Allison Strunk, executive bourbon steward at The Alexandrian’s King & Rye restaurant is a rye drinker by nature, and indulges in its bold and spicy notes compared to bourbon’s sweet and caramelized tones.
There is a certain mobility to whiskey, she noted, explaining “there’s a cocktail out there for everybody.” One of her greatest joys? “Introducing whiskey to non-whiskey drinkers.”“Being female in a male-dominated industry, I love teaching more women about whiskey,” she said, a challenge in the current typhoon of vodka sodas and margaritas that she gladly takes on.
As general manager of The Alexandrian’s restaurant, King & Rye, Strunk and her other executive bourbon stewards work to expand their palette and cocktail menu to create a unique whiskey-drinking experience that can make Old Town Alexandria a pit stop for whiskey aficionados.
As COVID restrictions ease and normalcy can be seen at the bottom of our rocks glass, Morrison House, the sister hotel to The Alexandrian, will be offering a three-part Bourbon Trail Experience package for guests staying at the hotel through November.
The “Bourbon Crawl” experience for two includes two signature cocktails upon arrival to the Morrison House based on the palette of the season. The “luxurious bed and breakfast experience…is like having a cocktail in a friend’s living room,” giving guests a sink-into-your-chair experience while making a clean segway to the stop on the tour. Cocktail options include a twist on a New York Sour, with Knob Creek Rye, cherry preserves, lemon and a Malbec float.
An hour away from the Morrison House in Purcellville, Va., alongside the Potomac River, guests will explore a VIP tour of Catoctin Creek Distillery Co, the first family-owned legal distillery in Loudoun County since before Prohibition and an official stop on Virginia’s Bourbon Trail.
Last year, The Alexandrian and Morrison House team handpicked a barrel of rye to be bottled and used in their signature cocktails. With a behind-the-scenes look, locals and tourists alike can “be able to experience the distillery and the complexity that goes into making whiskey.”
The crawl ends with a bourbon flight offered at King & Rye, where guests can use all the fancy tasting notes and swirling motions they learned from the distillery tour and from Strunk and her other stewards.
“It’s our first test flight, and we hope to expand from there,” anticipating to partner with other local distilleries and breweries or creating a longer tasting experience.