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George Washington’s Rye Whiskey Recipe: Full Guide (2023)

Last Updated on January 3, 2023 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

Rye 

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. 

Corn

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 

Where did George Washington make whiskey?

George Washington’s whiskey is created at a distillery in Mount Vernon, Virginia [1], which was one of the largest distilleries in the US at the time.

He personally owned and operated this commercial distillery, which was named after him. 

Can you make George Washington’s rye whiskey at home?

You can’t make George Washington’s rye whiskey at home as it involves a very intricate process using traditional methods dating back to the 1700s, during Washington’s time. 

Summary 

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. 

References:

  1. https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/george-washingtons-whiskey 
  2. https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2011/10/22/141589394/drinking-whiskey-in-the-spirit-of-george-washington 

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