Wednesday, July 1, 2015

National Archives Foundation Chief Spirits Advisor Derek Brown Releases “The General’s Order”

Mixologist Derek Brown

From our friends at the National Archives...

In commemoration of the Fourth of July, and the ongoing Spirited Republic: Alcohol in American History exhibit at the National Archives, the National Archives Foundation and award-winning bartender and Chief Spirits Advisor Derek Brown today released the “The General’s Order.”

The General’s Order has been months in the making as Brown consulted various sources, archivists and historians to bring the cocktail to life. It finally clicked when an archivist suggested that one document might hold the key - an order from then General George Washington, writing to his troops at Valley Forge.

Valley Forge was a decisive point in General Washington’s career. An order about troop rations orders, “a gill of rum or whiskey [per] Man to be Issued to the troops to morrow, who are not under Inoculation.” Brown jumped at the chance to include two spirits commonly found in colonial America together in a cocktail, but added a little something extra - a cherry bounce recipe from Martha Washington uncovered at Mount Vernon.

“The General's Order is a tasty sip of history,” said Foundation Executive Director Patrick M. Madden. “From sea to shining sea, this will become the new quintessential cocktail in homes, bars and restaurants. If it was a favorite of George Washington’s, we know it'll be a favorite of every citizen patriot.”

“Cocktails are not just delicious drinks, but a way of commemorating the past and celebrating special events,” said Brown. “The General’s Order is a refreshing cocktail but not simple; its ingredients definitely tell the story of our drinking past. Bonus, you get to make a recipe from Martha Washington herself!”

This year, the National Archives Foundation and Brown have partnered on a series of events at the National Archives, as well as engagement with 20 DC-area bars in conjunction with Spirited Republic. Brown is also curating a ten-part History of the Cocktail Series to discuss the role of spirits in U.S. history.

“From landing on Plymouth Rock in search of beer to creating the cocktail, the story of America could be easily told through the drinks it has both consumed and condemned. The chance to tell that story alongside such a comprehensive exhibit as Spirited Republic - not just with documents but through experts in the field and in the top bars of Washington, D.C - is unprecedented. I'm grateful to be a part of it,” added Brown, who has also offered an exclusive private tasting to contest winners.
Spirited Republic explores the federal government’s efforts, successes, and failures to change our drinking habits, from whiskey rations to the Continental Army to the Whiskey Rebellion to Prohibition and beyond. The exhibit uses nearly 100 National Archives records and artifacts to show the evolution of the government’s alcohol policy over time, and to illustrate the wide variety of views about alcohol held by Americans.

Spirited Republic is free and open to the public, and will be on display in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery of the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, from March 6, 2015, through January 10, 2016.

The public can learn more at and on social media via hashtag #SpiritedRepublic.

Spirited Republic is presented in part by the National Archives Foundation through the generous support of: HISTORY®, the Lawrence F. O'Brien Family, The Tasting Panel Magazine, and Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America. Additional exhibition funding provided by the Beer Institute, the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S., the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, and the National Beer Wholesalers Association.

About the National Archives Foundation:
The National Archives Foundation is an independent nonprofit that increases public awareness of the National Archives, inspires a deeper appreciation of our country’s heritage, and encourages citizen engagement in our democracy. The Foundation generates financial and creative support for National Archives exhibitions, public programs, and educational initiatives, introducing America’s records to people around the U.S. and the world. Learn more at:

About the National Archives:
The National Archives and Records Administration is an independent Federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving the records of our Government, so people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The agency supports democracy, promotes civic education, and facilitates historical understanding of our national experience. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries, and on the Internet at:

About the National Archives Museum:
The National Archives Museum, created by the National Archives in partnership with the Foundation for the National Archives, has transformed the visitor experience at the National Archives’ Washington, DC, building, and includes the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, the David M. Rubenstein Gallery and its Records of Rights permanent exhibition, the award-winning Public Vaults permanent gallery, the William G. McGowan Theater, the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery for special exhibits, the Boeing Learning Center, the Digital Vaults online exhibit, and the DocsTeach website. These components make the rich resources of the National Archives accessible to Americans nationwide.