The ninth-annual Rum Renaissance Festival was filled with pirates, tiki mugs, and plenty of rum.
Though the spirit is best identified with the islands of the Caribbean, rum is made throughout the world. Traditionally, the spirit is distilled in places where sugarcane is grown, but craft distillers from Utah to Pittsburgh are making very drinkable expressions.
The yearly festival is a good opportunity to try new and interesting rums and discover which ones are worthy of a place in your home bar. Here are the most interesting rums at the festival.
Distilled in Riviera Beach, this Florida native is available in white and spiced. The spiced has notes of clove, vanilla, and orange. Founder Ben Etheridge uses Florida sugarcane molasses, then ages it in charred white oak barrels. The rum, available throughout Miami, sells for about $22 to $24 a bottle. Best of all? One dollar from each sale benefits a local charity that assists the families of veterans. So far, $23,000 has been raised — a toast to that.
If you've ever had a Jamaican coffee, you know that rum and java work great together. Rum Java gives you that experience in one bottle. The signature is a straightforward rum blended with coffee, while the Mahtimi'Mon has the jolt of espresso. For something a little smoother, try the espresso rum crème as an after dinner treat. Bottles sell for about $30.
Chocoholics will want to try Treasure Chest's chocolate cherry rum. This rum, made in Riviera Beach, imparts a sweet, subtle hint of chocolate. A bottle sells for about $17.95.
You don't normally think of Utah when you think of rum producers, but that's just where Antelope Island is made. Named after the largest of ten islands located within the Great Salt Lake, this white rum is crisp with grassy notes. A great rum as a cocktail base, a bottle sells for about $26.95.
Produced in Weeki Wachee, the mermaid capital of the world, this 100-proof gold rum is made from sugarcane grown from the distiller's own crops. The rum is then aged in the distillery's Wild Buck whiskey barrels for 90 days, imparting sweet and smokey notes. The rum sells for $39.99 a bottle.