Cotton & Reed adds a dash of island flavor to the DC distilling scene.
Cane-do philosophy: Jordan Cotton (left) and Reed Walker are making rums that honor the deep flavor profile of sugarcane.
Jordan Cotton and Reed Walker are two former NASA space contractors turned rum runners, who are now on a mission to change the way we look at liquor. The duo are opening Cotton & Reed in northeast DC, adjacent to Union Market, and they’re bottling three different spirits: a white rum, a spiced rum, and an allspice dram (a rum-based liqueur).
“Our product is different because we don’t use a lot of sugar, as you see in traditional Caribbean and Brazilian rums,” Walker says. “We have four different sugar sources, and we use them lightly. We really want the flavor ingredients—things like dried lime and botanicals— to speak the loudest. I’m excited about our spiced rum, which has the fall flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.” The space is also sure to please.
The 3,300-square-foot distillery is divided by a glass wall leading to a bar and tasting room. That’s where you’ll find head bartender Lukas Smith, previously from Jack Rose and Dram & Grain, dreaming up tiki drinks and carbonated cocktails, offered on draft. “We want to push the tiki and soda trends further,” Walker says. “This is a distillery that’s also about cocktails. We want people to come here and experience our tasting program, but the main goal is to operate both as a distillery and a bar.” 1330 Fifth St. NE, 650-302-1487