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Top 7 Places to Visit in Loudoun County, Virginia

In the rolling hills of Appalachia, you’ll find a host of small towns and villages teeming with vintage shops, rustic venues, historic buildings, breweries, wineries, and the soft inclination of lovers strolling at dusk. This is Loudoun County, Virginia, a close-knit community rooted to a history of agriculture. 

Today, Loudoun has evolved into a scene full of expanding businesses, growing neighborhoods, and cultural diversity, making it a premier destination which attracts gourmands, outdoor enthusiasts, historophiles, and art lovers alike. When planning your next stay, these are the places to visit that you won’t want to miss!

Salamander Resort & Spa

If you’re looking for a place to hang your hat, Salamander Resort & Spa should be your first choice. This relaxing retreat nuzzled in 340 acres just outside of Middleburg, Virginia, has garnered a reputation as a Forbes Five-Star resort and a top destination for equestrians and epicureans alike. With plenty of outdoor space, guests can enjoy indoor and outdoor pools, tennis courts, a putting green, a full equestrian center, and inspire friendly competition through lawn games like corn hole and life-sized chess. Not to mention a 23,000-square-foot luxury spa and premier dining options like Harrimans Virginia Piedmont Grill make Salamander Resort & Spa the perfect place to foster your own tranquility and imbibe.

Catoctin Creek

Located in Purcellville, Virginia, Catoctin Creek is the first legal distillery in Loudoun County since before Prohibition and we’re continually picking up awards, having recently made Maxim’s list of The Best New American Rye Whiskeys of 2021

Visitors can gain an education in whiskey and learn how it’s made from scratch by joining one of our tours that occur every hour on the hour. Or you can choose to taste a flight of signature spirits, whiskey, brandy, and cocktails for an experience that defines what it means to be a Virginia distillery.

Our internationally acclaimed spirits come from locally sourced ingredients in Purcellville since 2009. Produced from traditional production methods, our flagship whiskey, Roundstone Rye, is the perfect drink to start off your tasting.

Harper’s Ferry Adventure Center

A paradise for the modern explorer and families alike, Harper’s Ferry Adventure Center is located in Purcellville, Virginia, and it offers a mix of exciting outdoor activities like whitewater rafting, tubing, ziplining, a ropes course, camping and so much more. Enjoy a lazy day on the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers or fuel your adrenaline by taking part in one of their many adventures. There’s something for everyone at Harper’s Ferry Adventure Center.

Leesburg Art & Cultural District

For over 250 years, Leesburg has been the cultural hub of Loudoun County. With tons of places to visit, you’ll have the option to tour an eclectic selection of galleries and small studios, enjoy public art displays, shop in a variety of niche boutiques, and dine in some of Loudoun’s finest restaurants. After a long day, settle into the evening by catching a show at the Tally Ho Theatre, where you’ll enjoy live music in a venue that was originally opened as Leesburg’s first movie house.

Morven Park

The former home of Virginia Governor Westmoreland Davis and his wife Marguerite, Morven Park is now operated by the Westmoreland Davis Memorial Foundation. Guests have a variety of options when visiting the grounds in Leesburg, from touring the mansion and its three museums, watching equestrian events, attending educational and recreational programs, to observing the breathtaking scenery of surrounding Loudoun County

Lightfoot Restaurant

Housed in the building that served as the People’s National Bank for a half-century, Lightfoot Restaurant opened in 1999, and it remains one of Leesburg’s staple eateries. Known for it’s comfortable atmosphere and casual refinement, Lightfoot is a reminder of a different time with an interior decorum of bank vault doors, large parisian posters adorning the walls, and a marble staircase that leads to a mezzanine piano bar. 

Chef Ingrid Gustavson serves seasonal American cuisine, boasting southern and ethnic accents like Fried Green Tomatoes, Blue Ridge Spinach Salad, and their renowned “Atomic” Crab Cake. When stopping in Loudoun, be sure to book a reservation at Lightfoot Restaurant or walk in for an impromptu dining experience that will transport you back to a different era.

Notaviva Farm Brewery & Winery

Notaviva Farm Brewery & Winery isn’t your typical tasting experience. It’s a combination room for drinkers and oenophiles alike. With each of their beverages paired alongside a musical genre or lyrical inspiration, Notaviva provides all of its guests with a feeling that stirs the soul. Located on the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge mountains in Hillsboro, Virginia, visitors can experience a wide selection of small batch hand-crafted beverages, encompassing beer, wine, ciders, and hard seltzers.

Planning Your Staycation?

Looking for your next travel destination? Discover Virginia through Loudoun County. Whether engulfing yourself in the artistic world of Leesburg, finding tranquility at Salamander Resort & Spa, or sipping high quality whisky at Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, there’s something for everyone in Loudoun.

What Alcohol Is Virginia Known For?

The Birthplace of American Spirits

The scene for Virginia alcohol is home to a vast landscape of distilleries, wineries, and breweries where drinkers of all tastes can enjoy themselves, but it’s history is one that’s tied to whiskey, going back as early as 1620 when an early colonist named George Thorpe arrived in Jamestown, Virginia. 

After some time there, Thorpe settled on a trading agreement with the indigenous people of the area, and began using corn for his mash bill while trying to distill spirits, which historians now believe is the first batch of whiskey made in America.

Whiskey production slowly grew across the Appalachian area throughout the 1700s due to the presence of Scottish and Irish immigrants, and their experience for distilling unaged whiskey. In 1797, George Washington began operating his own distillery, making rye whiskey from his Mount Vernon estate. And by 1810, US census records show there were more than 3,600 distilleries functioning across Virginia. 

Whiskey’s boom in popularity would continue through the 1800s until skidding to a fast halt during the Civil War, when many distilleries were destroyed. Then Prohibition would provide a follow up punch that just about dismantled the industry. It would be a difficult rebuild for Virginia whiskey in the years following, but over time the industry has returned, leading to some of the finest American whiskeys around today.

The Virginia Whiskey Scene Today

While the Virginia of today is a blossoming space for spirits brands of all paths, and imbibers can explore a range of wineries and breweries that are sure to please the palate, distilleries still reign supreme, producing some of Appalachia’s finest bourbon and rye whiskey. Suffice to say, locals quickly become experienced drinkers of their own accord, and whiskey lovers can find a different, yet altogether pleasant experience each time they decide to drink.

Virginia rye whiskey is renowned for a flavor profile that differs from rye whiskey made elsewhere in the United States due to the traditional Scottish, Irish methods they use to distill the spirits. Tasting notes provide slightly less bite of peppercorn than most American rye whiskeys, as well as a more rounded finish with nuances of oak. If you were to try a rye from a state other than Virginia, you may discover traces of smoke on the nose, a peppery palate, and a spicy finish. Rye whiskey is an excellent choice for the connoisseur looking to experience the whiskey straight up. Although, you can further enhance this spirit with a classic cocktail like the Old Fashioned or Manhattan.

You’ll also discover some fine bourbons throughout Virginia distilleries. Providing drinkers with a different flavor spectrum than rye, bourbon has tasting notes that provide a perceived sweetness. Aromatics such as vanilla, caramel, nutmeg, cocoa, apple, and nuts linger on the nose giving warmth and a depth of flavor, while its finish is typically much smoother than rye. Bourbon is another one of those spirits that can take the spotlight on its own and be enjoyed neat, but it’s also great as a Sazerac or Mint Julep if you’re looking for a cocktail that stands out.

The Future of Virginia Alcohol

While Bourbon has been at the center of national popularity, and been a huge part of the comeback for Virginia whiskey, it won’t have to bear the burden of being the most popular spirit in the state for long. Rye whiskey is quickly becoming a renowned export with spirits like Catoctin Creek’s Roundstone Rye® 80 Proof. Due to its rounder finish and unique complexities in flavor, Virginia rye whiskey is a unique step up for anyone looking to expand their palate. 

Virginia has become an innovative space for all types of spirits. Due to it’s healthy variety of competition, creativity, and booze, we expect it to continue to grow into a place where people of all walks can drink together. Start your journey into Virginia whiskey today. View our specially crafted selection of spirits online.

How to Drink Virginia Rye Whiskey

It’s no secret that many drinkers' first run-in with rye whiskey is at a party or a dive bar, often presented in the form of a shot that’s chased with whatever soda is nearby. And as such, they probably weren’t even aware that they were drinking rye. Most people hear whiskey as a catchall term and view it as a quick path to getting a buzz, but if you’re looking to enjoy it, we’re here to inform you that’s just not the way.

For those that have learned the boozer’s approach to drinking whiskey, you have to first unlearn what you know. Rye whiskey is a drink that’s meant for sipping. It’s meant for those who have an attention to detail. Good knowledge on how to drink whiskey could help you elevate your next meal, get the conversation flowing, or simply provide you with a cocktail that you enjoy. So grab a glass and a bottle. You’re going to need them to learn the fundamentals behind how to drink whiskey.

How to Order Rye Whiskey

When it comes to immersing yourself in the world of rye whiskey, you’ll find that every bottle has its own story, flavors, and experience. However, Virginia rye whiskey is a style that’s entirely unique, distinguished with hints of oak on the nose, tamed bites of peppercorn, and a kiss of sweetness that envelops your senses as you swish it across your palate. 

 

Ask the Bartender

There are many ways to drink whiskey, but when you first walk up to the bar, it shouldn’t be to immediately ask for a drink. Greet the bartender and ask them about their selection of rye. If you have a flavor preference or a favorite pour, share that knowledge with the bartender. They may have exactly what you’re looking for or they may be able to make a recommendation. Visiting a bar is always a good opportunity to broaden your palate by trying new rye whiskey cocktails or brands you’ve yet to sample.

Choose a Straight Rye

Deciding which spirit to go with can also be a choice between regular rye and straight rye whiskey, a type of whiskey that meets all of the requirements of regular rye with further aging involved in the distillation process. Straight rye whiskey must be aged at least 2 years, but if it’s aged less than 4 years the bottle must carry an age statement. It also includes no added food colorings, flavorings, or additional spirits. In short, straight rye is a purer, more mature sipping experience for the whiskey enthusiast.

Neat

As genuine of a whiskey sipping experience as you can get, ordering your whiskey neat means a pour at room temperature. You’ll taste the full warmth, aroma, and flavor of your whiskey while sipping it neat. Some whiskey purists also believe that adding a drop or two of water after an initial nosing and tasting can help enhance the flavor profile of your rye whiskey by opening it up, and science actually backs this claim! Researchers found a compound known as guaiacol that’s linked to the smoky taste of whiskey. When diluted with water, it was found to be more present at the surface of the spirit, contributing to a better smell and taste. However, with less water present, guaiacol was found deeper in the body of the whiskey (The Guardian).

