Tastes of the District

Back in 2017, Matthew had the opportunity to complete a summer internship for his master’s degree in Washington, D.C.. While he was there he had the opportunity to explore what he likes to call “Distillery Row”. This area is the home to several distilleries that are all within walking distance.

  • Cotton & Reed
    Address: 1330 5th St. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
    Hours: Sunday 12 pm to 12 am; Monday CLOSED; Tuesday – Thursday 4 pm – 12 am; Friday 4 pm – 2 am; Saturday 12 pm – 12 am
    Phone: (202) 544 – 2805

    Cotton & Reed focuses primarily on rum. There space is open for tastings, tours, and private events. They pride themselves on the complexity of their rums and how all of the flavors of the ingredients come together to create the cocktail experience. The core spirits that are always available are a white, gold, and dry-spiced rum and an allspice dram. They also tend to release one limited rum per year.
  • Jos. A. Magnus & Co.
    Address: 2052 West Virginia Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002
    Hours: Call for hours
    Phone: (202) 459 – 3518

    Jos. A Magnus & Co. became a reality as a result of an unopened bottle of whiskey that was dated back to 1892. The Magnus family used this bottle as the vision for the whiskey they wanted to once again produce. Currently, there are 3 whiskeys and one navy strength gin being produced by Jos. A Magnus & Co.
  • New Columbia Distillers/Green Hat Gin
    Address: 1832 Fenwick St NE, Washington, DC 20002
    Hours: Sunday CLOSED; Monday – Friday 8 am – 5 pm; Saturday 1 pm – 4 pm
    Phone: (202) 733 – 1710

    If you’re interested in history you will love the backstory of Green Hat Gin, but if you enjoy gin, New Columbia Distillers/Green Hat Gin needs to be on your list of places to visit during your next trip to the district. As made clear by the name, New Columbia Distillers/Green Hat Gin primarily focuses on gin. They produce a seasonal gin, navy strength gin, and year-round gin. Not only do they have gin, but they also have Capitoline Vermouth at the tasting room. If you’re not a big gin or vermouth fan, you still should check out the tasting room for their other spirits.
  • One Eight Distilling
    Address: 1135 Okie St NE, Washington, DC 20002
    Hours: Saturday 1 – 10 pm; Sunday 1 – 7 pm
    Phone: (202) 636 – 6638

    One Eight Distilling produces rye, bourbon, gin, and vodka from locally-sourced ingredients. Their pride for using local ingredients is why all of their spirits begin with “District Made”.
  • Republic Restoratives Distillery and Craft Cocktail Bar
    Address: 1369 New York Ave NE, Washington, DC 20002
    Hours: Sunday 12 pm – 5 pm; Thursday 5 pm – 11 pm, Friday 6:30 pm – 11 pm; Saturday 12 – 4 pm
    Phone: (202) 733 – 3996

    Republic Restoratives is a female-founded distillery that “stands for community, authenticity and most of all friendship” and their spirits lean towards a focus on whiskey. Republic Restoratives produces a rye, bourbon, vodka, and apple brandy.

All of the distilleries offer tours and tastings on the weekends. In addition, all of the distilleries also have cocktails available for purchase.

When Matthew first visited, all of the distilleries were selling sourced whiskey while their own whiskeys aged so the only spirits that were true to the distillery were the gins and vodkas. It’s great to see the updated websites for all of these distilleries and to see how much they have all grown.

Thanks for reading! Cheers friends!

Two Keys for Approaching Wine Tasting

First and foremost, the two of the most important things to keep in mind when you are going wine tasting is to approach each wine tasting with (1) an open mind and (2) a willingness to learn. This does not change whether you are a novice and you are reading this in preparation for your very first trip to wine country or if you are a seasoned wine tasting pro. Having an open mind and a willingness to learn will provide you with the foundation to discover and experience everything the winery has to offer.

One of Our Many Learning Experiences

We know first hand about how bias can influence a winery or a particular wine, however, we also have been able to overcome biases of particular wineries or varietals when we remained open and continued to give a winery or particular varietal a chance to impress. Early on, Matthew did not enjoy Sauvignon Blanc because he explained that Sauvginon Blanc’s contained too much of a sour grapefruit component for his palate. As a result, when he would go tasting he would attempt to see if he could replace Sauvignon Blanc with a different wine or he would not choose it when given the option. After hearing about why Matthew did not enjoy Sauvignon Blanc, the pourer at Pear Valley challenged Matthew to try their Sauvignon Blanc and he was promised a different taste of a new wine if he did not enjoy their version. Matthew accepted and was pleasantly surprised about how Pear Valley’s Sauvignon Blanc tasted compared to the others he had not enjoyed. With this experience, Matthew learned the importance of how wine making styles differ across wine regions and countries.

Winemakers are Artists

Winemakers are artists in their trade. Each winemaker has their own philosophy for the type wine they want to create. The winemakers use the type of terroir and climate where the vines are located to help determine their goals. The soil may be sand or it may be clay; the climate may be warm at day and cool at night or it may have coastal influences. All of this influences how the grapes grow, and therefore, how the wine tastes.

You may not enjoy how a particular wine tastes or an entire winery may not leave you impressed and that is perfectly natural. What you enjoy may not be what your friend enjoys or what you and your friend taste may be drastically different. The best part about wine is that it is perfectly ok to taste or smell something different from the person next to you. Each person experiences different tastes and smells because of the memories that the wine draws you towards.

At the end of the day even if you do not enjoy a particular wine or a winery, please conduct yourself with appropriate behavior out of respect for the artist, winery, and wine making process. Just because you do not enjoy a particular wine, does not mean that it was not made well. So if you find a wine that does not suit your palate, politely make use of the spittoon buckets that each winery makes available for people who decline to finish an entire taste.

However, if you allow yourself to enter a tasting room biased either against the winery or a particular varietal, you can end up missing out on a new experience, an experience that may have the ability to change your mind. Without having an open mind and a willingness to learn, Matthew would probably still refuse to drink Sauvignon Blanc.

Thanks for reading! Cheers friends!