Cocktails & Spirits

Five New Rums to Try From the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival

The eighth-annual Rum Renaissance Festival was filled with pirates, tiki aficionados, and the titular libation. 

The spirit, which conjures visions of white-sand beaches and swaying palm trees, is distilled anywhere sugar is grown, which makes it the most universally loved liquid in the world.  This year's festival set out to prove that fine rums can be found all over the world — from the far reaches of India to right here in South Florida. 

The best part of the yearly fest is the ability to sample new rums from far-off locales that aren't yet available in Miami. Some rum producers head to the show in the hopes of catching the eyes and palates of distributors eager to find interesting additions to their portfolios. Others have a deal in place and are looking to introduce their rums to the industry and the public to garner an early fan base. Of all the rums, there are always some standouts. Here are five of the most interesting rums at the festival that you'll be able to find in Miami now or in the coming weeks.
5. Puerto Angel
Oaxaca is the tequila capital of the world. This southwestern Mexican city grows two dozen species of agave. So it's only natural that its master distillers can also turn out a fine rum. Puerto Angel is an organic rum made from local sugar cane for a crisp, grassy sweetness. The blanco variety makes a killer mojito, or just mix it with a little lemonade for a great porch pounder. The amber variety just needs a large ice cube. Puerto Angel arrives at most Miami liquor stores in a few weeks and is priced at $29 to $35.
4. Bahama Blue
Bahama Blue is the easiest (and most literal) way to drink in the amazing color of Bahamian waters. This rum, actually from Naples, Florida, is made with Brazilian GMO-free sugar cane and Rocky Mountain water. The spirit is distilled three times, and the distillery even recycles the crushed sugar cane. The spirit makes a great blue martini. Alas, right now it's available only at liquor stores and restaurants on Florida's west coast, but that may change soon. For now, if you're find yourself on the southwest side of the state, pick up a few bottles for your next pool party. 
3. Santería
If you ever wanted proof that computers are taking over the planet, just look to Santería — rum, that is. This one, made by Rational Spirits in Charleston, South Carolina, is made by Tessa, which, by the way, is a computer. The rum is a dunder pit-style rum, but computer models run the bacterial strains and also age the rum in a matter of days instead of the usual years. How does technology taste? The result is a dark, edgy rum that has hints of wood and caramel. It's available online at for $36.99. 
2. Doc Brown's Really Bad Rum
Here's a little clarification: This rum is actually good. What's bad is how you act after you've had a few, according to owner Lee Brown, who wears a lab coat in keeping with the spirit's doctor/mad-scientist theme. Doc Brown's comes in silver and spiced, but it's the dark rum that's worth adding to your collection. Aged in oak casks, this variety has lots of spice and vanilla notes and does double-duty as a drizzle over ice cream for a decadent dessert (as served by "shot" girls at the fest). The company is awaiting Miami distribution, and the rum should be in stores in a few weeks. For now, order rum cakes and barbecue sauce at
1. Wild Tiger
There are three reasons to buy Wild Tiger rum when it arrives in local liquor stores in the next few weeks. The first is the taste. This Indian rum is a mixture of distilled molasses and sugar cane, so you get the richness of molasses without the cloying sweetness and mouthfeel. Second, 10 percent of the proceeds are donated to the Wild Tiger Foundation to save tigers. These majestic cats were once the kings of the Indian forests, but only 2,000 of them remain free, down from 40,000. Finally, just like a tiger's stripes, each bottle's pattern is unique. A faux tiger claw for good luck comes with each bottle. Priced around $33, this rum makes the ultimate gift for anyone who wants a little "eye of the tiger" in their home bar. 
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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss

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