On the Rocks

A straight 2 oz pour of whiskey over ice, typically in the shape of one large cube. Drinkers may find this one of the best ways to drink whiskey because it allows the pure flavors and aromas to open up as the ice melts, while simultaneously diluting the burn. 

With a Twist

Ask for your whiskey with a twist if you want it garnished with a strip of citrus peel on the rim, and add a nice aromatic to your sip.

Take a Shot

We’ll admit, this is our least favorite way to enjoy a rye whiskey because it doesn’t allow you to savor the drink. It’s all about chucking it back as fast as possible and getting your buzz on. The time and place for a shot is usually in a party-like atmosphere, but for the imbiber looking to settle down and enjoy themselves, we highly recommend you avoid shooting back your rye.

Chaser or Back

A chaser typically is what often follows a shot, as the burn following a quick gulp of rye whiskey is often unpleasant. However, whiskey isn’t meant for shooting, so if you’re going to do it you might as well prepare. One of our favorite chasers is a pickle back to quickly neutralize the spice bomb you just swallowed.

Ask for a Dram

A dram of whiskey refers to the traditional Scottish glass of whiskey, 1/8th a fluid ounce. While it’s a very small volume of whiskey, it dates back to when the spirit was a luxury. 

Today, drinkers commonly receive a standard pour of 1 ounce, and we believe it’s the perfect amount for tasting a wide variety in one sitting.

How to Drink Whiskey

There are many ways to drink whiskey, but you may find your method of imbibing changes depending on a range of factors like occasion, location, and your particular taste that day.

Choosing Glassware

If you’re someone who enjoys drinking at home, growing your collection of glassware can go a long way in improving your overall experience. However, choosing a glass can drastically depend on what you’re pouring such as rye whiskey neat, on the rocks, or as a cocktail. For starters, we recommend every collection have a glencairn whiskey glass, rocks glass, and a highball glass to go with each of the aforementioned drinks.

Nosing the Whiskey

Say you order your whiskey neat or on the rocks. If you’re not sure how to drink rye whiskey, you may skip this step altogether and go straight for an initial sip. But before you do, swirl the whiskey around your glass to release the aromas then gently bring it to your nose. Lightly inhale and take note of the smells that linger. 

Sip & Chew

Take a small sip of whiskey and roll it around your mouth. Allow it to coat your tongue and the inside of your cheeks. As you give your palate a moment to acclimate to the taste of rye whiskey, notice the flavors and mouthfeel that arise on different areas of your tongue. For example, our Roundstone Rye has notes of caramel, butter toffee, fruit and nuts, giving off a bright woody taste in every sip.

Noticing the Finish

After you swallow, notice the sensation that lingers on your tongue until it fades away. Pay attention to the changes it undergoes and how long it lasts. A drink with a smooth finish may “go down easy.” However, you may also find your spirit of choice leaves you with cottonmouth, and that’s often associated with a drier finish.

Know Your Classic Rye Whiskey Cocktails

When visiting the bar or crafting a cocktail in the comfort of your home, having a few classic rye whiskey cocktails in your repertoire will serve to greatly impress and make the occasion that much more pleasant. Every experienced whiskey lover should at least know how to make a Rye Old Fashioned, a Manhattan, and a Sazerac for easy libations that are quick to satisfy.

Drink for the Occasion

Virginia rye whiskey can be excellent for sipping, but it can also be your spirit of choice for a range of delicious cocktails. At Catoctin Creek, we recommend letting the occasion guide your choice. Puffing on a cigar? We recommend ordering your glass of rye whiskey on the rocks. What if you’re at a soureé? Maybe a cocktail is more your speed. Read our seasonal guide to drinking rye whiskey to discover a great list of cocktails to choose based on the time of year.

Grow Your Home Collection of Virginia Whiskey

There’s no better way to become an experienced drinker than by growing your own collection of whiskey at home. Virginia rye whiskey provides a unique tasting experience that starts with a bottle. For imbibers that are new to the scene of rye whiskey, we recommend starting off with a bottle like the Roundstone Rye, but experienced whiskey connoisseurs may find our Cask Proof bottle to be an indulgence worthy of your glass. Find more great Virginia whiskeys to stock your shelves by reading our blog, “The Best Whiskeys Available in Virginia.”

The Best Whiskeys Available in Virginia

Whiskey is a spirit tied to drinking culture. For the casual drinker, it may be paired alongside a ribeye, sipped in the comfort of a cocktail lounge, or as a nightcap after an eventful evening. With distilleries across the United States, whiskey lovers can explore a variety of bottles from just about any state. But when it comes to authentic American whiskey, Virginia is one of the original whiskey states you must try a bottle from.

Distilling processes, recipes, and regional differences can all impart their own unique flavors on a bottle of whiskey. If you're selecting bottles for your liquor cabinet at home, you’ll want a variety that allows you to explore the range of flavors whiskey has to offer. Luckily, you can find an amazing selection of bottles from some of the finest distilleries in Virginia. Here’s our list of the best whiskeys you can get!

Catoctin Creek Roundstone® Rye 80 Proof

A Virginia distillery devoted to rye, Catoctin Creek’s most popular whiskey is a spirit that boasts the flavors typical of a rye whiskey. Sourced locally from 100% rye grain and produced in Purcellville, Virginia, the Catoctin Creek rye is smooth, woody, and accompanied with a full-bodied flavor of fruits and nuts. Tasters can distinguish rich notes of caramel, butter toffee, and lemon as they pour their way through a bottle. One of the best rye whiskeys available from the state, you’ll find it best enjoyed served up or crafted as an Old Fashioned.

John J. Bowman Single Barrel Bourbon

The signature Virginia Straight Bourbon Whiskey of A. Smith Bowman Distillery. A pour of this bottle may bring a mixture of berries, vanilla, and spice to the palate. Coupled with a nice burn, this is a Virginia whiskey that should be on every connoisseurs list.

Virginia Lightning Apple Pie

Belmont Farm Distillery is one of those Virginia whiskey brands that’s producing a truly unique selection for the region. From their line of moonshines, Virginia Lightning Apple Pie gives a nod to the American South with a bottle of apple pie moonshine made with real apple juice. Bottled at 70 proof, this pour is a sweeter drink that’s perfect as a cocktail before dinner, a mixer, or to keep in hand throughout the bonfire season.

Courage & Conviction American Single Malt Whisky

Courage & Conviction is the crown jewel of Virginia Distillery Co. Made with 100% malted barley and aged for a minimum of three years in Bourbon, Sherry, and Cuvée Casks, this pour is a delight any time of the year. Caramel and butterscotch arise to the nose, while drinkers experience raspberry, cocoa, spice, and vanilla tones across the palate followed by a creamy finish. Courage & Conviction may be from one of the newer whiskey brands in the state, but it has all the flavor of a Virginia whiskey crafted through time-honored traditions and expertise, and it easily takes on the finest single malts currently available in the market.

Copper Fox Original American Single Malt

Copper Fox Distillery produces their signature whiskey from 100% hand malted Virginia barley, dried with apple wood and cherry wood smoke. Imbibers who crack open a bottle can expect aromas of suede, leather, and olive tapenade. This Virginia whiskey has a pleasant taste of dried fruitiness rounded off with a finish that’s spicy, smoky, and decadently sweet like a root beer float.

Ragged Branch Wheated Bourbon Whiskey

A spirit that’s a delectable experience for those seeking a Virginia whiskey, Ragged Branch Distillery’s Wheated Bourbon is one that provides the same warmth and sweetness of a Southern granny. Drinkers will open up to comfortable scents of oak on the nose, before indulging in a swig of vanilla, caramel, and honey flavors. A smooth and sweet finish makes this whiskey an excellent choice for those seeking a cocktail to end their night.

Bare Knuckle American Whiskey

KO Distilling’s own spin on moonshine has a smoothness and complexity that most others lack. This clear whiskey, aged for one day, sets itself apart from most other corn whiskeys with a blend of wheat, rye, and malted barley. With all the flavor from the grains, whiskey lovers will be greeted with sweet notes of wheat, cherry, and pastry dough, followed with a peppery finish from the rye. While this spirit is perfectly fine served up, it really shines (pun intended) in a variety of craft cocktails like a Whiskey Smash or an Irish Mule.

Triple Deuce Wheat Whiskey

Blue Sky Distillery’s 90 proof whiskey is distilled from 100% wheat and aged in American Oak for a classic taste that whiskey enthusiasts will adore. Triple Deuce’s flavor is sweet,  smooth, and velvety, perfect for sipping neat, on the rocks, or as a Boulevardier. As a Virginia distillery in the coastal community of Smithfield, guests can grab a bottle on site after touring Blue Sky or visiting their tasting room.

Blackback Straight Bourbon Whiskey

Made by Silverback Distillery, this bourbon whiskey is its most sought after product and for good reason. You can expect scents of banana bread on the nose that transcend into a sweet nuttiness with traces of oak. Most notably, a butterscotch finish leaves a pleasant mouthfeel after you’re done. Silverback isn’t only a Virginia whiskey brand led by a mother-daughter duo, but it’s new arrival on the scene has been promising for local whiskey drinkers looking to imbibe.

Finding the Best Virginia Whiskey for You

While all of these bottles are great options to start off any aficionado’s journey through Virginia whiskey, finding the perfect blend is a quest that’s best left for your individual palate. When selecting your next purchase, make a few considerations first. Are you more likely to make a craft cocktail at home or enjoy your whiskey neat? What flavor profiles do you enjoy most? Who will you be drinking with? Finding the perfect bottle for your collection isn’t just about the best tasting whiskey, it’s about the whiskey that best suits you.

A Seasonal Guide: How to Drink Rye Whiskey Anytime of the Year

Rye whiskey is a spirit often acclaimed for its spicy, peppery flavor profile, boasting a complex finish with subtle notes of oak, smoke, fruit, or nuts, depending on the distillery. 

Known as a liquor that found its early roots before Prohibition, rye whiskey has been around long enough to have a storied history of cocktails. Most casual drinkers recognize rye as a spirit best enjoyed in the Autumn or Winter, but we’ve compiled a drinking guide for the patron that wishes to expand their palate throughout the year. Switch up your mixology with the seasons, and explore the world of rye whiskey cocktails.

