Monday, December 23, 2013

Happy Holidays from Us to You

This is Rick - you personal Rum Runner wishing you and yours the Happiest of Holidays and hope that 2014 is better, healthier and more full of happiness and success to you all. When I sat down to type this all out I had little idea of what I had to say, but once here, I find a flood of messages and ideas to share.
We've had a great time. Who thought that a little idea I had just more than a year ago would grow so big in this time. Who would think that just a year ago at this time I had only visited 2 Distilleries in my life? Just a year later, over a dozen!
To the Distillers and owners and workers in these and every distillery I have had contact with, even if just an email or two; Thank you. Thanks for answering and being so gracious and helpful, so friendly and accommodating. The tours, the tastings, the souvenirs of our visits are greatly appreciated. Your stories of passion and resolute strength to succeed has been exciting and inspiring to be around and to have heard. The humor and openness is so refreshing. It IS a whole new community.
Let me tell you faithful readers, those of you, like myself, are here for the booze. We seek pleasure, satisfaction, perhaps a bit of Zen from a titillated drink that, on the surface, isn't hard to make. like Chess - easy to play, a lifetime of pursuit to master. So is the making of Rum. 
One thing that has stood out is the community of Distillery Masters who know each other, they compete against each other, they pursue the same awards, rewards, markets and customers, yet they respect each other. Sure, they each know that their recipe, their still, their marketing and niche is the one, the best. Yet, they also know they share much of that and most, while making a living, really want to just be heard.
I remember my first distillery tour (you know who you are - but I will not identify you here). I was wondering how I'd be accepted. I had only written a few blog entries and really had only the knowledge of what I had read about making rum to propel me into a conversation with one who made the spirit. I am a bit shy in person, most people don't know that as I will make myself move forward and make that first contact. It is like magic, a few minutes and I am fine. Of course bad experiences can hurt that process and I had no idea what to expect.

Just some of the great places we've seen and sampled, or hope to sample soon...
It was fascinating. The Distiller was open, informative, humorous, passionate and open to the idea of having someone who wanted to share their experiences with craft rum with others. Face it, we all know it's a business and spreading the word is important. Often though, manufacturers and business tend to follow the rules and regulations that are set down. New methods - or different ways of delivery are not always accepted. As I said earlier though, this is a different breed.
Rum makers are rum drinkers, rum drinkers and makers tend to be fun people who really just want others to share the fun What more could a guy learning about alcohol and its making and mixing and drinking, want?
So readers, and to those readers that are not makers, but are more like me -- enthusiasts.... Spread the word, let others know. Rick The Rum Runner is the portal to almost every rum distillery in the US. Our Facebook page, American Made Rum, is loaded with input from those who make and enjoy this spirit. Please visit it and click the like button, it makes me feel good and lets me know there are others out ther that want to learn - test and enjoy.... Rum

This will be the last entry for me in 2013. I'll be back Monday, January 6th. I hope to have updated the tings than need updating - I hope to have new news and more adventures for you. I hope you'll be here to read them, comment upon them and invite more to do the same. Please stop by during our downtime - I may have tidbits here for those faithful. Plus you can see if I really AM making and changes or just having fun with family and friends...

Best to you, yours and those closest to you. I remain:

See you in 2014!! -- Lick the glass!

Friday, December 20, 2013

Rum search -- Louisiana!

Here at RTRR we scour the Earth (no we don't; we peruse the internet) looking for new Rum Distillers (remember new to us is new... they may be 25 years old -- but to us, they are new) to talk about and add to our always growing list.
Today - I'd like to introduce Donner-Peltier Distillers, makers of Rougaroux Rum. They have three Rums to offer and since we have not had the pleasure to have tasted - I'll let the Donner-Peltier people tell us more - from their website:

Full Moon Dark Rum
Deep in the heart of Southern Louisiana Cajun country lurks a mysterious creature called
the Rougaroux, (Roo ga roo). It lingers in the sugarcane fields, emerging only during the full moon to exact justice on the wicked. Because of their monster flavor, we chose this name for our rums. We start with pure black strap molasses and raw sugar grown and milled from a family owned farm just down the road from our distillery located in the middle of the cane fields in Thibodaux, Louisiana. Our Full Moon Dark Rum is aged on white oak for smoothness and flavor, with no extracts, caramel or artificial ingredients added.
The whiskey sipper's rum.  Laid back, oaky, and mysterious, our premium dark rum speaks for itself without saying a word. don't want to wake the Rougaroux....

