BURDETT, NY — Brian and Thomas McKenzie (left to right in the photo) of Finger Lakes Distilling were involved in the creation of peach brandy at the George Washington Distillery at Mount Vernon, VA, as part of a recent cooperative venture led by a number of craft distillers from around the country. Here’s an excerpt, called “Making George proud” that Brian wrote on their blog:
The past few days have been filled with some of the most memorable experiences we’ve had since starting Finger Lakes Distilling. … It’s not common knowledge, but our founding father was, at one time, the largest commercial whiskey producer in the U.S. After fighting for our independence and serving as our first president, Washington re-focused his energy into entrepreneurial ventures, the distillery being one example, after being talked into it by his plantation manager, James Anderson (a Scot, of course). … While rye whiskey was the main output from the distillery at Mount Vernon, the records show that other spirits were produced. Peach brandy was produced in small quantities (-60 gallons per year), and was consumed primarily by guests at Washington’s estate.
Our task began back here in Burdett, where we brought in over 500 gallons of fresh peach juice in early September. We fermented and distilled the juice into peach low wines (1x distilled) which we donated to the project. After completing the necessary paperwork, we transferred the liquid to Mount Vernon Distillery, a functioning distilled spirits plant at the historical site. … After the usual stops at some breweries and distilleries along the way, we settled in … . Work began first thing Tuesday morning. We transferred the low wines over to the distillery, blended with another distiller’s contribution and cut down to 40 proof. The liquid was then divided into two of the five stills that would have been functioning in Washington’s day.
[Go here for the full entry and a raft of photos.]
Congrats to the McKenzies, who as most people know by now are related only in their efforts to create craft spirits.
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