Tip of the Hat

Green Hat Gin brings distilling back to D.C.

We were prepared to like Green Hat Gin simply because it is the first spirit produced by the first distillery to operate in Washington since Prohibition.

But the weeks-old spirit didn't need to rest on its laurels. New Columbia Distillers' co-owners, John Uselton and Michael Lowe, have produced a gin ($36 for 750 ml) that could knock most prized juniper-laced competitors off the top shelf.

The spirit has a robust botanical base, made with strong notes of coriander, celery seeds and lemongrass. For the base spirit, Uselton drives to the Northern Neck to pick up wheat for the mash. The gin is available at the distillery (1832 Fenwick St. NE; 202-733-1710 or greenhatgin.com), as well as at the following bars:

Columbia Room: Celery seeds and coriander prompted this cocktail bar to resurrect the creamy, old-fashioned Alexander–a gin-based predecessor to the Brandy Alexander made with cream and crème de cacao (available as part of the three-cocktail tasting for $67).

Cashion's Eat Place: The gin's strong aromatics prompted wine director Justin Abad to mix the first batch into his favorite cocktail, a classic Negroni ($12). An early fan of the gin, Abad also sells it by the bottle down the road at A.M. Wine Shoppe.

Boundary Road: The bright citrus notes of Green Hat stand up to lime juice, Cointreau and bitter Campari in the kicky Fascinator ($10) at this H Street restaurant.