The research of History Press author Garrett Peck has helped inspire the name of a new local gin, which features a historical twist. The drink, called the “Green Hat Gin,” will be produced out of New Columbia Distillers—D.C.’s first distillery in over a century—as the Washington City Paper reports:
“Just as so many cocktail bars riff on the speakeasy culture of the ‘20s, [distillers] Uselton and Lowe are trying to play up D.C.’s Prohibition history in their product. Their first gin will be called Green Hat Gin, a nod to bootlegger George Cassiday, who supplied members of Congress with illegal liquor between 1920 and 1930. Cassiday set up shop in the House’s Cannon Office Building and later in the Senate’s Russell building. He wore a green fedora, giving him the moniker “The Man in the Green Hat.”
Uselton and Lowe learned about Cassiday from Peck’s Prohibition in Washington, D.C., which came out in March 2011. Lowe took Peck out to lunch at Northside Social in Arlington and told him they wanted to pay homage The Man in the Green Hat, to whom Peck devotes an entire chapter.
Peck then put them in touch with George Cassiday’s youngest son, Fred, a retired U.S. Air Force Reserve sergeant who lives in Fairfax County. They met for beers at ChurchKey in Logan Circle. Fred recounted stories of his father: how he didn’t even know about his dad’s bootlegging past until he was a teenager, and how his mother had burned a book listing all his customers in Congress. Uselton and Lowe told Fred about the plans for the distillery and the Green Hat Gin.”
If you’re in the D.C. area, and looking for historically-themed events, be sure to check out the upcoming Speakeasy Costume Ball on October 25 at 7:00 p.m. Peck is helping turn Woodrow Wilson House into a speakeasy for one night!
This is a fundraiser for Washington’s only presidential museum, a key site in Peck’s book, Prohibition in Washington, D.C.
Sponsors include New Columbia Distillers (makers of Green Hat Gin), and there will be cocktails, dancing and prizes for best costumes.