You might associate George Washington with many things but perhaps not with whiskey. Our first president owned a distillery and was also the first American legislator to levy taxes on alcoholic distillates, a crucial source of revenue for the new and cash-strapped republic. In 1797 Washington's plantation manager urged his boss to enter the business of distilling hard spirits; two years later the distillery generated 11,000 gallons of whiskey -- small potatoes by today's standards but back then big business indeed. You can learn about lots more relating to the colonial period and the early production of the good stuff by attending the lecture Founding Spirits: George Washington and the Beginnings of the American Whiskey Industry, which is delivered by Dr. Esther C. White, director of archaeology at Washington's Mount Vernon Estate. Dr. White discusses Washington and Whiskey at 1 p.m. Sunday, December 16, and at 11 a.m. Tuesday, December 18, at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell and DeBaliviere Boulevards in Forest Park; 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org). Admission is free.
Sun., Dec. 16; Tue., Dec. 18, 2012