Aside from leading the Continental Army and being chief executive of the young United States, George Washington was a bit of an entrepreneur. One of his big money makers was the distillery that he ran out of a room at Mt. Vernon. Thanks to some help from more modern distillers, the historic site was made operational again a few years ago and is now pumping out aged and unaged rye whiskeys in the style of the founding father.
The distillery at Mt. Vernon was rebuilt in 2009 and has begun to produce whiskey in much the same way it was made in Washington's time. The only thing that reminded me that I wasn't actually in the eighteenth century was the pair of sneakers worn by a worker otherwise wearing period dress and the fact that I wasn't dying from quinsy. The equipment in the gristmill where the distillery's grains were ground was made of stone, wood, and held together by leather straps and rope. The stillhouse smelled of wood smoke and wooden paddles were used to stir the mash.
The whiskey is based on a recipe used by Washington and his farm manager, James Anderson, and is distilled primarily from rye. David Pickerell, former Master Distiller at Maker's Mark, who now consults with numerous distilling upstarts, helped determine the recipe and process by delving into historical records and old distilling manuals. Pickerell holds multiple degrees in chemistry, and no doubt brought his legendary knowledge of current distilling methods to bear.
The stuff is reportedly pretty good, but costs a whopping $95/pint. [Serious Eats]