Summer Cocktails To Beat the Heat

When you can’t escape the heat, try one of these rye whiskey cocktails to help you cool off and relax. Our list of summer cocktails includes a host of cocktails with tasting notes that are light, bright, and citrusy.

Brown Derby

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • Honey syrup
  • A grapefruit twist for garnishing

Delight in a cocktail that creates a complex flavor profile from simple ingredients. The perfect balance of sweet, tart, and slightly bitter, a Brown Derby is a drink that will keep you refreshed throughout the Summer months.

Ward 8

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Lemon juice
  • Orange juice
  • Grenadine
  • An orange twist or a cocktail cherry for garnishing

Citrus flavors combine in a cocktail that blossoms with tang. A Ward 8 is typically served up and it’s a great sip for sweltering days. Refresh with a Ward 8 while enjoying a day of baseball or make it your brunch companion.

Whiskey Smash

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Simple syrup
  • Lemon wedges
  • Mint leaves
  • A sprig of mint for garnishing 

The Whiskey Smash is refreshingly tart. Notes of citrus and mint leave a cooling sensation lingering on the palate, perfect for enjoying on a patio with good company as the sun goes down.

Blood & Sand

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Sweet vermouth
  • Cherry heering liqueur
  • Freshly squeezed blood orange juice
  • Garnish with an orange peel

This cocktail’s bitter, saccharine flavor profile will wash over you like the tide. One of the dryer rye cocktails on the summer list, the Blood & Sand’s crisp nature is hoisted by a fruity finish. Take a sip and dig your toes in the sand while imbibing at the beach.

Rye Whiskey Drinks for Autumn

As it starts to cool down and the leaves begin to change, so should your choices at the bar. Trust us, some things just taste better at certain times of the year. This selection of fall cocktails provides a variety of flavor profiles that explore all of the nuances of autumn. 

Old Fashioned

Basic Ingredients

  • Sugar
  • Angostura bitters
  • Rye whiskey
  • Garnish with an orange peel

The classic you know and love, the Old Fashioned’s relevance today remains a testament to its taste. A list of simple ingredients combine to make a drink that is aromatic, spicy, and subtly sweet. One of those fall cocktails that can be complementary to any occasion, we recommend you try it alongside an entrée like duck confit.

Stone Fence

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Angostura bitters
  • Apple cider
  • A sprig of mint for garnishing

The sweetness in this drink is leveled out with a tasty dose of spice that’s perfect for a fall afternoon or Thanksgiving cocktail. Uncover notes of vanilla, caramel, and spice in a concoction that’s perfect for enjoying amongst company.

Old Pal

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Campari
  • Dry vermouth
  • A lemon twist for garnishing

An Old Pal sits on the bitter side with the introduction of campari, complemented by lighter notes of dry vermouth and lemon. As a cocktail that allows the liquor to be the focal point, drinkers will discover a tasting experience elevated through mixology.

Trinidad Sour

Basic Ingredients

  • Angostura bitters
  • Rye whiskey
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Orgeat
  • A lemon twist for garnishing

A warming citrus cocktail with autumnal notes that will provide you with a refreshingly sharp experience while the leaves fall. Sip a Trinidad Sour ahead of the fire or during happy hour for a combination of nutty, citrus flavors that will help you seamlessly transition to wintertime.

Rye Cocktails for Winter

When the snow starts to fall, tinsel is hung, and chestnuts begin roasting, our favorite winter cocktails will be there to help you imbibe throughout the holiday season. Stoke your celebrations with rye cocktails that coincide with the mood or enjoy life at a slower pace, baking cookies and imbibing in the warmth of a wood-burning fire.

Black Manhattan

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Averna amaro
  • Angostura bitters
  • Orange bitters
  • Garnish with a brandied cherry

A twist on the classic Manhattan, the Black Manhattan replaces sweet vermouth with Averna amaro, resulting in a heavier rendition accented by bitter, herbal notes. A Black Manhattan is one of the winter cocktails best enjoyed during the evening under the guise of gentle conversation and hors d'oeuvres

Boulevardier 

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Campari
  • Sweet vermouth
  • An orange twist for garnishing 

As the temperature starts to change and the evenings become more crisp, the Boulevardier is the perfect cocktail to provide you with an extra layer of warmth. A bitter confection with a touch of booziness, the Boulevardier provides a rich experience that melts away on the palate.

Toronto

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Fernet-Branca
  • Simple syrup
  • Angostura bitters
  • An orange twist for garnishing

A Canadian interpretation of the Manhattan, replacing the traditional sweet vermouth with Fernet-Branca. Patrons can expect this mix to fall in the line of rye whiskey drinks that are dry, rich, and mildly bitter. You might not expect it, but this glass pairs perfectly with a scoop of vanilla ice cream as the night winds down. 

Vieux Carré

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Cognac
  • Sweet vermouth
  • Benedictine liqueur
  • Aromatic bitters
  • Garnish with a maraschino cherry or twist of lemon

Amongst the ranks of rye cocktails originating in New Orleans, Vieux Carré, pronounced voo-ka-ray, boasts a flavor that’s boozy, bittersweet, and easy. The casual drinker will delight in a strong spice accompanied by fruity, herbal notes. Rounded off with a honey-like sweetness, this drink is a great accompaniment for your New Year’s Eve celebration.

The Best Whiskey Cocktails for Spring

As the flowers bloom and groundhogs surface, you’ll want to adapt your cocktail preferences to compliment the weather and the occasion. These spring cocktails provide drinkers with options that are sure to brighten the mood and impress. 

Whiskey Sour

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Simple syrup
  • Egg white (optional)
  • Garnish with Angostura bitters

A classic cocktail that’s as refreshing as it is delicious, the Whiskey Sour is delicately tart with a sweetness that cuts through it in a wonderful way. Combined with a silky texture that makes it go down easy, this drink should be on your list of spring cocktails best enjoyed while day drinking.

Scofflaw

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Dry vermouth
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Grenadine
  • Orange bitters
  • Garnish with an orange twist 

A cocktail with Parisian origins, the Scofflaw is freshly acidic, sweet, and citrusy. You’ll find this is one of those rye whiskey cocktails that eases you into a conversation, best for enjoying over an outdoor lunch date.

Sazerac 

Basic Ingredients

  • Absinthe to rinse your glass
  • A sugar cube
  • Peychaud’s bitters
  • Angostura bitters
  • Rye whiskey
  • Cognac
  • Garnish with a lemon peel

The Sazerac is amongst a list of rye whiskey cocktails with beginnings in New Orleans. Licorice flavors of absinthe elevate the combination of rye and cognac, creating a flavor that’s smooth, spicy, and magically dark.

Manhattan

Basic Ingredients

  • Rye whiskey
  • Sweet vermouth
  • Angostura bitters
  • Orange bitters
  • Garnish with a brandied cherry

One of the most renowned rye whiskey drinks amongst casual drinkers, the Manhattan is a liquor-forward spirit that’s enhanced by its complimentary ingredients. Expect a strong contrast between sweet and spicy notes, with subtle herbal, citrus overtones that round out the flavor. A great option for the person looking to simply appreciate a drink, or for pairing with a varied menu of items like chicken & waffles, rack of lamb, or chocolate pie!

Let Your Rye Cocktails Change with the Season

Everyone has their favorite cocktail, but we encourage you to explore all the variations in the world of rye whiskey drinks. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by what you find. With a cocktail for every occasion, your expertise for drinking won’t just be admired by confidants, it will be a valuable asset to any occasion with a selection of spirits on hand.

The History of Virginia Rye

by Scott Harris

When colonists came to America, the first permanent British settlement was Jamestown, Virginia in 1607. (Over 400 years ago!) Immediately, during that time, colonists started making whisky from local grain, most famously (but not exclusively) by George Thorpe.

The style of distillation at this time was necessarily small scale... small home-sized pot stills using local grain and family recipes. Today, we would call this "craft" but back then, it was just one of the necessary chores of the family homestead or farm. [Ref: Every Home a Distillery]

The whisky of that time, predominantly made from rye–the local grain–was influenced by region, terroir and local practices. [Ref: The Practical Distiller (1804) by Samuel McHarry] As a towns- person, you could take your horse to a local farm and buy jars of whisky. This was common across the state on the small farm and homestead in the 1700s. That is why we refer to Virginia as the birthplace of American whiskey (well before the dawn of bourbon). In fact, when people started distilling corn mash into bourbon in what is today Kentucky, that land was part of Virginia! Kentucky didn't become a state until 1792. So, we are cheeky to say it, but Virginia is also the birthplace of BOURBON! Elijah Craig was born and raised in Virginia.

Before the revolutionary war, the most common spirit consumed in the colonies was rum. This was due to the high levels of trade between Great Britain, the Caribbean, and the colonies. Sadly, enslaved African people were part of this trade, along with rum, and were crucial to its production.

Everyone in the colonies drank rum, and lots of it. Men drank it; women drank it; children drank it. But it was more than just a drink. Rum was also used for medicines, tinctures, bitters, solvent, mouthwash and many other uses.

When the colonies rebelled against Great Britain and won the revolution, King George III was pissed. He cut off his supply of sugar and rum from the Caribbean. No more rum. This led to a huge, and industrial-sized growth in the next ten years of rye whiskey production. In places like Maryland and Pennsylvania, rye whiskey became big factory productions, and rye became the dominant spirit of the mid-Atlantic region, including Virginia.

After the revolution, General George Washington, now retired from the presidency, established a distillery on his farm at Mount Vernon in Virginia, not far from Washington DC. Washington had been, ironically, responsible for quelling the whisky rebellion in western Pennsylvania, a rebellion caused by the new national government establishing a new liquor excise tax to pay for the debt caused by the revolutionary war. The rebellion was quelled, but Washington now had the distilling bug in his blood. He would found the largest commercial distillery during his lifetime, producing predominantly rye whisky.

As the country passed into the 1800's, the cocktail was invented (1804 is the first documented recipe for a "whisky cocktail", later called the "old fashioned whisky cocktail" and later still, called simply the "old fashioned."). The 1800's saw a huge boom in cocktails and whisky consumption, dominated mostly by the professional bartenders in New York City – and again, the key whiskey ingredient in those Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, etc. was rye whiskey, not bourbon. Rye was king on the east coast. If you were in the “frontier” (western states like Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri), bourbon was likely your whiskey of choice. If you were in New Orleans, you probably enjoyed mostly cognac. [Ref: Imbibe! by David Wondrich] This regional division in spirits remained the case until Prohibition.