Deep in the heart of the Southern Louisiana Cajun country lurks a mysterious creature called the Rougaroux, (Roo ga roo). It lingers in the sugarcane fields, emerging only during the full moon to exact justice on the wicked, its curse lasting 101 days. Our American Style 101 proof rum delivers monstrous power, with a bold molasses flavor and a lingering sweetness unique to sugarcane grown in Louisiana. We start with sugar grown and milled from a family owned farm just down the road from our distillery located in Thibodaux, Louisiana.  Handcrafted each step of the way – from farm to bottle and cane to cocktail.
Our clear rum is not your grandmother's clear rum!  We purposely decided to deviate from conventional wisdom and produce a "Rum Moonshine" - hot, bold, massive, with enough punch to sear right through you.  And that's what Sugarshine does.

However, a funny thing happened on the way to the bar: we discovered that the thick molasses and brown sugar character of Sugarshine is absolutely fantastic in cocktails.  If you want your rum and coke to taste like coke, buy something else. If you want it to taste like rum, you've found your nirvana.

Rougaroux 13 Pennies
Deep in the heart of Southern Louisiana Cajun Country lurks a mysterious creature known as the
Rougaroux, (Roo ga roo). It lingers in the sugarcane fields and swamps, emerging only during a full moon to exact justice on the wicked. Legend has it that 13 pennies laid outside your door will protect you. The Rougaroux cannot count past the number 12 and keep trying until the sun rises and he has to retreat back to his lair. Our 13 Pennies Praline Rum begins with only locally produced raw sugar and molasses and is flavored with toasted pecans, local craft-made cane syrup, and Madagascar vanilla beans. Our rum is handcrafted in small batches at our distillery, located in the middle of a sugarcane field in Thibodaux, Louisiana. And yes…. There are 13 Pennies right outside our front door.

 Alright, that made me thirsty..... As usual, they are on my "To Taste" list. I would appreciate any comments from those of you who HAVE tasted any or all of their rum... When you have a chance please stop by their website and let them know you found them through Rick The Rum Runner!
That's it for now --- See you Next Week!!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Midweek mulling

I don't know what the weather is like in your neck-of-the-woods, but in the Chicagoland area it really looks a lot like Christmas! Yeah it is seasonably cold but we get those pesky snows where it falls -1-3 inches then it waits a day (or so) then another 1-3 and so on. Its good and bad really as you don't get snowed in and it keeps what is already on the ground looking nice a crisp and new.

That brings us to rum. Right now many are coming up with new drinks or reviving the old and yeah that is great. In fact, let me direct you to (Who carry RTRR blog on their site as well) where they have a huge listing and just so many mouthwatering rum drinks. Really, check the link... It's already set up for Rum and it is SO good. I should have recipes just all over my blog, but that's not me. I'll give you the links and a few recipes I find exceptional, but I'd rather talk - well talk and show. I go for the written word and I like to find images that mover that monologue along.

Let's look at American Made Rum and see what is being talked about.

From our friends at Ugly Dog:
Ruger wants to remind you that there is still time to pick up your Ugly Dog favorites in time for Christmas giving!


A bit from Muddy River Distillers
The day after The Big Sip 1st place win, a couple of "Muddy Marys" are needed! Go Panthers!
Looks like the Rum Elves at Tailwinds Distillery have been hard at work too!
Batch #3 of Taildragger Amber Rum aged for 1 full year in Rye Whiskey Barrels. Just in time for the Holidays. Say "I Love You" with RUM!
Looks like The Striped Pig Distillery has an on the street ambassador.... 
Belly rubs are the best!

See ya Friday!


Monday, December 16, 2013

A Monday Rumdate......

Your personal Runner here with some news, updates and stuff from around the rum cask.

