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Our thoughts of the Christmas at Valley Forge in 1777 was one of the events in American History that make us realize how good we still have it with everything going on around us. Solders at the end of their enlistment, freezing and starving to death, a General ready to resign and a revolution on the brink of failure. What you didn’t get that in your American History class. What made them drive on? What made them change the tides of war and to serve that bleak winter when everything seemed doomed?
We do know that Washington threw that resignation into the fire after seeing his troop’s spirits around Christmas. We have come this far, why turn back it is rumored a soldier said to the Great Warrior. Was it cheer from his own whiskey that gave them a fighting spirit to survive the living hell that was Valley Forge? His Mount Vernon plantation wouldn’t be built for another 20 years so probably not, but we do know they had some whiskey. Now this wasn’t aged whiskey, it was likely rye in those days. Just clear rye whiskey.
If you have ever taken a distillery tour and tasted the whiskey straight off the still that is what they the soldiers drank. Jim calls the Barton 1792 whiskey from the still, hot buttered popcorn. I call it riding lighting, because if you drink too much you’re going to feel as if you are about to hit the ground. Jim loved this little bottle of whiskey while it brought back bad memories of bad decisions in the Army barracks for me. It was still neat to try this whiskey and see how far we Americans have come since that cold winter of 1777.
Now if you haven’t visited Mount Vernon or Washington’s Distillery it’s a must. They have restored the distillery to working form. Starting in 2007, they brought it back to its 1799 form and are producing whiskey just the way George did. I toured the Distillery and the famous national landmark that overlooks the Potomac River back in 2016 with my daughter and I was in total awe of our first President’s working farm.
Jim and I are both are so thankful and blessed to have a great audience of listeners to keep us marching on with the podcast just as those revolutionary soldiers did. We certainly have it so much better than they did. To that we wish you a Merry Christmas and thank you for your continued support.
So grab a bottle of holiday cheer, a glass to pour it in and listen as Jim and I take another trip down The Bourbon Road to celebrate Christmas with some of George Washington’s Whiskey. Cheers
Mike (Big Chief)
George Washington’s Mount Vernon Distillery