And then Prohibition wiped it all out. 1920-1933. Thirteen years. This is a long time for any industry to survive a total and complete ban on its existence. Some distillers survived by producing prescription whiskey, but many closed forever. For example, before Prohibition, there were over 30 large factory distilleries in Pennsylvania alone. After Prohibition, there were none. And none until the first ones re- established in the early 2000s! 67+ years of nothing.

Back to Virginia – So it is this love of rye whisky, the history, the terroir, the spirit, that we celebrate with our Catoctin Creek rye whisky. What does it mean to be The Virginia Rye Whisky? It means we start in Virginia – our home – with local grain, always made from 100% rye, that is mashed and fermented on site, and – this is absolutely essential – distilled in copper pot stills, and then aged in Virginia and other white oak barrels, soaking up the bucolic Virginia climate while it develops flavor from the barrel. The final ingredient, natural Virginia spring water, is used to proof the whisky before bottling, adding another key piece of terroir (limestone and minerals in the water impart flavor) into the spirit. The result is a rye whisky that is authentically made using tradition and the finest agriculture that Virginia offers.

 

Catoctin Creek – The Virginia Rye Whisky™

 

Catoctin Creek Monogram

 

© Copyright 2021, Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

The strangest thing happened one day...

Scott & Becky at the potstillWhat would you do if you walked into your home one day, and everything you own had turned purple?

Well, this happened to us.  But let me start at the beginning...

Way back in 2010, when we were first starting the distillery, we had a single copper potstill.  One particular day, we were distilling pear wine into brandy.  As the day went, it was rather unremarkable.  The wine was boiled, the cuts made, and the day's bounty of brandy was collected and readied for the barrel.  As usual, at the end of the day, we dumped the spent wine and washed down the still with the hose.  With the potstill still steaming, we turned off the lights, locked the doors, set the alarm, and went home.

Barney the purple stillThe next morning, as we arrived early to work, we entered the distillery and turned on the lights. Our beloved (and very expensive!) potstill had turned purple!  And not just a hint of lavender or pastel purple, but a bright shining amethyst purple.  I'm talking King Henry VIII royal robe purple!  It was beautiful!  But....  what on earth?!

I immediately started combing the Internet looking for answers, and finally stumbled upon a site where a Scottish chemist had the answer.  Apparently, pear wine has trace amounts of a chemical called cyanuric acid.  This acid, in contact with copper under conditions of low pH (which wine definitely is), causes copper to turn bright purple!  Lo and behold, we had our answer!  

We thought it was cool to have a purple potstill, but sadly, over the next few days, it tarnished and dulled to resemble the color of gray concrete, not exactly beautiful.  So we polished it only to see the purple return.  Eventually, its patina moved into the more typical copper brown of an old penny.  But you can still see traces of cyan and magenta in the sheen if you look at it right.  And the funny thing is, to this day, every time we polish the still (which we do rarely these days), that purple returns bright and shiny.

So we have a potstill that insists on being purple, and hence we named him... Barney.

Sláinte and Cheers!

Scott short signature

Happy March - Old Tom Gin and Other News & Events

Old Tom Gin 

Happy March!  Old Tom Gin releases this month!!

On Monday, March 22nd, at 8am, we will release our next offering of the Watershed Gin barrel rested in pear brandy barrels, our "Old Tom" style gin. This one is perfect for those classic era cocktails like the Martinez, Ramos Gin Fizz, and the French 75. This is a once a year release. This will go for sale in our ONLINE STORE, so no waiting in line! Bottles are $50.89. More details about the product are in the original press release from 2015, below.

Rye Society™ members may contact us at 540-751-3294 to obtain their bottles anytime before the release date.

And a little bit about GWAR...

And keep an eye out.  GWAR is still coming.   We just don't have a firm date yet!  We'll let you know when we do, and, yes, VIP members will be able to pre-order once we have it set up.

 

Distilling Equipment

Expanding our Production - a Tripling of Functional Capacity!

In our efforts to keep up with demand, we are midway through a $1 million dollar production plan expansion! We've been so grateful that the world is responding so well to our beautiful Virginia rye whisky, that we need to be able to make more!  For those of you who are interested in this stuff, here's what we have planned and is already underway:

  • Replacing our 100 year old floors with new industrial concrete floors - DONE!
  • Replacing our 300 gallon electric mash tank with a new 530 gallon steam-powered mash tank! - UNDER CONSTRUCTION
  • Adding a new grain handling system, which includes an auger to fill the mash tank. - UNDER CONSTRUCTION
  • Replacing our beloved Barney, our 100 gallon electric pot still with a new 530 gallon steam-powered pot still.  (We'll be keeping Ron, our 300 gallon pot still, shown on the left above.) - UNDER CONSTRUCTION
  • Replacing our six 300 gallon fermenters with six new 530 gallon jacketed fermenters. - UNDER CONSTRUCTION
  • Adding a new "stillage" tank, which collects the spent mash for the farmers. - UNDER CONSTRUCTION
  • Adding a new massive 40T glycol system, which will greatly reduce our water usage! - ORDERED

If you know anybody who is looking to buy really good quality used equipment, please contact us!  It will be sad to get rid of the old equipment that we started with, but we simply don't have room to keep it all. I'm sure they'll go to a good home and make some new distillers very happy.

Also, we're taking suggestions for names for the new equipment!

 

Washington Post Covers Art of the Cocktail Zoom Classes

Emma Evans for the Washington PostWe were elated to see the Washington Post write a story on our Art of the Cocktail classes! More than just being an instructional drink-making class, Scott's purpose is more to build a sense of community and social gathering.  Fritz Hahn writes:

The collegial spirit is key: While Harris goes over the ins-and-outs of four cocktails each week, the classes, which include a lot of couples, have taken on a higher purpose. “I’ve been getting a lot of feedback like, ‘It’s so nice to have some little thing we can do on Friday night. It’s become like a date night for us,’” Harris says. “That was my hope. It’s almost like the classes are just sort of a framework for what ultimately turns into just drinking together and having a little bit of a social hour.”

You can read the full story, here.  Register for the class and read more, here.

Photo credit: Emma Evans for the Washington Post, and used with permission.

 

Catoctin Creek Apple Brandy featured in the New York Times

Apple Brandy from Catoctin CreekJulia Moskin does a pretty darn comprehensive review on the state of applejack (aka apple brandy) in the New York Times.  Check it out:

As most small-scale applejack makers do, Catoctin Creek starts the process not with fresh apples but with hard cider, which it procures from Blue Bee Cider company, in Richmond, Va., in the kind of collaboration often found among craft producers. The Harrises send some of the finished brandy back to Blue Bee, where it is mixed with the cidery’s own fortified apple wine and ginger eau de vie into a spicy dessert cider called Firecracker.

This year’s batch is made from Winesap, Pippin, Arkansas Black and other heritage apple breeds that are good for brandy, she said, because they have almost no sweetness, but share a strong, concentrated apple taste that carries all the way through distillation. The kind of big, sweet apples that have been bred for eating, like Red and Golden Delicious, are far too sugary and watery. “You want a lot of flavor for the flesh that’s there,” she said.

You can read the full story, here.

 

Art of the Cocktail - New Season starts March 12!

As featured in the Washington Post

Catoctin Creek is pleased to present, our SEVENTH year of this six-part educational series on the art of the cocktail.

We must still hunker down, as this pandemic isn't over yet.  Thus, the classes will still be online via Zoom.  Each week, we will send out a shopping list of items for you to pick up, plus the course materials.  Then, every Friday night, get yourself comfortably placed behind your bar, with your computer on and ready to go, and we will enjoy the class interactively just as if we were together in person.

In this series, I will be focusing on various cocktails from books I'm enjoying.  These are not cocktail recipe books, per se, but actual books on either history or some other topic, which have a prodigious amount of cocktails inside.  Think of this season's class as a cocktail-infused book club.  If you want to get the books and review them beforehand, that's fine, but this is not required.  We'll mostly be making drinks and having fun, so don't sweat the details too much here!

But if you do get the books, please reach out and support your local independent bookstore if at all possible.  They're little guys, like us, and appreciate your business.  They'll also mail your books to you, so you don't have to travel far.  Here are a couple we recommend:

Here is the schedule for the series:

  • March 12Behind Bars, High Class Cocktails Inspired by Lowlife Gangsters by Shawn McManus, Vincent Pollard, Paul Sloman
  • March 19 - Give Me Liberty and Give Me a Drink! by C. Jarrett Dieterle
  • March 26Spirits, Sugar, Water, Bitters by Derek Brown with Robert Yule
  • April 2Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt, The Complete History of Presidential Drinking by Mark Will-Weber
  • April 9 - A Drinkable Feast, A Cocktail Companion to 1920s Paris by Philip Greene
  • April 16 - Shaking Up Prohibition in New Orleans, Authentic Vintage Cocktails from A to Z by Olive Leonhardt and Hilda Phelps Hammond 

Ingredients will be easy to obtain, and the lessons will be fun as ever.  This will be via Zoom, so I still expect lots of interaction and questions and good times.  It's a drinks class, after all!  As I mention in many of my classes, this class will be equal parts, cocktail how-to, education, and fun.

Tickets are ONLY $10 per person for the lessons, which leaves you room to purchase the ingredients.  You can purchase our spirits in our online store.

Book Now | Read More

GET IN ON THE FUN!

Zoom image of 30 people having fun in the cocktail class

 

 

Online Shop

Buy Your Spirits ONLINE for Delivery or Curbside Pickup

Virginia residents may buy your whisky, gin and brandy online!  The Virginia ABC now allows direct-to-consumer shipping!  We are now taking orders in our Online Shop.

       ORDER NOW  -  https://catoctincreekstore.com

If you are outside of Virginia, you may also order for online shipping, here.

You can also place curbside orders using the online shop, or simply call in your order at 540-751-3294.

 

 

 

Cocktail of the Month – Bad Moon Rising

Bad Moon Rising

2 oz Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Whisky
¾ oz Pomegranate Rosemary Syrup
1 oz Lemon Juice
3 oz Ginger Beer

Shake whisky, lemon juice and syrup with ice. Add crushed ice to glass. Fine strain cocktail into glass, top with ginger beer and fresh ice.

Recipe and photo courtesy A Bar Above, @abarabove on Twitter.

See this cocktail and hundreds more on our cocktails page.

