Dupont Rotarians and their guests marked the end of the first month of 2015 with “Gin-uary," lining up to taste two types of gin and a gin cocktail “ginned up” by New Columbia Distillery, Washington D.C.’s first distillery to operate since Prohibition.
Co-founder and owner Michael Lowe presented the history of his distillery and the basic process for making Green Hat Gin. With his circular-framed glasses, Mr. Lowe looked like a contemporary of the charismatic bootlegger George Cassiday, whose emerald green fedora inspired the “Green Hat” moniker. Cassiday operated his distillery out of both houses of Congress during the height of Prohibition, and his “spirit” lives on today with the opening of New Columbia Distillers in Ivy City (a D.C. warehouse district) in 2012.
Gin gets its distinctive taste from a combination of “botanicals,” and Green Hat has several versions to choose from. Its standard fare features the juniper “nose,” so often associated with gin, along with a citrus lightness. The fall/winter version has distinctive notes of caraway and other “exotics” that will spice up a snowy night. Mr. Lowe also treated Rotarians to a refreshing “white negroni,” which is a cocktail made with gin, pear liqueur, and other secret ingredients. We also learned about an upcoming release of a “navy proof” gin that'll have a higher alcohol proof to satisfy the nautical scalawag in all of us.
This local distillery may not have seen the last of Dupont Rotarians. Ever true to its motto of “service above self,” several members expressed an interest in assisting with regular bottling nights. Many hands make light(er) stills!