Twenty-three TIAA members had a great time riding a bus to tour the Witherspoon Distillery on February 10, 2017 — lots of chit-chat across the aisles. But, first, we stopped at On the Border to keep our tradition of eating-our-way-across-Texas intact and to socialize a little longer. The food was great, we had a private room and we ordered from the lunch menu so everything worked well. It was just a short journey from the restaurant to the distillery in the heart of historic Old Town Lewisville and we arrived 30 minutes before our scheduled tour. This gave us enough time to look around their tasting room/gift shop/outdoor whiskey garden before “Spirit Guide Emma” called us to attention. She told us about the history of distilling, their history and the processes they use to produce whiskey and rum. (The company was started by two ex-Marines in 2011 who are fascinated by the distilling process and consider it a labor of love.) We looked inside the large stainless steel cooking vats in which cracked grain is heated with hot water to release the sugars and form the wort (pronounced “wert”). The remaining draff goes to a Lewisville farmer who has the happiest pigs in town. Yeast is added to the wort to start the fermentation and produce alcohol and a few by-products. We had the opportunity to taste a 130-proof, clear liquid from their copper still — very potent (the coloring and taste in whiskey and rum comes from the barrels in which they are stored along with various infusion flavorings.) Emma said Texas is a perfect whiskey state due to the wide fluctuation in temperatures which forces the liquor in the barrels into and out of the wood for several years to pick up flavoring and color. After the 60-minute tour we had a “tasting” of six different spirits, which they make, plus a bite of rum cake – all of which tasted much better than the first sample! In fact, quite a few bottles and cakes were purchased from their gift shop before we hopped on the bus to return to TI. An unexpected treat was a neat view of the new “Snow” moon and the partial lunar eclipse which occurred as we rode home. All in all, it was a very neat adventure so please come join us on one of our excursions.