Mt. Vernon Adds Peach Brandy To Rye. Sells Rye for $25K at Auction

George Washington was not only the first President, "Father of our Country" and hero of the American Revolution, he was also a passionate distiller of rye whiskey and brandy.

At a reconstructed distillery [pictured] at Washington's estate, Mt. Vernon, now a National Park Service museum in Northern Va., there has been an effort to recreate both the rye and peach brandy that Washington made, sold, consumed, served and gifted to common folk as well as luminaries of his day.

Last summer, Mt. Vernon sold a limited edition of 470 bottles of the recreated rye whiskey. The bottles sold out in two hours at $85 each. And earlier this month, bottles #1 and #2 sold as a pair at auction for $25,000 to, ironically, an anonymous U.K. buyer.

But this month saw industry craftsman and leaders gather at Mt. Vernon to see if they could recreate a peach brandy that was as close to Washington's own recipe as they think possible. There is no written recipe for Washington's brandy, but the hope is that by distilling it in a still that is a close replica of the first President's and from juice from the local peaches Washington would have used, the "spirit" of the brandy will be close to what it was 240 years ago.
The crew at Mt. Vernon used the same process that would have been used in Washington's day: keeping fires going to heat the liquid and transferring it by buckets instead of modern pumps. They began with 300 gallons of peach juice on Tuesday Oct. 5 and finished the next day with about 60 gallons of peach brandy that they will age in oak barrels. Selling the relatively small amount of brandy is still uncertain, but some of it will likely hit the auction block to benefit the museum.

The year Washington died, in 1799, his estate produced some 11,000 gallons of Rye. The plantation account book also shows that, earlier the same year, he had 60 gallons of peach brandy and 67 gallons of apple brandy sent to his main house from the distillery.

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