Tuesday, February 05, 2013

February 2013 Activity -- Gin Distillery Tour and Tasting

Ready to make martinis. And sloe gin fizzes (sloes gin fizz?)
Gin Distillery Tour & Tasting
New Columbia Distillery
1832 Fenwick Street, NE (da hood)
Washington, DC 20002
COST: Zero for tasting/tour
$36 per bottle of gin

In the car on the way to this activity, the following conversation took place:

Dilettante Amanda: "So this is a gin activity. Is it gin rummy?"

Wannabe Dilettante Tim: "I think it has to do with a cotton gin."

Dilettante Kathleen: "And here I was thinking it was a tutorial on bathtub gin. I'm pretty sure I've been making it wrong. Also (and probably unrelated) my daughter seems kind of listless after her baths..."

Turns out, it was none of the above -- it was a tour and tasting. We met Dilettante Amy (and another Dilettante wannabe, Pete) at New Columbia distillery in the section of NE near all the dance clubs that we planned to patronize after getting all goofed up on craft gin.

This was initially going to be a tour and tasting in conjunction with the alumni group from Dilettante Amanda's alma mater, Johns Hopkins University. However, it turns out that the JHU web site continues to accept reservations even after events are fully booked, so we discovered about a week ago that we could not participate in this as part of the alumni function. (At least that's the story Amanda gave us. I'm willing to bet it had something to do with the state schools on our resumes...) Anyway, the distillery suggested that we just come earlier and do an independent tour and tasting. So we and every-single-hipster-in-DC did exactly that. (Craft distilleries are obviously big with the skinny jean set.)

We began by getting a small tasting of the gin. Straight. And it was really deliciously spicy. Gin is not everyone's "thing" but we certainly all appreciated how complex the layers of flavor were, how you could pretty much taste the artisanal process in each sip, and how badass this was gonna taste with some juice in a crunk chalice.

Our tour guide (and only New Columbia employee) Sol gave us a ton of great information about the distilling process, the history of the company, and informed us that New Columbia was the first distillery to open and operate in DC in 103 years. (And Marion Barry calls himself a former Mayor. Sheesh.)

The gin is already served in some local restaurants and they are working on getting it into MD and VA, and may also begin distilling seasonal gins and other types of spirits.

It was a very interesting tour and a great product -- they already cannot keep up with demand and they do no traditional advertising. (Thanks to social media...and hipster word of mouth.)

Dilettante Amanda bought one bottle of gin. Dilettante Amy bought two. And Dilettante Kathleen bought a fedora and looked disinterested.

Dinner at Ethiopic on H Street followed.

Some of the ingredients.

January 2013 Activity --