Yesterday the "gang of eight" huddled on the grounds of Mount Vernon to hash out a last-minute plan for pinching enough pennies to save us all from fiscal ruin. One can only hope the group's departure was not hindered by the onslaught of revelers heading to the grounds for a fete attended by hospitality professionals only too happy to drop tens of thousands of dollars on coveted hooch.
Several attendees told HOH the annual Spirit of Mount Vernon dinner and charity auction, which this year raised $250,000 for a George Washington-centric library and $100,000 for the Wounded Warriors Family Support Program, is easily one of the swankiest shindigs in town.
The 675 guests who made themselves at home on Washington’s lawn certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves.
The Distilled Spirits Council kept partygoers well-lubricated, offering samples of up-and-coming liquors alongside unfettered access to every brand of liquid courage under the sun. The buffet of booze was both a curse and a blessing, giving even the most seasoned drinkers pause while they surveyed their high-test options and stumping at least two cocktail novices.
"I don't know. I think you're supposed to breathe it in, or something," we overheard one tequila virgin mutter to her equally clueless friend as they wandered away clutching shots of Mexican fight juice.
Our tequila days thankfully behind us, HOH struck out in search of D.C.’s latest small-batch distiller, Green Hat Gin.
"It's been a tossup between this and Bluecoat," a barkeep said of the requests he’d received from the juniper savvy.
For the sake of parity we swigged a bit of both. Bluecoat American Dry Gin was initially bolder but had a medicinal finish, while Green Hat stayed mellow from gullet to gut.
"It's a little too Bed Bath and Beyond," one Bluecoat hater said of the boutique spirit.
Other offerings appeared reserved for admiration from afar.
Unless you were willing to cut a giant check.
Guests were invited to bid on a number of historic beverages — "Drink more and bid often," the MC prodded the cocktailing masses — including a pair of rare peach brandies crafted at neighboring Mount Vernon Distillery.
Those beauties were snatched up for the tidy sum of $17,000.
But the biggest winner of the night had to be the penultimate bottle of George Washington Rye produced by the distillery in 2003.
That blended whiskey wound up fetching $27,000 — a handsome haul, even if the prized potable appears to have depreciated significantly in just a few years. (The first and second bottles from that same 24-set batch sold for $100,000.)
Our takeaway from the entire evening: Deficit-obsessed solons should stockpile as much top-shelf booze as possible, then invite the public up to the Capitol for the biggest open bar this country has ever seen. People are evidently real generous once they get a few in them.