Lawmakers from across the Capitol poured into the Willard Hotel Tuesday to honor the unique flavor bourbon has contributed to Congress.
The feel-good presser was the brainchild of the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship and the Kentucky Distillers’ Association; the former provided historical context while the latter kept the predominantly Southern crowd in good spirits.
Newly minted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the guest of honor at the event, regaled the crowd with a florid recap of bourbon’s place in the pantheon of adult beverages (“It is a pleasure to be here in the spirit of Kentucky, literally,” he quipped.) — a history lesson he somehow wove back toward the current state of affairs on the floor.
"I like to think that this Kentucky spirit of compromise lives on. We actually vote again,” he told the crowd of his handling the legislative calendar. “Hear, hear!” attendees responded while clinking glasses.
Guests were privy to unlimited pours of various Kentucky-made distillations, including: Town Branch bourbon (remarkably smooth), Woodford Reserve double oaked, Willet Pot Still Reserve (well-balanced bourbon featuring hints of oak and caramel), Wild Turkey single barrel, Bulleit rye (smoky but smooth), Maker's Mark, Four Roses Small Batch, Knob Creek, Elijah Craig, Michter's straight rye (mighty tasty, with just a touch of honey), Town Branch rye, Maker's 46, Russell's Reserve 10-year-old bourbon (powerful spirit), Evan Williams single barrel, Baker's 7 and Basil Hayden's (delicious, cinnamon-like character).
And all the insanely blurry selfies they could take, of course.
Jim Hewes, liquid therapist at the Round Robin Bar for approaching three decades — “Mixing and stirring for the movers and shakers in downtown Washington,” is how we describes his role at the hotel — said it makes perfect sense for pols to rally around a good, stiff drink.
“What better way to bring together people over an issue than over a glass of bourbon after a hard day on Capitol Hill,” he suggested.
Kentucky Republican and proud member of the Congressional Bourbon Caucus Andy Barr is all for lawmakers enjoying a few drinks together now and again.
“Meeting in a social setting with our colleagues is a way to get to know them … as individuals, not as Republicans or Democrats,” he told HOH. “Laying that kind of groundwork and establishing those friendships can be the predicate for delivering solutions to the American people.”
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