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George Washington’s Rye Whiskey Recipe: Full Guide (2024)

George Washington's Rye Whiskey Recipe

Last Updated on March 5, 2024 by Lydia Martin

George Washington’s Rye Whiskey is a limited-edition bottle distilled at Mount Vernon’s reconstructed distillery. 

If you own a bottle of this limited-release whiskey, you should make the most out of it by sipping it straight and mixing it with other beverages to make cocktails.

But you surely wonder how this one-of-a-kind expression became as versatile as it is.

If you’re curious, let’s take a closer look at George Washington’s Rye Whiskey recipe.  

All About George Washington Rye Whiskey Recipe

George Washington's Whiskey Bottle and Glass on Top of a Wooden Barrel

The staff at Mount Vernon, where George Washington’s Rye Whiskey was distilled, used Washington’s original mash bill and the traditional methods of the 18th century to create this rye whiskey. 

This process involved grinding all of the grain in the mill, as well as using wooden mash tubs and copper pot stills.

Main Ingredients


George Washington’s Rye contains 60% rye mash. The amount of rye in this recipe is greater than the usual 51% rye mash of other whiskeys of the same type. 

Also, this grain bill is what makes George Washington’s Rye Whiskey a good sipping spirit. 


man holding corn grains

Apart from the rye grain, the percentage of the remaining grain is also made up of corn. 

The George Washington’s Rye Whiskey contains 35% corn on its mash bill, imparting buttery, honey, and creamy flavor notes.  

Malted Barley

And like any other whiskey, George Washinton’s Rye incorporates 5% malted barley. This grain imparts the toasted, smoky, and nutty flavor of this rye whiskey. 

Mash Bill Ratio of George Washington’s Rye Whiskey

As mentioned above, George Washington’s Rye Whiskey is made up of 60% rye, 35% corn, and 5% malted barley.

Since it’s a rye whiskey, the rye grain is dominant in its mash bill. 

How Is George Washington’s Rye Whiskey Made?

Pouring Bottle of George Washington's Rye Whiskey on a Glass

Researchers found the mash bill, or recipe, of George Washington’s whiskey in the distillery records of 1798 and 1799.

According to the records, the whiskey was at least twice distilled before it was sent to market.

Looking back, during the time of Washington, the process of aging whiskey was not done and was sold as is. So, this rye whiskey literally shows the process accurately.

“When we’re making whiskey every day, we set mash — which is cooking grains — to ferment them, and then run five wood fire stills as they did in the 1790s here to create rye whiskey.”

— Steve Bashore, Head Distiller at George Washinton Distillery.

This rye whiskey was double-distilled using copper pot stills–heated by wood fires. So this ensures that it is as close to the original whiskey recipe as possible.

Is George Washington’s Rye Whiskey Aged?

George Washington's Rye Whiskey Barrel

As stated earlier, during the time of George Washington, whiskey was sold unaged, carrying its true form– colorless and clear.

The unaged George Washington rye whiskey is crystal clear in the glass. The dense line quickly forms into beads that look like they’re perforated. 

These beads then spill out onto the tasting vessel’s belly, which is like a liquid dripping from the inside.

It has a nice body and volume, and it appears to be very dense.

But after it’s been aged in charred oak barrels, it is bottled at 43% ABV or 86 proof and hand-labeled.

FAQs Related to George Washington’s Rye Whiskey Recipe

Did George Washington have a rye whiskey recipe?

Yes, George Washington had a rye whiskey recipe that he distilled at his Mount Vernon estate in Virginia during the late 18th century.

What ingredients did George Washington use in his rye whiskey recipe?

George Washington’s rye whiskey recipe typically included a mash bill of primarily rye grain, along with some corn and malted barley.

Was George Washington’s rye whiskey recipe well-documented?

Yes, George Washington’s rye whiskey recipe was documented in his personal papers and letters, providing insights into his distillation process.

How did George Washington’s rye whiskey recipe compare to modern rye whiskey?

George Washington’s rye whiskey recipe likely produced a spirit similar to modern rye whiskey, although flavor profiles may vary due to differences in distillation techniques and aging methods.

Is George Washington’s rye whiskey recipe still used today?

While George Washington’s original rye whiskey recipe is not commonly used today, some distilleries have recreated historical recipes as homage to the founding father’s legacy.

Are there any distilleries that produce rye whiskey based on George Washington’s recipe?

Yes, there are a few distilleries that have recreated George Washington’s rye whiskey recipe, aiming to capture the essence of the spirit distilled at Mount Vernon.

Was George Washington’s rye whiskey recipe considered popular during his time?

Yes, George Washington’s rye whiskey was well-regarded among his contemporaries, and he was known to have produced significant quantities for both personal use and sale.

Is it possible to visit Mount Vernon and learn more about George Washington’s whiskey production?

Yes, Mount Vernon offers tours and exhibits that delve into George Washington’s distillation process and rye whiskey production, providing visitors with a glimpse into early American whiskey-making history.


Goerge Washington’s Rye Whiskey [2] is not just an ordinary whiskey, and it’s a remarkable expression carrying colorful history and story. 

Even with the test of time, the Mount Vernon staff have managed to create a rye whiskey inspired by George Washington’s whiskey recipe with the same traditional methods. 

Since this is a limited-edition expression, you can say you’re lucky if you get to hold even one bottle of this exceptional rye whiskey. 


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