Rum Time

Grounded with homegrown spirits
By Gregory Dal Piaz

This article originally appeared in

Life sometimes throws you a curve ball. What’s the saying? When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Well, I need something a bit stronger. You see, I had planned on sipping the rum fantastic in the Caribbean over the holiday break. Mother Nature and JetBlue had other plans.

So, snowed in and devoid of tropical drinks and ancient Rhum Agricole, I made do with some homegrown spirits. Yes, we make some fine rum, from some rather surprising places at that. Sometimes a staycation is the perfect time for an adventure of rum discovery!

Serve in a highball or rocks glass over ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.
My original plan was to discuss the Rhum Agricole AOC, the only AOC mark for rum, which is not surprising since Rhum Agricole denotes the finest rums produced from the French West Indies and other French protectorates.

Unlike most rum, Rhum Agricole is distilled directly from pure cane juice, as opposed to molasses. The resulting rums are lower in alcohol upon distillation, and a bit lighter-bodied — certainly a strong contrast to the more typical rums. But all of that will have to wait for my next visit to the Caribbean. Today, let’s take a look at some new, domestic rums.

You might be surprised to find out that one of the latest additions to the rum scene comes from Massachusetts! Truth is, it’s hardly surprising since New England was part of the 18th century trade triangle that saw sugar and molasses from the Caribbean shipped to these northern states to be distilled into rum, which was brought to North Africa for use in the slave trade.

In fact, rum played an integral role in the formation of the U.S. The taxes placed upon exports of sugar and molasses from Britain’s Caribbean colonies directly affected the production of New England’s rum and were part of the taxation without representation that eventually led to the American Revolution.

Eventually the States learned to make spirits from domestic crops, better to ensure an uninterrupted supply of good cheer, so we are known as a land of corn whiskey and rye — but rum was here from the beginning, and it’s now back with style.

American Rums

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