 

WhiskyCast

Proudly supporting WhiskyCast

Catoctin Creek is proud to be one of the sponsors of WhiskyCast, and if you’re not familiar with Whisky’s longest-running podcast series, we encourage you to check it out. Each week, Mark Gillespie brings you the latest whisky news from all over the world, along with in-depth interviews, tasting notes, and much more. You can listen to WhiskyCast on most podcast apps, smart speakers, and at WhiskyCast.com.

 

 

In Closing...

As always, there are lots of fun and information on our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages, where you can stay up to date with the daily activities at the distillery. We are open every Tuesday through Sunday for tastings and bottle purchases, so stop by and see us sometime!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

Happy February - Rabble Rouser Release and Other News & Events

Rabble Rouser 

Happy February!  Rabble Rouser Releases this month!!

Greetings to all our Catoctin Creek fans out there.  We have some great things in store for you this February!

On Monday, February 8th at 8am, we will release the Rabble Rouser Bottled in Bond Rye Whisky in our ONLINE STORE. Due to better planning and growing reserves, we are happy to report that we have more available to sell! For some of you, this may be the first time you've had a chance to purchase this extremely rare whisky. We will have 50 cases of whisky to release in the Virginia market, double what we released last year. Do not queue up at the distillery, we are CLOSED that day. You can simply buy the whisky from the online store, then choose to have it delivered or come pick it up at your leisure. Bottles are $99 for Rabble Rouser at 750ml.

VIP members may call us at 540-751-3294 to obtain a bottle anytime before the release date.

And a little bit about GWAR...

And keep an eye out.  GWAR is still coming.   We just don't have a firm date yet!  We'll let you know when we do, and, yes, VIP members will be able to pre-order once we have it setup.

 

Scott & Becky named to the "Imbibe 75" for 2020

Imbibe 752020 was a difficult year; nobody will argue that point.  For us at Catoctin Creek, we had several restaurants return their barrel select rye whisky because they didn't know if they would be able to continue business in the face of the pandemic.  We turned this situation around and released our #InThisTogether rye whisky, the proceeds of which were given to local restaurant charities. As a result, Imbibe magazine named our founders, Becky and Scott Harris, to their Imbibe 75 list for the year.  We're very grateful for this honor.

Wayne Curtis writes:

The Harrises opted to give back to the hospitality industry.  They sold the new blend through their website and at the distillery.  They had 100 cases and sold out in two hours.  After recouping their expenses, Catoctin Creek paid out $12,000 to four groups supporting the hospitality industry, including the Restaurant Workers' Community Foundation and the USBG's Bartender Emergency Assistance Program.

Read the entire article here.

 

Four cocktails from Art of the Cocktail

Art of the Cocktail continues in February - Only TWO classes left!

Catoctin Creek is underway with our SEVENTH year of this six-part educational series on the art of the cocktail. We must still hunker down, as this pandemic isn't over yet. Thus, the classes are still online via Zoom. Each week, we send out a shopping list of items for you to pick up, plus the course materials. Then, every Friday night, get yourself comfortably placed behind your bar, with your computer on and ready to go, and we enjoy the class interactively just as if we were together in person.

This year, we're focusing on WACKY and WEIRD ingredients! Things you wouldn't normally make cocktails with, but can find around the pantry. So BUCKLE UP, baby! This is a lot of fun!

Here is the schedule of the series:

  • January 8 - Cocktails using jams and jellies (Must be jelly, 'cuz jam don't shake like that!)
  • January 15 - Cocktails using chili peppers (not the rock band)
  • January 22 - Cocktails using beans (yes, beans! The Musical Fruit!)
  • January 29 - Cocktails using salt (savory and not savory drinks!)
  • February 5 - Cocktails using vegetables (drink your vegetables! They're good for you!)
  • February 12 - Cocktails using store-bought candy (Don't tell my dentist!)

Ingredients will be easy to obtain, and the lessons will be fun as ever.  This will be via Zoom, so I still expect lots of interaction and questions and good times.  It's a drinks class, after all!  As I mention in many of my classes, this class will be equal parts, cocktail how-to, history, and fun.

Tickets are ONLY $10 per person for the lessons, which leaves you room to purchase the ingredients.  You can purchase our spirits in our online store.

Pictured above, four gorgeous cocktails from our "Salt" class, photograph by Mike Aron Visuals.

Book Now | Read More

 

Events in February Events in February Events in February

Other Events in February

  • Be sure to join us at Thacher & Rye in Frederick on February 3rd for our whisky dinner with Avalon (social distancing and COVID procedures in place).
  • Or join Scott for a virtual tasting of the Roundstone Rye product line at Calvert and Woodley.  Ask him anything and learn a lot about the whisky you love so much!  February 4th.
  • On February 10th, Tracie Franklin, the former global brand ambassador for Glenfiddich, will be performing a Catoctin Creek tasting for Women Who Whiskey with Words (W5).  She's a doll!  Don't miss this.

Find out more and sign up for these great events at our Events pagehttps://catoctincreek.com/events

 

 

Online Shop

Buy Your Spirits ONLINE for Delivery or Curbside Pickup

Virginia residents may buy your whisky, gin and brandy online!  The Virginia ABC now allows direct-to-consumer shipping!  We are now taking orders in our Online Shop.

       ORDER NOW  -  https://catoctincreekstore.com

If you are outside of Virginia, you may also order for online shipping, here.

You can also place curbside orders using the online shop, or simply call in your order at 540-751-3294.

 

 

 

Cocktail of the Month – Catoctin Cucumber Cooler

Catoctin Cucumber Cooler

This one is my personal favorite. I like to call it "Cool Hand Cuke". It came to us from John Shope, who started out as a bartender at the now closed Food Matters in Alexandria. Since then, John has become our Virginia Sales Manager, and is the third longest serving employee after Scott & Becky, the owners. It is a fantastically simple, yet wonderfully satisfying drink that brings memories of summer and refreshment.

1 1/2 oz Catoctin Creek Watershed Gin
1 oz Freshly juiced cucumber
3/4 oz Fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz house made cucumber syrup
1 pinch Rosemary salt

Cucumber Syrup: Boil equal parts water and sugar with half of a peeled and sliced cucumber. Remove from heat, strain while still warm, pressing against the cucumbers to extract more juice and color. Allow to cool then refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Rosemary Salt: Simply chop fresh rosemary with kosher salt until rosemary blends with salt. Add rosemary to taste.

Glass: Rocks Glass (Also fantastic served up in a martini glass)
Garnish: Thin Slice of Cucumber and Rosemary Salt
Method: Mix all ingredients with ice, shake and serve

Courtesy John Shope.

See this cocktail and hundreds more on our cocktails page.

 

WhiskyCast

Proudly supporting WhiskyCast

Catoctin Creek is proud to be one of the sponsors of WhiskyCast, and if you’re not familiar with Whisky’s longest-running podcast series, we encourage you to check it out. Each week, Mark Gillespie brings you the latest whisky news from all over the world, along with in-depth interviews, tasting notes, and much more. You can listen to WhiskyCast on most podcast apps, smart speakers, and at WhiskyCast.com.

 

 

In Closing...

As always, there are lots of fun and information on our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages, where you can stay up to date with the daily activities at the distillery. We are open every Tuesday through Sunday for tastings and bottle purchases, so stop by and see us sometime!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

Happy New Year from Catoctin Creek - January News

Portfolio Tasting 

Happy New Year!

We made it!  2021 is in the rear view mirror!  Thank goodness!  Here's hoping your 2021 will be better than last year, and we'll all stay healthy and warm.

 

A Brief History of Virginia Rye Whisky - by Scott Harris

Taking a little time to reflect on history this past few weeks.  We thought you might enjoy our perspective on rye whisky and why we do what we do.

When colonists came to America, the first permanent British settlement was Jamestown, Virginia in 1607.  (Over 400 years ago!)  Immediately, during that time, colonists started making whisky from local grain, most famously (but not exclusively) by George Thorpe.

The style of distillation at this time was necessarily small scale... small home-sized pot stills using local grain and family recipes.  Today, we would call this "craft" but back then, it was just one of the necessary chores of the family homestead or farm.  [Ref: Every Home a Distillery by Sarah Hand Meacham] 

Rye in a field at sunset. Image licensed from Getty Images.The whisky of that time, predominantly made from rye–the local grain–was influenced by region, terroir and local practices.  [Ref:  The Practical Distiller (1804) by Samuel McHarry]  As a towns-person, you could take your horse to a local farm and buy jars of whisky.  This was common across the state on the small farm and homestead in the 1700s.  That is why we refer to Virginia as the birthplace of American whiskey (well before the dawn of bourbon).  In fact, when people started distilling corn mash into bourbon in what is today Kentucky, that land was part of Virginia!  Kentucky didn't become a state until 1792.  So, it may be scandalous to say it, but Virginia is also the birthplace of bourbon!  (Elijah Craig was born and raised in Virginia.)

Before the revolutionary war, the most common spirit consumed in the colonies was rum.  This was due to the high levels of trade between Great Britain, the Caribbean, and the colonies.  Sadly, enslaved African people were part of this trade, along with rum, and were crucial to its production.

Everyone in the colonies drank rum, and lots of it. Men drank it; women drank it; children drank it. But it was more than just a drink. Rum was also used for medicines, tinctures, bitters, solvent, mouthwash and many other uses.

When the colonies rebelled against Great Britain and won the revolution, King George III was pissed. He cut off his supply of sugar and rum from the Caribbean.  No more rum. This led to a huge, and industrial-sized growth in the next ten years of rye whiskey production.  In places like Maryland​ and Pennsylvania, rye whiskey became big factory productions, and rye became the dominant spirit of the mid-Atlantic region, including Virginia. 

After the revolution, General George Washington, now retired from the presidency, established a distillery on his farm at Mount Vernon in Virginia, not far from Washington DC.  Washington had been, ironically, responsible for quelling the whisky rebellion in western Pennsylvania, a rebellion caused by the new national government establishing a new liquor excise tax to pay for the debt caused by the revolutionary war.  The rebellion was quelled, but Washington now had the distilling bug in his blood.  He would found the largest commercial distillery during his lifetime, producing predominantly rye whisky.

Cocktail makingAs the country passed into the 1800's, the cocktail was invented (1804 is the first documented recipe for a "whisky cocktail", later called the "old fashioned whisky cocktail" and later still, called simply the "old fashioned.").  The 1800's saw a huge boom in cocktails and whisky consumption, dominated mostly by the professional bartenders in New York City – and again, the key whiskey ingredient in those Manhattans, Old Fashioneds, etc. was rye whiskey, not bourbon.  Rye was king on the east coast. If you were in the “frontier” (western states like Ohio, Kentucky, Missouri), bourbon was likely your whiskey of choice. If you were in New Orleans, you probably enjoyed mostly cognac. [Ref: Imbibe! by David Wondrich] This regional division in spirits remained the case until Prohibition.

