11 Craft Distilleries Close to Home
Get an Uber and take a little hop around the DMV for some tastings.
For their latest concept, the team behind the Founding Farmers restaurant empire took the huge dining rooms (and huge menus) for which they’re known and grafted on a distilling operation in the back. If you don’t make the Saturday tours, you can always get tastes of their vodka, gin and two whiskeys at the bar, along with dozens of cocktail variations. In development for future release: a London-style dry gin, a bitter fernet and a special batch of their signature amaro, made with honey from a rooftop apiary at George Washington University. –J.D.
600 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C.
During its heyday in the late 1700s, the distillery on the grounds of Mount Vernon—reconstructed on its original site 10 years ago by archaeologists and preservationists—was one of the largest in the nation. Now, it’s not even the largest in the DMV. Yet while it produces comparatively little whiskey, it’s unquestionably the most interesting, as it still utilizes 18th-century methods of whiskey making, like heating the stills over open flame. Admission is included in general admission to Mount Vernon. When you’ve finished your tour, head to the gift shop to pick up a bottle of house-made rye, apple brandy or peach eau de vie. –J.D.
5514 Mount Vernon Memorial Highway, Alexandria
In 2015, Jimmy Turner, a descendant of the original Joseph Magnus, teamed up with some local and national spirits experts to relaunch the brand his forefather made famous in the late 1800s. Magnus was primarily a whiskey man, so that’s where the new team focused, tasting a 100-year-old bottle of Magnus, then going about the painstaking process of re-creating it. They’ve followed that up with several special releases, most aged in sherry, cognac and Armagnac casks. Don’t sleep on their gin, however: Noted gin expert Nicole Hassoun, who bartends in the distillery’s Murray Hill Club bar, also oversees both of Magnus’ gin expressions. –J.D.
2052 West Virginia Ave. NE, Washington, D.C.