One Eight Distillery Visit
Last Saturday we trekked up to Ivy City to visit local DC distillers One Eight. Ever since we discovered their gin at our beloved local liquor store, Schneiders, we’ve been itching for a free saturday to see this new local business in action. There were so many things to love. Where to begin?
Our Lists of Loves
- Tasting – Just for walking through the door you get to sample three of their liquors in their tasting room. Their tasting room is all the forms of hip and sleek that you’d expect in a renovated warehouse. We tried their vodka, their white whiskey, and their gin. We rarely try a vodka that actually tasted like anything (if you’re counting whipping cream vodka as a flavor we can longer be friends); so we were impressed by it’s complexity. The white whiskey was nice, and the gin–oh the gin–you know how we feel about that.
- Local distiller – I know ‘local’ is the trendiest of fads right now, but like any good yuppies we’d like to think that we’re for this before ‘everyone else.’ Regardless, we love that One Eight is local to DC. So many spirits are produced in mass at some factory in god knows where, but thanks to One Eight we can buy gin that was made 2 miles from us, using ingredients from neighboring states.
- Dreams come true – One of the founders, Sandy, used to be a lawyer but then decided he wanted to make whiskey. for. a. living. We love stories like this, not just because he seemed truly happy, but also because we may or may not fantasize about similar things. The vibe was awesome. They seem to want to experiment with everything. And they just opened last December.
- The Name – We love obscure business names that have to be explained. One Eight is a reference to the article and section of the Constitution that led to DC being formed as the Capital. More local stuff, cheers! Also, for the record, we will explain the meaning behind Roberts & June sometime.
- Their Urban Pumpkin Cocktail of the Day – One of three that they were serving, it involved vanilla infused local vodka, pumpkin, cider, & ginger beer.
- Learning things – Okay one of us likes this more than the other, but attaining a lot of knowledge (or some knowledge) is a fun way to spend a saturday, especially if we’re learning about something we spend a fair amount of our time on. We loved getting to better understand the ins and outs of distilling. Which leads us to…
What we learned
- One Eight uses rye in all of their spirits. Who knew (we didn’t) rye is a local, traditional grain.
- Most distillers don’t use rye because it’s a pain: it doesn’t have enough sugar for the fermentation; it can turn into some gooey pipe-clogging consistency; and apparently it foams like crazy (I thinking ‘foaming’ must be a thing only distillers talk about).
- Bourbon can be made in places other than Kentucky. It’s only real qualifications is that is has to be made of more than half corn and aged in American Oak Barrels.
- But a rye! a rye is a rye if it has at least half rye.
- Gin is actually vodka that is infused with juniper berries and, in One Eight’s case, spice bush and some lovely other aromatics.
- When you age whiskey, you lose almost half of the volume in the barrel due to evaporation. #bummer
- If you look on the back of a liquor bottle and it says “Bottled In” or “Distributed by” it’s a sneaky attempt of manufacturers to make you think it was made somewhere when really it was likely made elsewhere, shipped to that facility, and then bottled. Boo to that!
If you’re local to DC, check out their free tastings and free tour, every Saturday 1-4pm.
Rock on One Eight!