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Mt. Defiance Cidery and Distillery

Mt. Defiance Cidery and Distillery

Mt. Defiance Distillery focuses on the revival of classic spirits

207 W. Washington Street , Middleburg, VA 20118

In 2014, a war zone political advisor and a rocket scientist teamed up to create a Virginia distillery dedicated to reviving classic, forgotten, slandered, and forbidden spirits. Marc Chretien spent seven years advising top military brass in Iraq and Afghanistan. He decided that it was time to pursue a more pastoral occupation. Peter Ahlf worked at NASA Headquarters, furthering human exploration of space on the Space Shuttle and Space Station programs. He thought it would be fun to make a different kind of rocket fuel.
With this goal in mind, and a lease on an old service station in historic Middleburg Virginia in hand, Marc and Peter set out to revive a number of classic spirits: rum, which was once the dominant spirit consumed in the colonies, but has lately been confined to frothy poolside concoctions; absinthe, once the drink of poets, writers and bon vivants in Belle Epoch Paris, but was banned from production for 80 years; cassis liqueur, widely consumed in Europe, but limited in the U.S. due to a ban on commercial cultivation of black currants; and sweet vermouth, that bottle at the back of your grandparents liquor cabinet, that is now commanding renewed respect with the revival of a quality cocktail culture in our country.
Mount Defiance brings the best of craft distilling to the process of making these spirits and more, with attention to quality ingredients that are sourced locally whenever possible. They are proud to serve their products and welcome you to stop by to try them. Tastings of their ciders are always available! Their two stores — the Cider Barn and the Distillery — are both located in historic Middleburg, Virginia.

Traditional Absinthe Preparation

  • Absinthe
  • Cold water
  • Sugar cube (if desired)
Pour 1.5 oz. of absinthe into an absinthe glass, or whatever glass you have on hand. Drip 6 oz. of cold water into the glass. You can use an absinthe fountain (fancy), brouillier (look it up), or pitcher of cold water (easy). If you want to add a bit of sweetness, drip the water through a sugar cube on an absinthe spoon placed across the lip of the glass.

Rum Old Fashioned

  • .25 oz. simple syrup
  • 1.5 oz. Mt. Defiance Amber Rum
  • Orange peel
  • Orange slice and a cherry
  • Two dashes orange bitters
Lightly muddle the orange peel with the rum and simple syrup. Remove the orange peel. Add the bitters and ice and stir until chilled. Strain over fresh ice and garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.


  • .75 oz. Mt. Defiance Amber Rum
  • 1.5 oz. Mt. Defiance Apple Brandy
  • 2 dashes lime juice
  • 2 dashes simple syrup
  • Lime wedge
Shake the apple brandy, rum, lime juice and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain the contents of the shaker into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the lime wedge, and serve.

Dark and Shrubby

  • 1 tbsp. blackberry shrub
  • 2 oz. Mt. Defiance Dark Rum
  • Dash of aromatic bitters
  • Ginger beer
  • Mint sprig
Add ice to a rocks glass. Dribble in shrub, then add rum and bitters. Top with ginger beer and garnish with mint sprig. Blackberry shrub: mash 1 lb blackberries in 1?2 lb sugar and let sit for a day or two. Strain the juice into a container and add 1?4 to 1?2 cup red wine vinegar. Let the mixture rest for a day before using.

Hot Chocolate with Almond Liqueur

  • 1/3 cup almond liqueur
  • 1/3 cup chocolate syrup
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 4 cups milk
  • Cinnamon
  • Whipped cream
Stir together boiling water and chocolate syrup in a medium saucepan. Add milk, stirring until blended. Cook over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove from heat and stir in liqueur. Top with cinnamon and whipped cream if desired.

Amaretto Sour

  • .5 oz. beaten egg white
  • .75 oz. Old Volstead’s
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. 2:1 simple syrup
  • 1.5 oz. Mt. Defiance Amaretto
  • Bourbon
  • Cherry
  • Lemon peel
Dry shake ingredients to combine, then shake well with cracked ice. Strain over fresh ice in an old fashioned glass. Garnish with lemon peel and brandied cherry.

Kir Royale

  • Mt. Defiance Cassis Liqueur
  • Sparkling wine


  • .25 oz. simple syrup
  • .75 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1.5 oz. Mt. Defiance Amaretto
  • 2 oz. Old Volstead’s Bourbon
  • 3 oz. cranberry juice
  • Lime wedge
Pour all liquid ingredients into an ice filled cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.


  • 1.25 oz. dry sherry
  • 1.5 oz. Mt. Defiance Sweet Vermouth
  • 2 to 3 dashes orange bitters
  • Orange or lemon peel
Chill cocktail glass. Place the sherry, vermouth, and bitters in a cocktail shaker filled halfway with ice. Stir briskly with a bar spoon until thoroughly chilled, about 30 seconds. Strain into the chilled glass. Garnish with orange or lemon peel.


  • 1 'heavin' handful' of mint cuttings (about 2 cups)
  • 12 oz. Mt. Defiance White Rum
  • 3 oz. fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 8 ice cubes
  • 8 tbsp. granulated sugar
Blend ingredients, except rum, on high until mint is chopped, 30-60 seconds. Strain mixture into a pitcher. For each drink, fill a 12-ounce glass with ice. Add 4 ounces of mint mixture and 3 ounces of rum. Makes four 12-oz. cocktails.