And then Prohibition wiped it all out.  1920-1933. Thirteen years. This is a long time for any industry to survive a total and complete ban on its existence.  Some distillers survived by producing prescription whiskey, but many closed forever. For example, before Prohibition, there were over 30 large factory distilleries in Pennsylvania alone.  After Prohibition, there were none.  And none until the first ones re-established in the early 2000s!  67+ years of nothing.

Back to Virginia  – So it is this love of rye whisky, the history, the terroir, the spirit, that we celebrate with our Catoctin Creek rye whisky.  What does it mean to be The Virginia Rye Whisky?  It means we start in Virginia – our home – with local grain, always made from 100% rye, that is mashed and fermented on site, and – this is absolutely essential – distilled in copper pot stills, and then aged in Virginia and other white oak barrels, soaking up the bucolic Virginia climate while it develops flavor from the barrel.  The final ingredient, natural Virginia spring water, is used to proof the whisky before bottling, adding another key piece of terroir (limestone and minerals in the water impart flavor) into the spirit.  The result is a rye whisky that is authentically made using tradition and the finest agriculture that Virginia offers. 

Catoctin Creek – The Virginia Rye Whisky™

 

Tasting Room operations in 2021

As a reminder, we are still operating under the Phase III restrictions of COVID-19, and God willing, we will continue to do so.  For the safety of our guests and the safety of our employees, we continue to do the following:

  • Everyone masked up at all times, unless seated enjoying your cocktails
  • 50% capacity indoors with social spacing
  • Outside tables available - bring a lap blanket!
  • Sanitizing of surfaces after every patron, or every hour, whichever is less
  • Contactless payment at the register
  • Direct to consumer shipping and online pickup - catoctincreekstore.com

Please be courteous of your fellow diners and our staff and wear your mask.  It's all we ask!

 

Port City Collaboration

 

 

NEW RELEASES - "Colossal X" Malt Whisky & Colossal V finished cask proof rye - collaborations with Port City Brewing Company

Keep your eyes peeled for the next in our American Malt Whisky series - the "Colossal X."  Releasing on January 11th at 8am in our online store.  This malt whisky was made from their very popular Colossal ale from our friends at Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria, Virginia.  Here's how they describe this annually released ale:

[Port City’s Colossal beer] is a rich, full-bodied ale that pours a dark mahogany accentuated by ruby highlights.  Flavors of treacle, plum pudding, and dried fruit are complemented by a subtle dry hop presence.

In celebration of Port City's tenth anniversary in 2021, we will be co-releasing this malt whisky with their release of the Colossal X anniversary beer!  You can get both, if you like, and see how wonderfully the distillation process captures the heart and soul of this rich English-style ale.  These bottles are extremely limited, about 600 bottles available from this limited run.

IN ADDITION, we are also releasing a version of our Cask Proof Rye Whisky aged in their Colossal V beer barrels.  So you can have this collaboration TWO WAYS:  cask proof rye or as a malt whiskey made from their ale.  Both are fantastic.

Releasing on January 11th at 8am in our online store.

 

 

Roundstone Rye 92 Proof "Distiller's Edition"

Wine Enthusiast Magazine - Best 30 Whiskeys of 2020!!

Wine Enthusiast has culled their list of the Top 100 spirits of 2020 to produce their 30 Best Whiskeys of 2020 list.  Boy, oh boy!  It's great to be included on that list:

Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye Whiskey Distillers Edition; $51, 94 points. This single-barrel rye is suitable for sipping or a dessert pairing. Look for bold sugar-cookie aromas and confectionary richness on the palate: vanilla, cocoa, hazelnut, maple sugar and mocha. The moderately long finish is marked by lemon peel and nutmeg. —K.N.

Read the full story, here.


 

Art of the Cocktail returns in January!

Monkey Gland Catoctin Creek is pleased to present, our SEVENTH year of this six-part educational series on the art of the cocktail. We must still hunker down, as this pandemic isn't over yet. Thus, the classes will still be online via Zoom. Each week, we will send out a shopping list of items for you to pick up, plus the course materials. Then, every Friday night, get yourself comfortably placed behind your bar, with your computer on and ready to go, and we will enjoy the class interactively just as if we were together in person.

This year, we're focusing on WACKY and WEIRD ingredients! Things you wouldn't normally make cocktails with, but can find around the pantry. So BUCKLE UP, baby! This is going to be fun!

Here is the schedule of the series:

  • January 8 - Cocktails using jams and jellies (Must be jelly, 'cuz jam don't shake like that!)
  • January 15 - Cocktails using chili peppers (not the rock band)
  • January 22 - Cocktails using beans (yes, beans! The Musical Fruit!)
  • January 29 - Cocktails using salt (savory and not savory drinks!)
  • February 5 - Cocktails using vegetables (drink your vegetables! They're good for you!)
  • February 12 - Cocktails using store-bought candy (Don't tell my dentist!)

Ingredients will be easy to obtain, and the lessons will be fun as ever.  This will be via Zoom, so I still expect lots of interaction and questions and good times.  It's a drinks class, after all!  As I mention in many of my classes, this class will be equal parts, cocktail how-to, history, and fun.

Tickets are ONLY $10 per person for the lessons, which leaves you room to purchase the ingredients.  You can purchase our spirits in our online store.

Book Now | Read More

 

 

Online Shop

Buy Your Spirits ONLINE for Delivery or Curbside Pickup

Virginia residents may buy your whisky, gin and brandy online!  The Virginia ABC now allows direct-to-consumer shipping!  We are now taking orders in our Online Shop.

       ORDER NOW  -  https://catoctincreekstore.com

If you are outside of Virginia, you may also order for online shipping, here.

You can also place curbside orders using the online shop, or simply call in your order at 540-751-3294.

 

 

 

Cocktail of the Month – Chad's Port Punch

Chad Robinson making Punch

Our beloved ambassador, Chad Robinson, came up with this cocktail for a private party for the RAMMY nominations in DC years ago.  Easily batched and poured for the masses, it is reminiscent of a sangria or a grog.  This is a whopper of a punch, so best to save it for once we're all vaccinated, and we need to throw a REALLY BIG CELEBRATION in 2021!

6 oranges
12 lemons
20 oz of superfine sugar
2 bottles of Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye
1 bottles of Catoctin Creek 1757 Virginia Brandy
2 bottles of good port

Peel the lemons and 2 of the oranges and set them aside for juicing later. Muddle the peels with the sugar in your punch bowl and let it sit for at least 1 hour until the citrus oils mix with the sugar. This is called oleo saccharum.
Juice your lemons and 3 of your oranges. Mix the juice with the oleo saccharum, making sure the sugar is fully dissolved in the juice. Once the sugar is fully dissolved, add the port, rye and brandy. Add a large quantity of ice to the punch to keep it cool while you're serving it. Slice the remaining oranges into wheels and use the orange wheels to garnish your punch bowl.

Serves at least 30-40 people.  (Save this for your after COVID party!)

See this cocktail and hundreds more on our cocktails page.

 

WhiskyCast

Proudly supporting WhiskyCast

Catoctin Creek is proud to be one of the sponsors of WhiskyCast, and if you’re not familiar with Whisky’s longest-running podcast series, we encourage you to check it out. Each week, Mark Gillespie brings you the latest whisky news from all over the world, along with in-depth interviews, tasting notes, and much more. You can listen to WhiskyCast on most podcast apps, smart speakers, and at WhiskyCast.com.

 

 

In Closing...

As always, there are lots of fun and information on our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages, where you can stay up to date with the daily activities at the distillery. We are open every Tuesday through Sunday for tastings and bottle purchases, so stop by and see us sometime!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

Holiday Greetings from Catoctin Creek - December News

One Hot Manzana

Cocktail "One Hot Manzana" courtesy Denise Petty. See recipe below.

December Greetings!

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or nothing in particular, we wish you the warmest holiday wishes.  We hope your December is filled with warmth, love and happiness, and here's hoping that 2021 will be a better year.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

HAPPY HANUKKAH!

KWANZAA BLESSINGS!

 

in other words...

 

SEASON'S GREETINGS!

 

Tasting Room operations in December

As a reminder, we are still operating under the Phase III restrictions of COVID-19, and God willing, we will continue to do so.  For the safety of our guests and the safety of our employees, we continue to do the following:

  • Everyone masked up at all times, unless seated enjoying your cocktails
  • 50% capacity indoors with social spacing
  • Outside tables available - bring a lap blanket!
  • Sanitizing of surfaces after every patron, or every hour, whichever is less
  • Contactless payment at the register
  • Direct to consumer shipping and online pickup - catoctincreekstore.com

Please be courteous of your fellow diners and our staff and wear your mask.  It's all we ask!

 

Roundstone Rye 92 Proof "Distiller's Edition"

Wine Enthusiast Magazine - Top 100 of 2020!!

We are delighted that Roundstone Rye 92 Proof "Distiller's Edition," which rated 94 points in January, was selected for Wine Enthusiast's Top 100 of 2020!  In fact, we were the third highest rated rye whisky in the category!  Kara Newman writes:

This single-barrel rye is suitable for sipping or a dessert pairing. Look for bold sugar-cookie aromas and confectionery richness on the palate: vanilla, cocoa, hazelnut, maple sugar and mocha. The moderately long finish is marked by lemon peel and nutmeg.

Read the full list of winners, here.

 

Art of the Cocktail returns in January!

Monkey Gland Catoctin Creek is pleased to present, our SEVENTH year of this six-part educational series on the art of the cocktail. We must still hunker down, as this pandemic isn't over yet. Thus, the classes will still be online via Zoom. Each week, we will send out a shopping list of items for you to pick up, plus the course materials. Then, every Friday night, get yourself comfortably placed behind your bar, with your computer on and ready to go, and we will enjoy the class interactively just as if we were together in person.

This year, we're focusing on WACKY and WEIRD ingredients! Things you wouldn't normally make cocktails with, but can find around the pantry. So BUCKLE UP, baby! This is going to be fun!

Here is the schedule of the series:

  • January 8 - Cocktails using jams and jellies (Must be jelly, 'cuz jam don't shake like that!)
  • January 15 - Cocktails using chili peppers (not the rock band)
  • January 22 - Cocktails using beans (yes, beans! The Musical Fruit!)
  • January 29 - Cocktails using salt (savory and not savory drinks!)
  • February 5 - Cocktails using vegetables (drink your vegetables! They're good for you!)
  • February 12 - Cocktails using store-bought candy (Don't tell my dentist!)