If you recall our last blog, we were searching for a Hawaiian Rum Company called Kolani. I had said that it might be in the infancy stage and we'd try to make contact and get the story. Well I emailed Paul (to be truthful - no last name or as is most likely I have not seen it) at the email I could find. He emailed back and I am just going to paste the entire content for you.

Hello Rick,

Thanks for writing.   Kolani makes Old Lahaina Rums (website is   Our story is on that site.   We are on Facebook as well.  We are the best-selling local rum in Hawaii by far and have more than 400 businesses who sell our products on all the Hawaiian islands.   We are poured in the very best restaurants, at five star resorts, as well as motorcycle bars.   We are proud to be local and made in Hawaii – home of the finest sugar cane in the world.

We have mostly focused on making and selling our rum rather than entering contests.   We did enter one contest when we first released our product in 2010 just to understand how the process of judging and awards work.   It’s a pretty messed up system so virtually every rum you see has some kind of award they talk about winning.   We won a couple of bronze metals at that event.    Mainly we rely on growing sales and phone calls from former Hawaii visitors who ran out of the bottle they took home as the true measures of how we are doing.   Anyway, Old Lahaina is only distributed in Hawaii at this point.   We hand make everything and there’s only so many hours in a day.   We are just happy to be the local favorite in the face of several serious local competitors.   There’s only one Internet seller of our rum here in Hawaii

Thanks for your interest.  Bring your surfboard and come visit us some time.   We’ll turn the steam down on the stills and do some “quality control” testing !



So, I have to say this place just smacks of real Hawaii! Not worried about awards, not looking to make sure it's distributed to the world. No, Lahaina Rums are worried about making the best possible product... Don't worry, Paul, I have some readers (and myself) who will get to that internet distributor and make sure we taste your rum. 
Lahaina Rums have three products a White, a Gold and their Dark. I have to tell you, I'll be trying to get hold of some and get back to you ASAP!

On another level, got a great recipe using rum to make a cordial. It's from one of my Wife's cousins and the sample I had was real good. Worth a try for you Alcohol Alchemists.

Vanilla Cordial
  • 3-4     Whole vanilla beans, split length-wise
  • 2        Cups sugar combined 
  •                         with 
  • 2        Cups of water to make a simple syrup
  • 2        Cups of rum. The sample I had was made with an amber rum -- it was great -- so for now that is my recommendation.
  • 1        Empty bottle large enough to hold the ingredients.

  • Scrape the inside of the Vanilla Beans with the tip of a knife.
  • Save the remaining outer beans
  • Combine the water and Sugar and heat in a saucepan. Use medium heat, hot enough to dissolve all the sugar into the hot water. 
  • Combine all the parts of the beans, the rum and the Syrup into the bottle
  • You can adjust to taste - a bit more Rum for strength, more syrup for sweetness, or just a bit of water for all-over tempering.
  • Store the closed bottle in a dark place for at least a week. You can strain the mixture to remove the beans and minute floaties but if you leave them in the flavor intensifies. Keep remainders seal in the bottle in a cool place
 Linda Kinne

 Thank you Linda -- and for now -- I am Outta Here!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Rum Search - 2013 --- Missouri


We have a number of Distilleries on our list. Please go to the right of the blog and look at the list, by state of all Distilleries we know. The list changes often so refer to it whenever you feel a Rum Road Trip about to happen.

I have come across a couple of new (new to me) Distilleries that offer an American Made Rum:
First is Big Rock Distillery. 
Try as we might all we could find is this informative byte of information:
Big Rock Distillery LLC, Walnut Shade, MO 65771
Phone: (417) 294-0375, Address: 1901 Day Road, Walnut Shade, MO 65771. Big Rock Distillery LLC - Light Distillates for Walnut Shade, MO. 

So -- kind of a bust on that one...
Next in line? The Stable in St Louis....
Guess what? -- Gone! Closed - Kaput!

However we do know of two ongoing Distilleries that have been on our list for some time -- please, if you plan to visit ot live near these distilleries - stop by and tell them they were recommended by me - Rick The Rum Runner!

