Unless you’re a hermit or don’t own a TV, you saw how ugly things got during the presidential election race between 2015 and 2016. Thanks to regular broadcast and digital media, everyone had a front-row seat, every day, and in living color.
For Washingtonians, living “in the loop” can be historic, but it also means we consume an unhealthy diet of 24/7 political news that’s the media equivalent of junk food — and we know how bad junk food is for us. Throughout the election, the one saving grace was our access to a variety of new or nearly new small local craft distillers whose spirits made things more palatable.
Between 2015 and 2016, Washington, D.C., saw an uptick in distillery openings; we now have eight flourishing distilleries, with room for more.
Yes, yes, we know the D.C. City Council passed a new law that made it legal to distill spirits, but heck, this increase in spirits production couldn't have come at a better time. One of the distilleries that opened in 2016 was Republic Restoratives, and it’s once again making history with its latest release, Rodham Rye.
We all know how the election turned out for Secretary Clinton, but her lifetime of service and her status as America’s first female presidential candidate nominated by a major political party deserve recognition. To honor her momentous achievement, the women at Republic Restoratives named the newest product in their range, a spicy rye whiskey, after Clinton, who also happens to be a fan of rye whiskey. The new Rodham Rye Whiskey — which bears the maiden name of the former senator and secretary of state — was released at the distillery on Saturday, March 25, just in time for Women’s History Month.
For owners Pia Carusone and Rachel Gardner, Rodham Rye is more than just a new whiskey or a political statement. This whiskey is their way of participating in the quest to find meaning for women in the Trump era. To that end, the Rodham Rye is part of a new line of whiskeys that are “a tribute to the women who make us what we are today, from those who fought for the vote, and to end prohibition, our sisters and mothers, and women everywhere who speak out, take risks and raise up the leaders of tomorrow.”
The release party included a panel that discussed ways everyone can support women and featured two guest speakers, Jessica O’Connell, executive director of Emily’s List, and Dionna Dorsey, founder of District of Clothing. While cocktails made with Rodham Rye, Civic Vodka, and Borough Bourbon flowed from the Ivy Room cocktail bar, guests noshed on small bites prepared by Black Pear Tarts, a local woman-owned bakery.
So what can you expect from Rodham Rye? A well-crafted, small-batch whiskey that’s a smooth blend of one- and three-year-old rye grains from Tennessee. Carusone and Gardner chose to make a rye because they appreciate its hardiness, character, and resilience. (Sound like anyone we know?) In addition to saluting women, the women of Republic Restoratives have literally put their money where their mouths are. To help the cause for equality, five percent of the proceeds from the sale of Rodham Rye will go to Emily’s List to help get more women elected to political office. Want to try a dram? You can buy it online or at these local shops: Cordial Fine Wine & Spirits, Gallagher & Graham Fine Spirits, Schneider's of Capitol Hill, Sherry's Wine & Spirits, and 1 West Dupont Circle Wines And Liquors.