Jos. A. Magnus & Co. never intended to make vodka, which often gets a bad rap as a relatively boring spirit. But since its August launch, customers at the distillery's Murray Hill Club bar have been asking again and again for vodka-based cocktails.
In response, the Ivy City distillery released Royal Seal Vodka this weekend—the third product in its lineup, after a gin and bourbon. A bottle costs $31.
Royal Seal gets its name from a label once used by pre-Prohibition distiller Joseph Magnus, the namesake of the operation and great-grandfather of its founder, Jimmy Turner. Partner Brett Thompson says they're not sure what spirit the original Royal Seal contained, but it probably wasn't vodka given Magnus' history.
Jos. A. Magnus & Co. products are currently in 35 liquor stores across D.C., and the distillery is just beginning to make a push into bars and restaurants. The second batch of its bourbon—an eight-year-old liquor from Indiana that the Magnus team finished in sherry and cognac barrels—is mostly sold out. Bottles are no longer available at the distillery, but you may find some at other retailers. The distillery will, however, continue to sell two-ounce pours of the brown spirit on-site until it can release its next batch.
Jos. A. Magnus & Co., 2052 West Virginia Ave. NE, #202; josephmagnus.com
Photo courtesy Jos. A. Magnus & Co.