While I have not tasted it -  theirs sounds like a great rum -- tracing its heritage way back. Just read what they have to say about it:
"Island Gold Rum is our robust distilled spirit made from blackstrap molasses.  The Ozarks has a historical connection to molasses as a supplement due to its nutritional value as well as its pungent sweet flavor.
The molasses embodies a energetic powerful aroma that creates a full mouthed experience when drinking this spirit.  Lingering hints of raisin can be detected from the barrels we use.  Our barrels have a romantic history of once having dwelled in France storing wine before sojourning to Stone Hill Winery in Herman, Missouri where they resided aging cream sherry until finally making their way on yet another venture emitting character into our rum.
Our carefully slow cooked processing creates a gold rum that can and perhaps should be slowly sipped and savored. Buy Gold Rum Online Now.
We commonly hear from our visitors that they never really liked rum until they tasted Copper Run Rum"

A Brewery and Distillery -- When near St Louis, plan to stop by. Here is what they say about their Rums:

Our Island Time Rums are made from 100% gold cane syrup molasses directly from the cane fields of Florida.

Our Island Time Crystal & Amber Rums are currently available on the market.  Our Amber rum starts as the Crystal.  It is then aged in oak casks, giving it the characteristic amber color and adds slight vanilla overtones & mellowness.  BTI reviewed the Amber Rum and it scored 87 points, awarding it a Silver Medal.

So while we found a few Distillers in MO that have bit the Dust - These two seem to be ready and able to quench that thirst and wash the dust away.
Till next time -- Just call me -


Monday, December 09, 2013

Rum Search 2013 -- More Hawaiian Rum!

We left off last time finding Haleaka Distillery. This time we discover Kolani Distillers LLC. This one seems to be in its infancy. The website just shows they are under construction. I have sent email to them and hope we can expand upon them in the future.

In the meantime, Kōloa Rum Company has been on our list since my list began. I have to say I have not explored it much since teh chances of going to Hawaii were remote, but - I do believe we have people who are planning a trip and I hope they would include a visit to the Distillery. Also any Hawaiians that read RTRR might be pleasantly surprised that there are at least two operating Distilleries in the Islands and perhaps a third. Let's look at:

Kōloa Rum Company
From their website we find -- This information about them and Koloa Rum;
"Carefully and skillfully handcrafted from the finest sugarcane and the pure, abundant water sources on the island of Kaua`i, Hawaii, our award winning, premium rums are twice distilled in single batches.
Pure mountain rainwater from Mt. Wai`ale`ale and the nearby mountain peaks and
rainforests is captured and slowly filtered through volcanic strata before finally reaching vast underground aquifers. Kaua`i water imparts its own unique taste and "mouth feel" that perfectly complements our rum. This, combined with the “tall cane” sugarcane, results in our truly unique and delicious Kaua`i White, Gold, Dark and Spice Rum."

- 2012 Bronze Medal, San Francisco Spirits Competition
- 2010 Bronze Medal, 5 th Annual International Rum Festival

Dry and crisp with hints of oak, licorice and toasted sugars. Clean and inviting, with a fruity pineapple finish.

- 2012 Silver Medal, San Francisco Spirits Competition
- 2010 Silver Medal, 5 th Annual International Rum Festival

Vivid golden oak in appearance, with hints of molasses, candied apple and vanilla on the nose. Slightly sweet, with a burnt sugar and candied lemon finish.

- 2012 Bronze Medal, San Francisco Spirits Competition
- 2011 Gold Medal Best in Class, Miami Rum Renaissance Festival
- 2011 Gold Medal, Miami Rum Renaissance Festival
- 2010 Gold Medal, Miami Rum Renaissance Festival
- 2010 Silver Medal, 5 th Annual International Rum Festival

Rich coffee and molasses hues in the glass, with coffee and brown sugar on the nose. Notes of vanilla, cotton candy, roasted nuts, caramel apple and burnt orange peel. A long finish, with plenty of wood and toast.

- 2012 Silver Medal, San Francisco Spirits Competition

- 2011 Bronze Medal, Miami Rum Renaissance Festival

Produced from a proprietary spice blend, golden wheat in color, with hints of spice cake on the nose. Extremely well-balanced with a hint of caramel and vanilla and a long, smooth finish. 