Ingredients will be easy to obtain, and the lessons will be fun as ever.  This will be via Zoom, so I still expect lots of interaction and questions and good times.  It's a drinks class, after all!  As I mention in many of my classes, this class will be equal parts, cocktail how-to, history, and fun.

Tickets are ONLY $10 per person for the lessons, which leaves you room to purchase the ingredients.  You can purchase our spirits in our online store.

Book Now | Read More

 

Becky HarrisWine & Country Magazine - Five Charming Places to Visit in Loudoun

Wine and Country recently did a story on five charming places to visit in Loudoun, and Purcellville featured on the list.  Douglas Rogers writes:

If you prefer something stronger than tea, Catoctin Creek Distilling Company, the first Loudoun distillery since Prohibition, is in a brick warehouse nearby. Here, Becky Harris, arguably the greatest female whiskey maker in America, crafts award-winning rye, brandy and gin, all of which you can sample around the horseshoe-shaped bar tasting room out front.

Let me hear that again?

Becky Harris, arguably the greatest female whiskey maker in America

Oh yeah!  We definitely agree about the Becky Harris bit, but we may be biased.  No argument from us!

You can read the full story, here.

 

Colossal X Malt Whisky

 

 

"Colossal X" Malt Whisky - a collaboration with Port City Brewing Company

Keep your eyes peeled for the next in our American Malt Whisky series - the "Colossal X."  This malt whisky was made from their very popular Colossal ale from our friends at Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria, Virginia.  Here's how they describe this annually released ale:

[Port City’s Colossal beer] is a rich, full-bodied ale that pours a dark mahogany accentuated by ruby highlights.  Flavors of treacle, plum pudding, and dried fruit are complemented by a subtle dry hop presence.

In celebration of Port City's tenth anniversary in January 2021, we will be co-releasing this malt whisky with their release of the Colossal X anniversary beer!  You can get both, if you like, and see how wonderfully the distillation process captures the heart and soul of this rich English-style ale.  These bottles are extremely limited, about 600 bottles available from this limited run.  More information to come, but STAY TUNED for this one!!

More to come... !

 

 

 

Catoctin Creek Wins Big at Loudoun Small Business Awards

Coverage in the Loudoun Now newspaper:

Catoctin Creek Distillery was formally recognized in three categories at the Loudoun Chamber’s Small Business Awards on Friday, Nov. 13, following a year that saw the Purcellville company expand its market overseas into the UK while pivoting to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic at home.

The distillery, founded by Scott and Becky Harris, took home three awards at the chamber’s virtual ceremony: Main Street Business of the Year, the People’s Choice Award, and the evening’s highest award, Small Business of the Year.

The first award, the People’s Choice Award, caught the Harrises off guard, with Becky rushing to get back into frame in front of their computer at home—“Becky was upstairs putting away dinner when we got that, so we truly did not expect that,” Scott said.

You can read the full story, here

Photo courtesy Douglas Graham, Loudoun Now.

Loudoun Chamber Small Business of the Year  2020 Loudoun Chamber People's Choice of the Year  2020 Loudoun Chamber Main Street Business of the Year  2020

 

Catoctin Creek Bingo!  Get your card today!

BingoWe are playing Catoctin Creek BINGO!  Whether you live in the District or in Virginia, we have a game for you!  Get your own personal bingo card, and then, visit as many of the establishments on your card as you can.  Each time you visit, order a Catoctin Creek drink from the bar (or carry-out, as the case may be), and you'll get a stamp on your card.  Get five stamps in a row (just like in bingo), and you will win a free branded t-shirt or hat.  Fill up the entire card, and we'll give you a really sweet Catoctin Creek branded hoodie!

You can download and print out your card below, or pick one up in person at the distillery or at participating restaurants and bars!  You are free to play both a DC card and a Virginia card at the same time.

Must be 21 years old to play. Valid only with approved stamps. One card per person, please.

Get My Card!

 

 

Online Shop

Buy Your Spirits ONLINE for Delivery or Curbside Pickup

Virginia residents may buy your whisky, gin and brandy online!  The Virginia ABC now allows direct-to-consumer shipping!  We are now taking orders in our Online Shop.

       ORDER NOW  -  https://catoctincreekstore.com

If you are outside of Virginia, you may also order for online shipping, here.

You can also place curbside orders using the online shop, or simply call in your order at 540-751-3294.

 

 

 

Cocktail of the Month – One Hot Manzana

This cocktail is the featured cocktail in our December Cocktail Kit - available online for ordering.

Nothing tastes better during the holidays than a hot toddy. Try this one using our Quarter Branch Apple Brandy, or substitute your favorite brandy into the recipe for a different take.

1 oz Catoctin Creek Quarter Branch Apple Brandy
1-2 barspoons of AR's hot honey
2 barspoons of fresh orange juice
Boiling hot water
Orange peel and cinnamon stick garnish

Add the honey and juice to a punch glass, teacup or mug. Mix well. Pour in 2-3 oz of boiling hot water and stir well. Add the apple brandy and garnish with orange peel and cinnamon sticks.

Recipe courtesy Denise Petty.

See this cocktail and hundreds more on our cocktails page.

 

WhiskyCast

Proudly supporting WhiskyCast

Catoctin Creek is proud to be one of the sponsors of WhiskyCast, and if you’re not familiar with Whisky’s longest-running podcast series, we encourage you to check it out. Each week, Mark Gillespie brings you the latest whisky news from all over the world, along with in-depth interviews, tasting notes, and much more. You can listen to WhiskyCast on most podcast apps, smart speakers, and at WhiskyCast.com.

 

 

In Closing...

As always, there are lots of fun and information on our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages, where you can stay up to date with the daily activities at the distillery. We are open every Tuesday through Sunday for tastings and bottle purchases, so stop by and see us sometime!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

Greetings from Catoctin Creek - Peach Barrel Select releases in November!

Image credit:  Sir Scotchalot on Instagram

Image credit:  Sir Scotchalot on Instagram

Welcoming November - Time to VOTE!

I am SO PROUD OF MY TEAM at Catoctin Creek! It's early voting in Virginia, and as a company, we will have 100% of our employees voting! For some of these folks, this is their first time voting ever!!! We even have two employees who will volunteer as poll workers this year!

Make your voice heard! VOTE!!

(Then, reward yourself with a Catoctin Creek - The Virginia Rye Whisky™!)

Here is information on how vote in your state:  https://www.washingtonpost.com/elections/2020/how-to-vote/

 

Denise, Melissa, Alec and Henry vote! Avalon votes! Eddie votes! Desi Votes John voted! Steve voted! Alexa voted! Becky voted! Scott voted!

 

Peach Barrel Select Rye Whisky - Releases in November

Peach Barrel SelectLife's a peach! If you're in the pits, this whisky will put some fuzz on your peach blossoms.  (Okay, I'll stop.)

We have a very special release coming in November that we've never done before! We have approximately 540 bottles of our Barrel Select Rye Whisky, a mashbill of 100% Virginia rye, aged to perfection in our charred new oak barrels, and then finished for over one year in a peach brandy barrel from our Short Hill Mountain peach brandy.  This whisky brings a little of summer's warmth to those cooler nights sipping whisky socially distanced on our porches.

Becky tasted this one at various proofs, and really liked how the peach came through at 40% ABV.  Priced at $45.90, this is rich and fruity and delicious in a way that remind you of the best of summer's fruit.  Great to enjoy this fall, or as a special one time gift idea.

Goes on sale Monday, November 16th at 8am in the Online Store.  No need to wait in line or queue up!  The tasting room is closed that day.  Just go to the online store and select store pickup.  Or we'll ship it to you! The product will not show until the morning of the release, so don't fret if you don't see it until then!

Once available, it will appear and you can purchase in our online store, here. (Not before Nov 16)

Rye Society Members may get their bottles at any time starting next week.

 

Esquire Magazine - Ten Best Rye Whiskey Brands!

Roundstone RyeWhat a lovely thing to be included in Esquire's "10 Best Rye Whiskey Brands" article:

Another craft distillery with a strong focus on rye is Virginia’s Catoctin Creek; it even trademarked the term "the Virginia Rye Whiskey." Founders Scott and Becky Harris (she’s also the chief distiller) are committed to making high quality, small batch rye whiskey that doesn’t lack for flavor or complexity. Some of these are young and relatively low ABV, like the 80-proof flagship Roundstone Rye, a nice sipping whiskey or Manhattan building block. All are made from a 100 percent rye mash bill, like the bottled-in-bond Rabble Rouser Rye, a 100-proof, four-year-old whiskey that explodes with spice and fruit. Go ahead and explore the limited releases from the distillery as well, like the Braddock Oak Single Barrel and Red Wine Finished Rye, or the biannual cask strength version of Roundstone Rye, which is finished in a maple syrup barrel.

You can read the full article, here.

 

 

The rest of 2020 - Catoctin Creek Bingo!  Get your card today!

BingoWe are playing Catoctin Creek BINGO!  Whether you live in the District or in Virginia, we have a game for you!  Get your own personal bingo card, and then, visit as many of the establishments on your card as you can.  Each time you visit, order a Catoctin Creek drink from the bar (or carry-out, as the case may be), and you'll get a stamp on your card.  Get five stamps in a row (just like in bingo), and you will win a free branded t-shirt or hat.  Fill up the entire card, and we'll give you a really sweet Catoctin Creek branded hoodie!

You can download and print out your card below, or pick one up in person at the distillery or at participating restaurants and bars!  You are free to play both a DC card and a Virginia card at the same time.

Must be 21 years old to play. Valid only with approved stamps. One card per person, please.

Get My Card!

 

 

Online Shop

Buy Your Spirits ONLINE for Delivery or Curbside Pickup

Virginia residents may buy your whisky, gin and brandy online!  The Virginia ABC now allows direct-to-consumer shipping!  We are now taking orders in our Online Shop.

       ORDER NOW  -  https://catoctincreekstore.com

If you are outside of Virginia, you may also order for online shipping, here.

You can also place curbside orders using the online shop, or simply call in your order at 540-751-3294.

 

 

 

Cocktail of the Month – Hot Buttered Rye

Hot Buttered Rye

This recipe was developed by Chad Robinson for the Edible DC spirits festival. The festival was held in late February, when the average daytime temperatures were about 19 degrees Fahrenheit, so we felt a warm cocktail was the perfect thing.

