Monday, December 11, 2023

Cavalier Hotel distillery pays homage to Oceanfront myths, legends

VIRGINIA BEACH — What’s your tarnished truth?

Careful — after a sip or two of an Old Fashioned made with bourbon distilled at The Cavalier Hotel you may start telling tales that could live among the storied ghosts and myths that already haunt its historic halls.

More than 90 years after the first guests entered the front doors of The Cavalier Hotel, the historic Oceanfront destination is reopening to new generations of Virginia Beach residents and visitors on Wednesday.

The hotel has undergone a multi-million dollar renovation under the guidance of developer Bruce Thompson. Along with 85 rooms and suites available for rent, the hotel features the Oceanfront’s first full-service spa and the country’s first distillery located inside a hotel: Tarnished Truth Distilling Company.

Originally opened in 1927, famous guests like Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby and Judy Garland have stayed in The Cavalier Hotel, Southside Daily reported. Legend has it that former president Richard Nixon burned the Watergate papers at The Cavalier Hotel, and old reports show that German-American brewer Adolph Coors fell from a room window to his death in the 1920s, said Tarnished Truth Co-Founder Josh Canada.

Over the years, it’s become nearly impossible to separate fact from fiction at The Cavalier Hotel. But that’s half the fun, and the inspiration behind Tarnished Truth’s name — to pay homage to legends, and create an atmosphere where new tarnished truths can be created by guests visiting The Cavalier Hotel, Canada said.

“The hotel has all these half truths and tarnished truths,” Canada said. “We don’t know what’s true.”

Inspired by the Roaring 20s, Tarnished Truth Distilling Company will sell a vodka distilled on site, as well as three types of bourbon: The Tarnished Truth Bourbon, Tarnished Truth High Rye Bourbon and the Old Cavalier Single-Barrel Bourbon.

The Tarnished Truth Bourbon will not be available immediately. More than a month ago, Canada and his partner, Andrew Yancey, distilled their first batch and put it into white oak barrels to age over the next four years.

In addition to bottled liquor, Tarnished Truth will offer distillery tours and tastings.

Guests who really love bourbon can pay between $495 and $25,000 to become members of three exclusive clubs, the perks of which include exclusive access to bourbons not sold in the distillery.

For guests who want to enjoy Tarnished Truth’s spirits on site, the hotel’s Hunt Room Social Club and Tavern will offer cocktails and cocktail classes.

The tavern’s signature drink will be an Old Fashioned, made with bitters and bourbon, and put inside a smoker to enhance the flavor, said Hunt Room Distilled Spirits Specialist Beth Evans.

“It’s really hard to find a good Old Fashioned,” she said. “Anyone can make whiskey. Not everyone can make bourbon.”

This week’s Southside trivia question: There is a street in the Kempsville neighborhood of Virginia Beach that is named after one of Virginia’s royal governors. What is the name of that street?

Information from the Southside Daily archives was used in this article.

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