Tom Harkin, Frank Keating Honored for Commitment to 'Spirituous Liquors'

The senator was inducted into the George Washington Spirits Society.

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When an organization's primary goal is to encourage responsible drinking, it's bound to throw a great party. And so the Distilled Spirits Council did last night at Mount Vernon—complete with tours of all three floors of the historic estate, live music, fireworks over the Potomac, and lots and lots of spirits. The cause for the celebration and fundraiser was in part to induct five new members into the George Washington Spirits Society, including Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa and former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating. Members of the society apparently have a fondness for alcohol; in order to be inducted, they "will have demonstrated their appreciation of the appropriate role of spirits in our society, culture, and history."

The location for the shindig was perfect because George Washington himself had been a successful whisky distiller. Harkin's father made whisky, too, though "was the type of distiller that George Washington would have tried to put out of business with the Whiskey Rebellion," Harkin said, hinting that his dad had once been a bootlegger.

"My father followed in the footsteps of George Washington as someone who appreciated that corn had a much higher calling than just being fed to hogs," Harkin told the more than 700 guests, including Virginia Sen. John Warner.

The Distilled Spirits Council and the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America also auctioned off bottle No. 1 of Martha Washington's Colonial Rum for a whopping $20,000 to benefit the new George Washington Education and Orientation Center. The bottle's winner also got the recipe for Martha Washington's yummy rum punch, which guests were handed to taste as soon as they arrived at Mount Vernon.

Photos by Andrew Harnik, used with permission.