Get in the DC spirit at these local distilleries offering award-winning drinks, tours and more.
It seems fitting that in the region that serves as the birthplace of American whiskey and in close proximity to where Congress ratified the amendment that brought Prohibition to an end is a thriving vodka, gin, rum and whiskey distillery scene. In recent years many DC locals have turned their hand to craft distilling. See how spirits are made and sample the end results at these great distilleries in and around the nation's capital.
Founding Spirits at Farmers & Distillers
From the minds behind Founding Farmers and Farmers Fishers Bakers comes this distillery and restaurant near Chinatown. Founding Spirits, the restaurant's micro-batch distillery, currently specializes in the production of small-batch vodka, whiskey and amaro. The in-house spirits are incorporated into an extensive cocktail list, so pair your drink with a menu covering a wide range of cuisines: you can dine on imperial spring rolls and dumplings or oysters, order a filet mignon or a vegetarian dish, sample the daily catch or savor handmade pasta.
Whether you’re in want of whiskey, long for gin or hanker for vodka, District Made has all the tastes covered. The rye-forward spirits are inspired by the city, its diversity and sustainability.
Cotton & Reed
You could say this rum distillery was written in the stars. Get this, Cotton & Reed's co-founders discovered they had a shared passion for spirits while working at NASA. The spot offers tours, cocktails, tastings and bottle sales, every day of the week.
George Washington’s Mount Vernon Distillery
One of the lesser-known facts about the first President of the United States is that he had a highly successful whiskey business. Encouraged by his Scottish farm manager, Washington began distilling in the early 1790s and by the time of his death had the largest whiskey distillery in America. A visit to the functioning Distillery & Gristmill is included with General Admission Ticket to George Washington’s Mount Vernon. It operates early spring through the end of October on Saturday & Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and costs a Hamilton ($10) to visit.
Not only is Republic Restoratives 100% women-owned and LGBTQ+-owned, it is the largest crowd-funded distillery in the world. The owners are longtime friends who believe in the power of a cocktail to bring communities together. Spirits range from Purpose Rye and Civic Vodka to Madam, a new commemorative whiskey in honor of Vice President Kamala Harris whose label was designed by local artist @thelexmarie. While distillery tours are currently paused, bottle sales are available for local delivery, pick-up and nationwide shipping.
Don Ciccio & Figli
For 100-plus years, the family of Don Ciccio & Figli’s founder produced liquors on Italy’s Amalfi coast. Luckily for DC, those traditions are being revived in this Ivy City distillery with Italian spirits such as limoncello, amaro and aperitifs created with recipes that have been handed down through generations. Attend free tastings on Saturdays, or reserve a spot at Bar Sirenis, which serves a selection of specialty cocktails (think negronis and spritzes) on Saturdays as well.
Discover how DC bartenders are using local liquors and spirits in their cocktail creations at these rooftop bars and restaurants.
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