At George Washington's estate, brandy distilled the old-fashioned way
At a distillery just a few miles from the George Washington’s Mount Vernon home, they are distilling apple brandy just the way Washington would have done it more than 200 years ago.
“You’ll never see this the way its being done here, authentically as they did in Colonial times,” said Frank Coleman of the distilled spirits council.
Distilling was a business for Washington.
"Toward the end of his life after his presidency, he started this distillery and it was the largest of its kind in the country at the time," said Dennis Pogue, who works to preserve the first president’s Mount Vernon home.
Each barrel of apple mash will eventually make about six cases of apple brandy. It's heated with fire and cooled by water from a nearby creek.
“You have to watch the temperatures to make sure its not too hot or cold, but if you nurture it just right you get this marvelous spirit that comes out the other end,” said Dave Pickerell, a master distiller.
“You go to maker's mark or wild turkey and you see the same process, but it's on steroids. They're making more in a minute than Washington made in a year,” Pogue said.
The apple brandy will be aged for two years before it goes on sale. Last year Mount Vernon distilled peach brandy, which will be ready next year.
The rye whiskey they made two years ago goes on sale this month for $185 a bottle. Proceeds will benefit education programs here.
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