Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Gin Lives Here...

What could possibly get me up, bathed and dressed (by dressed I mean with something other than sweats on) and out of the house before 10:45 am? Finding out they are making gin seven minutes (or 1.4 miles) from our house. So I’m in the middle of working and the printer runs out of paper which automatically means I need to goof off. I flip over the Washingtonian’s online page and see that they have run an article on NE gin distillery, New Columbia Distillers. Excuse me…someone is making booze in my hood and this is the first I’m hearing about it. This generates a 30 minute manic Google search to find out everything I needed to know. Deciding to follow them on twitter produced the best freaking surprise ever… today is Repeal Day which means for every bottle of gin you buy you get a free tour. My eyes literally almost popped out of my head. This is better than work I said, running up stairs, taking a shower, grabbing every freakin’ camera I own, I set out to figure out who was making the gin and where.

Now there are a lot of articles and other bloggers who have covered this, so if you’re looking for all the facts go here:

2. DCist

I arrived at the Distillery not really knowing what to expect. I’ve been to both the Breweries but neither was right in the mix. I liked that the Distillery is in NE really close to the bars that should be carrying the gin (need to support our local NE businesses). Easiest way to describe the location is off New York Ave. (think where club Love used to be). The owners John Uselton and Michael Lowe were beyond friendly, especially for two people working 12 hour days six days a week. Turns out I was the only one to show up for a tour at 10:45 am on a Wednesday so it was one on one. Things I found out:

1. Grain is bought locally
2. Process of making Gin takes days, literally DAYS!!!
3. If Heaven doesn’t smell like coffee then it’s got to smell like New Columbia Distillery
4. John Uselton is a cool guy and lives in the District (I believe in NE but I thought it would be kind of stalkerish to be all “now where exactly in the area is your house”). Michael Lowe is probably cool too, he didn’t give me the tour, but he did come over to introduce himself which was nice

5. You can do tastings on Saturday from 1 to 4 pm (I did my tasting today at home at 12 pm; must admit Gin at noon is the way to go).
6. You can help bottle and label on Saturday’s but you have to register. Currently they are booked two months in advance; you might want to get on that list.
7. They do now take credit cards.

So about the gin…. Let’s start with a description of who I am as a drinker I do not like two things red wine and gin. I know right. Well I guess I like one kind of gin Green Hat, because the first thing I noticed is the pine needle smell I associate with gin was not over bearing here. I mean it smelled like gin, but a cleaner version maybe. I tried it straight and it was smooth, didn’t leave me with that this is going to burn going down feeling that most gin I’ve tried leaves me with. Now maybe this is because of their process OR maybe it’s because it’s not cheap gin. Either way I can’t wait to go back for a Saturday tasting and to do a few Happy Hour drinks with Green Hat. Follow these guys on twitter for upcoming events and buy local whenever possible.


  1. oooo how interesting!
    Had no idea the process takes days!

  2. How do you like it? we went a few weeks ago... halfway done with our bottle already...

    1. I love it. I'm planning to do a few of the recipes from there website for Friday Happy Hour and to go back for the tasting. Have you done the tasting?