DC Distiller Names Whiskey After Hillary Clinton

It's called Rodham Rye.

Republic Restoratives will give a portion of proceeds to an organization that helps pro-choice Democratic women running for office.

Leading up to the election, Republic Restoratives owners Pia Carusone and Rachel Gardner wanted to create a product that would celebrate who they thought would be the first female president. Plus, it seemed fitting: Hillary Clinton has been known to throw back the occasional whiskey. So, they came up with the idea for Rodham Rye, which would launch around the inauguration.

No need to tell you what happened next.

Carusone, who previously worked for congresswoman Gabby Giffords, was in Arizona campaigning for Clinton right up to election night. The next day, she and Gardner agreed to put the rye whiskey on hold, not sure exactly what to do with it.

But after a period of self-described mourning, the distillers returned to Rodham Rye and decided to continue with it anyway. Carusone says the spirit isn’t ultimately just about Clinton. “It’s a tribute to women in history, and a tribute to women in our everyday lives,” she says.

The whiskey itself is a blend of sourced one-year-old rye and three-and-a-half-year-old rye from Tennessee. (Tagline: “a selection of whiskies that are stronger together than apart.”) Carusone also points out that of all of the grains used to make whiskey, rye is the hardiest, sturdiest, most resilient of them all. (Do you sense a metaphor?) The result is a spirit with pink peppercorn spiciness, vanilla bean and kettle corn sweetness, and subtle cinnamon notes.

The distillers cut the whiskey to bottle strength using Adirondack Mountain spring water from a maple syrup farm in upstate new York that has been in Gardner’s family for generations. Another Clinton tie: “Senator from New York, she’s done a ton for conservation,” Carusone says.

Rodham Rye will launch on March 25 with a “community conversation” at the Ivy City distillery entitled “How to Support Women in the Age of Trump.” After a panel discussion, Republic Restoratives will lead tours and offer samples and cocktails, while female-owned vendors will provide food.

Five percent of proceeds from the $79 bottles will go to EMILY’s List, an organization that helps pro-choice Democratic women running for office. The limited release consists of 4,652 bottles, but Carusone says there’s a possibility they could make another batch.

“You never know, there could be a comeback.”


Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.