District Distilling of
WRITTEN BY CHRIS LOZIER /// PHOTOGRAPHED BY BRIAN CHRISTENSEN
natural fit for the lively U Street corridor in Washington, D.C., District Distilling is a combination distillery, bar, and restaurant which has become a favorite destination since opening in August 2016. Guided by Matthew Strickland, District has plans to release nearly 15 products by the end of the year. Strickland says D.C. consumers drink more cocktails per capita than consumers in any other city in the U.S., so the choice to operate as a destination distillery, rather than as a strictly production facility, has paid off. “Our bar is standing room only on a Friday night,” says Strickland. “It’s a lot of fun.” One of the most popular spirit categories at the distillery and bar is gin. Strickland says that D.C. is the birthplace of the gin rickey cocktail, and every year many local bartenders compete in a
gin rickey competition. Partially due to the local thirst for gin, and partly due to District’s owners’ curiosity about using unique junipers in the spirit, District offers several different gin varieties and they are experimenting to create others. Part of that experimentation relies on the nuanced flavors that different varieties of juniper offer. “You have the common juniper, but there are all these other species that you can get if you know where to look for them,” Strickland explains. “They actually have a pretty pronounced effect on the flavors of gin.” One of their gins is called Checkerbark Gin because they use Checkerbark Juniper berries, and another offering, WildJune, is made with Red Berry Juniper. One of the owners of District Distilling harvests the juniper berries in the West Texas mountains. Beyond variety-focused clear gins, they are also working on some WWW.ARTISANSPIRITMAG.COM
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