Sugarcane plantations in the Caribbean began distilling rum during the 17th century from molasses, an inexpensive byproduct of the sugar refining process. The spirit came to the U.S. in 1664 with the opening of the first rum distillery on Staten Island and continued to grow in popularity through the Revolutionary War. Rum has come a long way since those early days when it was known as “Kill Devil”, and distilleries across the nation are experimenting with how to craft the finest variations.
Cape Coral, Fla.
Cape Coral, Fla.
Founded in 2012, Wicked Dolphin Distillery uses 100-percent Florida-grown sugarcane to create small-batch rums in a traditional copper pot still. The spirit then gets aged in used American white oak Kentucky bourbon barrels for a minimum of one year (and up to 14 years). Wicked Dolphin also produces a silver rum, coconut rum (made from real coconut water) and Rumshine, a 100-proof spirit made from fresh local strawberries.
Taildragger rums from Tailwinds Distilling are never charcoal or chill filtered in order to preserve the natural flavors of the raw cane sugar molasses. The line includes a white rum, rye whiskey barrel-aged amber rum, coffee infused rum and a French oak-aged After Dark rum with mocha and caramel notes.
The top 10 winners Best Craft Rum Distillery are as follows:
- Wicked Dolphin - Cape Coral, Fla.
- Tailwinds Distilling - Plainfield, Ill.
- Roulaison Distilling Co - New Orleans
- Lyon Distilling Company - St. Michaels, Md.
- New Holland Artisan Spirits - Holland, Mich.
- Cutwater Spirits - San Diego
- Calwise Spirits Co - San Diego
- Malahat Spirits - San Diego
- Richland Distilling Company - Richland, Ga.
- Allegheny Distilling - Pittsburgh
Congratulations to all these winning distilleries.