To make the cocktail best, you should batch up a large quantity of the ingredients ahead of time.

Per serving:
½ oz softened butter
1 oz brown sugar
ground cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, clove, ginger
3 oz hot water
1 oz Catoctin Creek Roundstone Rye whisky

Mix soft butter, brown sugar and a dash of each of the spices together thoroughly. This is the batter.

Add 3 oz of boiling water to your batter and stir well until a frothy top forms. Stir in your rye and garnish with nutmeg or a cinnamon stick.

Cocktail by Chad Robinson.  Photo by Sonja Bradfield, and used with permission.

See this cocktail and hundreds more on our cocktails page.

 

WhiskyCast

Proudly supporting WhiskyCast

Catoctin Creek is proud to be one of the sponsors of WhiskyCast, and if you’re not familiar with Whisky’s longest-running podcast series, we encourage you to check it out. Each week, Mark Gillespie brings you the latest whisky news from all over the world, along with in-depth interviews, tasting notes, and much more. You can listen to WhiskyCast on most podcast apps, smart speakers, and at WhiskyCast.com.

 

 

In Closing...

As always, there are lots of fun and information on our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages, where you can stay up to date with the daily activities at the distillery. We are open every Tuesday through Sunday for tastings and bottle purchases, so stop by and see us sometime!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

October Greetings from Catoctin Creek - Maple Cask, Cocktail Kits, Whisky Samplers, ALL NEW!

Welcoming October!

We hope you're having an awesome autumn!  We love this cooler weather... it is whisky weather!

We have so much in store this month!!!  Several new item releases, plus some cool events this quarter!  Please read on for details, below!

 

IT'S BACK!  Maple-Cask Finished Rye - Releases in October

Cask Proof MapleThe cask proof version of our ever-popular Roundstone Rye is a very special expression.  Released at approximately 58% ABV (it varies depending on the individual barrels), this is seriously strong whisky!  Delicious, dark, complex and ridiculously smooth for the proof, Roundstone Rye Cask Proof is released only about twice per year.  This expression is finished in a maple syrup barrel from Langdon Wood Maple Syrup, which gives a velvety maple note to an already extraordinary whisky.  750mL bottle, 58% ABV.

This one goes on sale Saturday, October 10th at 8am in the Online Store, and 12pm in the Tasting Room.  Supplies are limited, so we recommend buying it in the online store and selecting store pickup if you don't want to wait in line.

Once available, it will appear and you can purchase in our online store, here.

Rye Society Members may get their bottles at any time starting today.

 

 

NEW!  Cocktail Kits

Cocktail KitThis one-stop shopping cocktail kit will give you everything you need to make excellent cocktails at home! The kit contains one bottle of Catoctin Creek spirits, and all the bitters, mixers, and instructions needed to make at least eight cocktails at home! Plus, it is in a very handsome gift box, suitable for gifting!

Each month, we will feature a new cocktail, so save the recipe cards and collect them all!

The October feature cocktail is the Virginia Buck, including:

  • one bottle of Roundstone Rye 80 Proof
  • ginger beer
  • lime
  • sugar cubes
  • collectable recipe card

You can purchase in our online store, here.

 

NEW!  Whisky Sampler Gift Pack

Whisky Sampler Gift PackThis whisky sampler pack is perfect for a "vertical tasting" of the entire Roundstone Rye product line. It comes with a 200mL bottle of our most popular Roundstone Rye 80 Proof, our 92 Proof "Distiller's Edition", and our limited edition Cask Proof. For the price of one bottle of Roundstone Rye 80 Proof, you get all three products! Perfect for gifting, or for whisky clubs that want to taste the whole line-up.

PLUS, each gift pack comes with a FREE tasting from the owners through Zoom - details on how to register are on the box.

All in a handy decorative cardboard gift box. You can purchase in our online store, here.

 

 

Announcing!  Catoctin Creek Bingo!  Get your card today!

BingoCatoctin Creek is happy to announce, Catoctin Creek BINGO!  Whether you live in the District or in Virginia, we have a game for you!  Get your own personal bingo card, and then, visit as many of the establishments on your card as you can.  Each time you visit, order a Catoctin Creek drink from the bar (or carry-out, as the case may be), and you'll get a stamp on your card.  Get five stamps in a row (just like in bingo), and you will win a free branded t-shirt or hat.  Fill up the entire card, and we'll give you a really sweet Catoctin Creek branded hoodie!

You can download and print out your card below, or pick one up in person at the distillery or at participating restaurants and bars!  You are free to play both a DC card and a Virginia card at the same time.

Must be 21 years old to play. Valid only with approved stamps. One card per person, please.

Get My Card!

 

Art of the Cocktail - Last two classes!

Cocktail ClassWe have only two classes remaining!  Join us for this really popular online cocktail party!

We are pleased to present, our SIXTH year of this six-part educational series on the art of the cocktail. This year, we have to adapt ourselves to the "new normal" of COVID, and thus, the classes will all be online via Zoom.  Each week, we will send out a shopping list of items for you to pick up, plus the course materials.  Then, every Friday night, get yourself comfortably placed behind your bar, with your computer on and ready to go, and we will enjoy the class interactively just as if we were together in person.

Scott will reprise his first year material with a class studying the chronology of the cocktail from the early 1800's through modern day.  Ingredients will be easy to obtain, and the lessons will be fun as ever.  This will be via Zoom, so I still expect lots of interaction and questions and good times.  It's a drinks class, after all! 

As I mention in many of my classes, this class will be equal parts, cocktail how-to, history, and fun.

Tickets are reduced to $10 per person for the lessons, which leaves you room to purchase the ingredients.  You can purchase our spirits in our online store.

Book Now | Read More

 

SBA Finalist 2020

 

Finalist in the Small Business Awards - Loudoun Chamber

Catoctin Creek was selected as a finalist for the Main Street Business of the Year for the Loudoun County 26th Annual Small Business Awards.

Stay tuned to learn if we were selected for the People's Choice Award!! 

More to come!

 

 

Online Shop

Buy Your Spirits ONLINE for Delivery or Curbside Pickup

Virginia residents may buy your whisky, gin and brandy online!  The Virginia ABC now allows direct-to-consumer shipping!  We are now taking orders in our Online Shop.

       ORDER NOW  -  https://catoctincreekstore.com

If you are outside of Virginia, you may also order for online shipping, here.

You can also place curbside orders using the online shop, or simply call in your order at 540-751-3294.

 

 

 

Cocktail of the Month – The Tanyard Cocktail

The Waterford Fair is a tradition in Loudoun County, Virginia, that goes back 75 years! Every year, local producers gather to sell their wares: quilts, leather goods, woolen goods, cheese, beer, wine, clothing... you get the idea. Thousands of customers descend upon the gentle rolling landscape of Waterford to browse the fair and kick off autumn. 2020 has been a tough year, and this year, the fair will do its first virtual event.

This cocktail was created by the Waterford Fair as their official cocktail, using both our apple brandy and some of Doug Fabbioli's hard apple cider. This little beverage is very delicious, and packs a punch!

The Fair runs Oct 2-4.  Get your tickets to the Waterford Fair - HERE:  waterfordfairva.org

One 1" piece of fresh ginger, peeled
1½ tsp simple syrup (or agave syrup)
1½ oz Catoctin Creek Apple Brandy
1½ oz Fabbioli Cellars Attitude Adjuster (hard apple cider)
1½ oz chilled ginger beer
1 lime wedge
1 apple slice

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the sliced ginger with the simple syrup. Add the brandy and ice. Shake well and strain into an ince-filled glass and top with equal parts ginger beer and hard cider. Garnish with the lime wedge and apple slice.

Courtesy of the Waterford Fair and used with permission.

See this cocktail and hundreds more on our cocktails page.

 

WhiskyCast

Proudly supporting WhiskyCast

Catoctin Creek is proud to be one of the sponsors of WhiskyCast, and if you’re not familiar with Whisky’s longest-running podcast series, we encourage you to check it out. Each week, Mark Gillespie brings you the latest whisky news from all over the world, along with in-depth interviews, tasting notes, and much more. You can listen to WhiskyCast on most podcast apps, smart speakers, and at WhiskyCast.com.

 

 

In Closing...

As always, there are lots of fun and information on our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages, where you can stay up to date with the daily activities at the distillery. We are open every Tuesday through Sunday for tastings and bottle purchases, so stop by and see us sometime!

Cheers!
Scott & Becky

Latest News

Catoctin Creek - Best of Virginia 2022

Once again, Catoctin Creek has been awarded #1 BEST OF VIRGINIA for Distillery in Northern Virginia in Virginia Living magazine! Nestled* on the banks of its namesake creek, Catoctin opening in 2009 as the first legal distillery in Loudoun County since...

Read more

American Whiskey: Profile on Catoctin Creek

Maggie Kimberl of American Whiskey magazine recently caught up with Becky Harris for an update on the distillery: MK: Catoctin Creek whiskeys have garnered some major accolades over the years. What are you most proud of? RH: This is a really challenging...

Read more

The Spirits Business: Ten female-founded spirits brands

Nice to see Becky included in The Spirits Business roundup of ten female-founded spirits brands on International Women's Day. Becky Harris co-founded Catoctin Creek Distilling Company in Virginia with her husband Scott in 2009. Based in Loudoun County in the north...

Read more

Contact Us

Catoctin Creek Distillery

Catoctin Creek Distillery
120 W Main St
Purcellville, VA 20132

Tel +1-540-751-8404

catoctincreek.com

buyvirginiarye.com


Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence

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Latest Events

Hot Honey Finish Release

  MAY 23   Barrel Select Hot Honey Finish Whisky Release 8:00am Beginning Monday, May 23rd at 8am, we will release the Catoctin Creek Barrel Select Hot Honey Finish whisky!  Just in time for Father's Day!! ...

Read more

Summer Dinner at the Distillery - Chef Erik Foxx

  JUN 10   Dinner at the Distillery with Chef Erik Foxx 7:00pm—9:30pm Join us for our summer dinner at the distillery with special guest chef, Erik Foxx!  Dinner will be a four-course affair, using seasonal...

Read more

Catoctin Creek Bottling Workshop

  JUN 18   Bottling Workshop 10:00am—12:00pm Catoctin Creek Distilling Company will conduct one of our famous Bottling Workshops!  Here's your chance to volunteer and learn how to bottle, cap, seal, and label Roundstone Rye. Get...

Read more
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