Monday, March 04, 2013

A Trip To LeClaire Iowa -- In Search Of Rum

This last weekend we found ourselves in Le Claire Iowa. For many this is Home Base for Antique Archeology the business used in the show American Pickers. Yes, we did go there and visit but once done we took in the town in general. Have to tell you, it is ready for visitors and even though the day we were there the temperature never got above 30, it was brilliantly sunny, there still was a good amount of people walking around taking in the town. Le Claire is quite beautiful. The buildings in the downtown are restored and it is Antique Heaven.
They have some nice restaurants and I can recommend The Blue Iguana as I had a perfectly delicious Chili Relleno there. There are places that offer sandwiches and others all the way to fine dining. The smells in the air will revive any appetite!
Do not pass up a chance to visit The Mississippi River Distilling Company. They have a nice little distillery along the main street and wonderful views of the Mighty Mississip' from their tasting room. They offer tours (free!), nearly every hour they are open. Our tour was hosted by Scott, one of the Distillers. His knowledge and pride showed in his talk. He took us through the equipment from mash to bottling; pointing out one of the more beautiful Pot Stills I have seen in some time. Their pride and joy! Two distillation/filter towers completed the actual distillation section and their mash, cooling, mixing tanks rounded out the entire operation. Their pride in using as many local ingredients and products as possible added the craftsmanship of their Distilled Spirits. They offer Vodka, Bourbon, Gin and seasonal spirits. One such spirit is their Sorghum rum, Dry Dock Sorghrum. Rather than molasses they use... well let me have them explain it in this quote from their website:

“Mississippi River Distilling Company is excited to announce the release of their newest seasonal product, “Dry Dock Sorghrum” on February 1, 2013. Known for incorporating local ingredients in their spirits, MRDC partnered with a new Iowa business on this product. This time Maasdam Sorghum Mills near Lynnville, Iowa has provided sorghum syrup that was crafted into a unique rum.

“The whole idea of the seasonal spirits is to bring some unique products to the market and also partner with other local businesses,” Ryan Burchett, MRDC owner and distiller, says. “We’ve had so many people ask us for rum. But rum is made from sugar cane and molasses. But we finally figured out a way to put a local spin on it and we invented ‘sorghrum.’”
MRDC used sorghum syrup made in an early 1900’s style steam powered sorghum press at the Maasdam Farm. They fermented the sorghum syrup along with sugar and then distilled it into a spirit. That spirit went into a new, charred barrel for a short age before hitting the bottle.
“This was so much fun to have something come along that allowed us to be a little creative a put a totally new spin on an old favorite.” remarks owner and distiller Garrett Burchett. “We purposely short aged this one so we wouldn’t cover up the unique flavor of the sorghum. It left some interesting cinnamon and nutmeg notes. We think spiced rum drinkers will like this one.”
The name is meant to play off of the unique history of the spirit. “When people think of rum, they think of the Caribbean. We want to give that feeling, but this one came from waves of grain, not from the sea.”
The project has been in the works since last year and is finally hitting the market tomorrow. Retailers all across Iowa can purchase Dry Dock Sorghrum from the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division in Ankeny. Production was limited to only 5,000 bottles. Distillers expect to have it in stock through the spring. In April, the popular Queen Bee Honey Whiskey will return as the spring seasonal.
Mississippi River Distilling Company is celebrating the release of the new spirit at their First Friday event held Friday, Feb. 1 from 5:30 – 8 p.m. Recipes made with Dry Dock Sorghrum and other MRDC spirits will be available for sampling along with a special Valentine’s Day rocks glass giveaway to patrons who purchase bottles of spirits during the event.”
Seeing as I was there the second of March we were able to taste the “rum”. Believe me – it was worth it. We snapped up a bottle and I will be rating it ASAP at Rum Ratings. I found it different and very good. The caramel flavor of many standard rums was not there – but a floral sweet taste stands out. I was intrigued by the finish as vanilla makes a pleasant appearance at the end and it leaves your palette and mouth with a clean, sweet flavor. You can taste that it has spent time in a barrel and the color is a light amber. Being a new barrel, the charred wood essence is exceptionally clean and light.
This blog has more than the normal amount of pictures – but I had so much fun there and can highly recommend both the tour and the products, that I had to show the place off a bit...

So until next time – I remain.....

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