A taste of Hawaii in a glass with hints of young coconut, toasted coconut and
cocoa flavors with a smooth, natural tasting finish. 

This is a great sounding place to visit and here is the information they supply. Please go to their website as this is just some excepts from their nicely done, informative site.

Visitors can sample our rums at our premier plantation-style Tasting Room & Company Store, located on the grounds of the Historic Kilohana Plantation. The Company Store features our premium rums and a variety of Kaua`i Made, island-style gifts and souvenirs.
The building was designed and constructed in harmony with the historical feel of the plantation and is authentic Hawaiiana. View our 50 gallon, handmade demonstration copper pot still at our Tasting Room & Company Store. Please make us a part of your next Hawaiian vacation!
We are pleased to welcome visitors to our Tasting Room & Company Store.

Store Hours
Tasting Room Hours *
9:30AM to 5:00PM
10:00AM to 3:30PM
9:30AM to 9:00PM
10:00AM to 7:30PM
9:30AM to 5:00PM
10:00AM to 3:30PM
9:30AM to 6:30PM
10:00AM to 5:00PM
9:30AM to 9:00PM
10:00AM to 7:30PM
9:30AM to 5:00PM
10:00AM to 3:30PM
9:30AM to 3:00PM
10:00AM to 2:00PM
* Tastings are every 1/2 hour, on the hour and the 1/2 hour. First tasting each day begins at 10:00AM and last tasting listed above by day.

I was IMMENSELY happy to find that Koloa Rum is available in my home state and by mail-order as well!
Please go to the site and find your distributor and/or the mail-order site you can order from.

I have left you with SO much -- Till next time - I remain

Friday, December 06, 2013

Rum Search - Viva Hawaii!

We continue our search for new or overlooked Rum Distillers today -- looking now to the West; the
Way West! We find ourselves in Hawaii. Perfect, considering the temperatures many of us are experiencing now, Hawaii sounds wonderful!

Haleakala Distillers
This Distiller on Maui lays claim to the honor of being, "Hawai'i's oldest, most award-winning craft distiller." I have to admit their rums sound great. But more on that near the end of this.

First, we have Maui Dark Rum:
  • Winner of Gold Medal, 2009 
  • Winner of Silver Medal, 2008 
  • Both at International Rum Festival, Ybor City, FL 
  • Superb float on top of an authentic Maui Mai-Tai. 
  • This is the Dark Rum you will get if you order a Mai-Tai from the bar at the Westin Maui Resort, Haliimaile General Store, Merrimans Monkeypod, Roys  and many other well-known restaurants, bars and hotels all over Hawaii. 

You can take a bottle home in your checked luggage.  It will not open in transit, and is legal on all airlines,  in CHECKED LUGGAGE.

They have Maui Gold Rum: 

  • Favorable reviews, including a National Best ranking by Chicago Tribune in 2008.
  • This mellow, complex sipping rum has been compared with Golds from Caribbean distilleries over 300 years old, whose products cost $40++ per bottle.
  • You can take a bottle home from Maui, legal on all airlines in CHECKED LUGGAGE.  Sold at all fine spirits retailers in Hawaii.  Full list to the left, click on Where 2 Buy Hawaii.
  • Also available via Internet for delivery to most states.  

Man, this sounds deadly: BRADDAH KIMO'S EXTREME 155 PROOF RUM

  • Our most award-winning rum.  
  • 2 Golds and a Silver.      
  • Strongest rum you can buy.  

Oh my...!

They also offer this -- Pineapple Flavored Rum

Flavored with real Maui Gold Pineapple from Haliimaile Pineapple Co.   
Sweet like the pineapple and perfect for making real Maui Mai Tais and many other tropical drinks.

In reading their website, I notice they do not sell outside the islands much. They do have a growing list of places you can get their Rums. They do sound good so I may explore getting some here at the Rum Cave....

Next time we will explore another Hawaiian Distiller that offers a Sugar Cane Rum --- Save us as a favorite or get us on FeedSpot!!

So stay warm, think Hawaii and Aloha til next time!!