Quick: what’s the very first thing that involves thoughts when somebody mentions rum? Chances are you consider sticky-sweet, umbrella-garnished seashore drinks, fraternity events, or Coke. But in 2020, this historic spirit is extra numerous, refined and, most significantly, funner than ever earlier than, as American small distilleries produce a wide range of kinds – each traditional and inventive. Their spirits can maintain their very own towards time-tested legacy manufacturers.
Like any craft spirit, rum is arguably greatest loved on the supply, the place you possibly can discuss to distillers and see the way it’s made. Here are a couple of to take a look at across the US and Caribbean once you’re passing by.
1. Lassiter Distilling Company: Knightdale, North Carolina
Yes, the Caribbean is the heartbeat of the rum trade and rum was a cornerstone of Colonial New England’s economic system, however right here’s somewhat lesser recognized reality: earlier than the pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock, rum was drunk all alongside North Carolina’s coast. The area was a hub for the sugar commerce, in any case.
That’s one of many nuggets of information you’ll be taught once you go to Lassiter Distilling Company, a rum-focused distillery in Knightdale, a captivating city simply off Route 64, which connects Raleigh to the seashore. Among the various impartial companies which have sprung up right here previously few years is Lassiter, which is positioned in a stunning outdated railroad depot. Drop in on a Saturday for a distillery tour or schedule a go to for an additional day prematurely. The husband and spouse distiller/homeowners end up a silver (unaged) rum, one which’s aged in traditional American white oak and a intelligent Rum au Café that is infused with Raleigh Coffee Company espresso beans, every of which you’ll pattern as a part of the free tour. Got time? Stick round for a rum drink at their small but elaborately designed tiki bar, which is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.
Potted vegetation dot the tasting room of Lyon Distilling Co. © courtesy Lyon Distilling Co.
2. Lyon Distilling Co.: Saint Michaels, Maryland
When Lyon Distilling launched in 2013, it accomplished a ingesting trifecta. Now vacationers can go to a brewery, a vineyard and a distillery, all inside Saint Michaels, a one-square-mile city on the Chesapeake Bay’s picturesque jap shore. Located 45 minutes from Annapolis and 90 minutes from Washington and Baltimore, the city attracts makers of all kinds, like boat-builders and brewers. That, together with the truth that the bywaters of the Chesapeake have been a rum-running hub throughout Prohibition, satisfied co-founder Jaime Windon that this was a really perfect spot to open a distillery and make maritime spirits. “The proper shore is 90 minutes from us. With all the sailors coming through there, making rum feels right on Bay,” Windon says. Situated in a former flour mill, Lyon seems darkish and unaged rums, over-proof expressions, and a number of other particular merchandise, like limited-edition vacation releases and low rum, a wealthy, enchanting spirit flavored with recent floor espresso from an area roaster and cocoa shells from a DC chocolatier. Free excursions with tastings are supplied on daily basis at 2PM.
3. Hye Rum: Stonewall, Texas
Tourists have lengthy traveled to Texas Hill Country, birthplace of Lyndon B. Johnson, to go to his ranch. This area, which extends to components of Central and Southeast Texas, is roofed with rocky soil, the sort that lends itself to effective vintages in Europe. Accordingly, it’s lengthy been a draw for winemakers, and there are presently greater than 65 wineries alongside the 25-mile strip of Interstate 290 that connects Fredericksburg to Johnson City. But that’s not why we’re right here.
Hye – inhabitants: 100-plus – sits alongside that stretch and as well as the almost dozen wineries you possibly can go to there, you’ll discover Garrison Brothers, a whiskey distillery, and Hye Rum, a distillery that opened in 2017. It’s set in a quaint home that co-owner Stephanie Houston describes as “slightly larger than a tiny house.” They produce 5 totally different French-island-inspired rums with molasses from Louisiana. Visit for a tour with the distiller then settle in on the low-key bar with a flight of rums, every of which delivers daring flavors befitting of the Lone Star State. A memento tasting glass is a part of the bundle. Cocktail courses are additionally on supply.
4. Havana Club: Havana, Cuba
Since the Obama administration relaxed restrictions on journey to Cuba, Americans have headed posthaste to this tropical island to ogle at its colourful structure, considerable classic vehicles, and a lot else. The meals, in fact, is an enormous draw for a lot of, however for some, probably the most compelling lure is the popular spirit of considered one of Cuba’s most legendary residents, Ernest Hemingway, who penned seven books simply outdoors Havana.
The historic and big Havana Club distillery, which sits within the nation state’s capital, is just not open to the general public, however you possibly can be taught concerning the rum-making course of – from sugar farming to barrel growing old – and its historical past in nice element on the Havana Club Museum of Rum. Located in a colonial townhouse constructed within the 18th-century, the museum’s reveals present a closeup view of the various crafts concerned in rum manufacturing, from constructing stills and developing barrels to distillation. And, in fact, you possibly can expertise the consumption half for your self within the 1930s-era tasting room.
A bottle of Montanya on the taproom bar © courtesy Montanya / Nathan Bilow
5. Montanya Distillers: Crested Butte, Colorado
Situated within the West Elks, somewhat mountain vary within the Rockies, Crested Butte is an unimaginable Colorado ski city and the wildflower capital of the United States. It’s additionally a mountain biking mecca and residential of Montanya Distillers, a vacation spot not just for its energetic bar and restaurant, full with dwell music, however for the in-depth lesson you may get on a tour concerning the quirks and sweetness of creating rum at 8800ft. Montanya’s employees, from founder and proprietor Karen Hoskin to the distillers to the bottling line, is 64% girls, which is exclusive among the many many producers on this planet. Their particular launch, Valentina, highlights this, as each step within the course of concerned girls.
Whether or not you tour the distillery, a flight of Montanya rums, that are made with molasses from Louisiana-grown sugar cane, is complimentary. Come for the samples, keep for dinner and a cocktail. Come for the samples, keep for dinner and a cocktail and dwell music. The cozy wood- and brick-heavy tasting room/eatery is a energetic native hangout.
6. MISCellaneous Distillery: Mount Airy, Maryland
Meg McNeill, co-owner of MISCellaneous Distillery in rural Maryland, an hour north of Washington DC, describes her Popi’s Finest Rum as “rum that thinks it’s whiskey.” Like bourbon, it’s aged in new American oak barrels, which imbues Popi’s with its oaky flavors.
See for your self on one of many excursions they provide each weekend. Tours are free, however a $5 really useful donation is handed on to an area charity. Go to be taught concerning the distillation and growing old course of, keep to create your individual cocktail with a wide range of made-in-DC mixers like Element Shrubb’s ingenious vinegar-based drinks (honeydew-jalapeno, anybody?) and pure syrups from Pratt Standard Cocktail Company.
In addition to aged and silver rums, the distillery produces whiskey from grains harvested from the encompassing rural property, in addition to vodka, gin, and bourbon. They all meet the approval, by the best way, of husband-and-wife homeowners’ pup Jaimee, a pleasant Bernese mountain canine. Got considered one of your individual? Feel free to convey him alongside for a play session.