Meeting of October 20, 2011

Attendance (14) : Peter Brown, Terry Brewer, Pat Bailey, Debbie Brown, Russ Edberg, Bill Dowd, April Dowd, Ron Annis, Dick Drumm, Doris Calamaras, Phil Egan, Charlie Foote, Debbie Rodriguez, Len Leonidas.

Guests (1) : Fred Kakumba.

Announcements/Business:

• Seven members are attending the Rotary Leadership training seminar this Saturday at Siena College.

• The first of our “Home Cooking” member dinners will be hosted by the Brewers on Saturday, November 12. The menu: comfort food. They can accommodate nine guests. See Terry to reserve your place.

• Doris Calamaras suggested we consider of ideas for fundraising and attracting new members, among them an Adirondacks train ride, bus trips to New York City, Cape Cod, etc.

• Peter Brown, presiding in President Jim Leyhane’s absence, reminded members that much information, schedules, etc., is always on our website (http://SRCrotary.wordpress.com),  thanks to webmaster Bill Dowd.

Program: “The History of Whiskey, Part II — Mt. Vernon”


THE RECONSTRUCTED MOUNT VERNON DISTILLERY     (Photo by Bill Dowd)

Two weeks ago, Bill Dowd presented a program entitled “The History of Whiskey,” a description of the creation of his just-published anthology about whiskey places, products and personalities over the ages.

This week, he reordered the words in that program title to say “The Whiskey of History. He entertained us with information and photos about whiskey in America with the story of James Anderson, George Washington’s estate manager and distiller at Mount Vernon.

The operation was the young American nation’s leading distillery. The peak year was 1799 when they earned about $10,000,  the equivalent of $126,000 today. Their clear whiskey was termed “liquid gold” because of the value of the product.

Distilling continued after Washington died in 1799, but the distillery burned down in 1814.

Nearly 200 years later, the distillery was reconstructed on the actual footprint of the original building. Bill participated in a recent session of distilling apple cider into unaged brandy, using the same process and style of equipment used in colonial times.

His PowerPoint presentation included photos showing the reconstructed distillery and inside workings, as well as a variety of scenes of Mount Vernon and the workers in period costume. (You can see a complete story and photo album about the Mount Vernon operation by clicking here.)

Thanks, Bill, for a fascinating session.

NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, October 27. Program: Dick Drumm will introduce fellow veterinarian Michael Delliere who will speak about his experiences.

[Go here for the Events Calendar.]

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