Alexandria, VA 22309, 3 miles south of Mount Vernon’s main entrance. Parking is available.
Martha Washington’s Rum Punch (Serving 6-10)
Inspired by the rum punch served by Martha Washington:
3 oz. White Rum
3 oz. Dark Rum
3 oz. Orange Curaçao
4 oz. Simple Syrup
4 oz. Lemon Juice
4 oz. Fresh Orange Juice
3 Lemons quartered
1 Orange quartered
½ Tsp. Grated nutmeg
3 Cinnamon sticks (broken)
12 oz. Boiling water
Preparation: In a container, mash the orange, lemons, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and nutmeg. Add the syrup, lemon, and orange juices. Pour the boiling water over the mixture in the container. Let cool for a few minutes. When cool, add the White Rum, Dark Rum, and Orange Curaçao. Strain well into a pitcher or punch bowl (to remove all of the spice marinade) and serve over ice in goblets and decorate with wheels of lemon and orange. Dust with a little nutmeg and cinnamon and enjoy a sip of American history.