The third expression in the Distillery Collection — Diplomático Pot Still Rum defines and delivers the rich essence of Diplomático’s signature style.
The distillery in La Miel, Venezuela has a long history of producing fine rums, using traditional copper pot stills, as well as batch and column stills. This expression highlights the classic John Dore copper pots — originally used in Scotland to produce whisky — that provide the heart of robust and delightful flavor in the various blends.
Here, isolated for reference, is the pot still component, made from sugar cane honey in a long fermentation cycle, before resting in small American white oak casks for eight years.
At 47% ABV, the rich, deep and complex flavor profile easily embodies this higher proof spirit with a fine balance. The resulting intensity earns Diplomático Pot Still Rum a reputation as a fine sipper or a potent component in any classic cocktail.
The deep amber color signals a well rested spirit. Aromas of sweet fruit cake and vanilla are accented by toasted oak, smoked honey, caramel and dark fruit. On the palate, a dry entry of charred oak, coffee and cocoa leads to a suggestion of burnt sugar and toffee before ripe dark fruits linger in the long, complex, warm finish.
This limited edition Diplomático Pot Still Rum — Number 3 in the Distillery Collection — bottled at 94 proof, is available throughout the USA with a list price of about $79.
A visit to Maggie’s Farm Rum Distillery in Pittsburgh is an opportunity to experience the production of award-winning American rums. Master Distiller Tim Russell presents a successful philosophy and confident approach to his production techniques, delivering an array of fine rums with consistency.
a selection of Maggie’s Farm Rums at the tasting bar with copper pot stills in the background
Located just off the Allegheny River in the Strip District, the rum distillery features a large inviting open cocktail bar space with clear view of the two alembic copper pot stills, fermentation tanks and racks of aging barrels.
two alembic style copper pot stills produce the distillate for Maggie’s Farm Rums
Maggie’s Farm Rum Awards
At least a hundred awards are displayed on Maggie’s Farm Rum bottles, a testament to the positive feedback from professionals, rum judges and tasting events around the world. Numerous Best-In-Show, Double Gold and Best-In-Class awards — including eight from the International Rum Experts and the Rum Jury at the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival — speak to the quality of the product from this young American rum company.
Maggie’s Farm Rums have earned many awards from prestigious tasting competitions
The first commercial craft rum operation in Pennsylvania since the era of prohibition began as a modest venture — without significant investment or bank loans — to create authentic, unadulterated spirits using the best available ingredients, including Caribbean-derived yeasts and Louisiana Turbinado raw cane products. Long fermentation times — up to three weeks — help deliver high esters and big flavor before careful, rustic distillation techniques serve to retain much of the spirit of cane.
The result is a delightful distillate that serves as the base for the white rums, the barrel aged dark rums and all the natural flavored rums in the lineup. It’s clear from the dry profile that modifiers, sweeteners and extraneous ingredients are not in the recipe for Maggie’s Farm Rums.
the fresh clear distillate from the pot still is the base for Maggie’s Farm Rums
The White Rum is a delight, offering soft notes of cane and vanilla, with a hint of butter in the finish. It’s a fine base for all of our favorite rum cocktails and makes a nice sipper with a couple of ice cubes.
Single Barrel Rum
In the Single Barrel Rum, we experience the distillate after the mellowing influence of two years in oak casks, picking up more pronounced notes of vanilla, caramel and toasted oak. This small batch aged rum is a sterling example of the craft distiller’s art form, well balanced and complex for a rum of its age.
Queen’s Share Overproof Reserve Series
Perhaps the most notable of the expressions in the Maggie’s Farm Rum lineup is the Queen’s Share Overproof Reserve series. The name refers to the technique of re-distilling the tails — the most flavorful and pungent portions of the distillate to come off the still late in the process — to refine and extract the very best of these components for special barrelings in used rye, Bourbon and sherry casks. The results are intensely rich, higher proof sipping rums that deliver a magnificent intensity, complexity and depth of flavor.
50/50 Dark Rum
An example of creative experimentation exists with the 50/50 Dark Rum, combining their own pot still aged spirits in equal measures with a well-aged molasses based, column-distilled rum from the Caribbean. The 50/50 blend is aged for an additional six to nine months to marry the flavors, resulting a a delightfully complex and well-balanced expression that manages to remain unpretentious and satisfying while offering good value.
Taking experimentation to the next level, Tim Russell has developed Maggie’s Farm Spiced Rum, an exceptional expression that wows the rum judges and consumers with its unique blend of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and freshly grated orange zest.
Another variation on the 50/50 concept is the Pineapple Rum, derived by macerating fresh pineapple in dark rum, blended with a vapor distillation of their white rum through pineapple barks to capture the natural oils. These two components are combined to capture the full essence of the fruit in a rich rum base. It’s a complicated technique that delivers an exceptional product.
Old Fashioned Cocktail
A creative riff on the classic Old Fashioned cocktail, Maggie’s Farm Old Fashioned starts with rum aged in rye whiskey barrels with additional oak cubes to accentuate the wood notes. A balanced addition of Louisiana turbinado sugar and aromatic bitters creates the base flavor profile for the MFOF bottled cocktail, ready to be poured over ice in a tumbler, accented with a wedge of orange peel.
Likewise, rum cocktail enthusiasts know that Falernum is an enticing and mysterious ingredient that makes classic cocktails like Corn and Oil, Three Dots and A Dash, and the Velvet Fog perennial favorites. Maggie’s Farm Falernum is created in small batches using fresh ginger, grated lime zest, toasted whole cloves and toasted allspice berries, added to the white rum. An exceptional ingredient made to the quality standards that defines Maggie’s Farm products.
Sourcing fresh roasted, fair-trade coffee beans locally, Maggie’s Farm Coffee Liqueur uses the cold-brew technique accented with house-made vanilla extract and a touch of dark brown sugar to achieve a perfect balance.
Hidden Harbor Special White Rum
A recent addition to the fine expressions is a purpose-derived blend for Hidden Harbor tiki bar located in Pittsburgh’s Squirrel Hill. The concept was to create a multi-layered white rum to serve as the base for a perfect Daiquiri cocktail, combining Maggie’s Farm white rum, Queen’s Share rum and carefully sourced distillates from Jamaica, Guyana, Martinique, Barbados and Trinidad. The result is distinctly flavorful and aromatic, with a molasses funk and a smooth grassiness that accentuates the true spirit of cane.
Maggie’s Farm Rum Distillery Tours
Master Distiller Tim Russell presents an overview of production techniques for Maggie’s Farm Rums
For American Rum enthusiasts, a visit to Allegheny Distilling in Pittsburgh is a high-priority to experience the source of Maggie’s Farm Rums.
One hour distillery tours on Saturdays are $20, featuring an overview of the fermentation, distillation and aging processes before a tasting of rums and liqueurs at the bar. Guests receive a custom-branded Maggie’s Farm Rum tasting glass as a souvenir. RSVP online.
The Cocktail Bar is open on Wednesday and Thursday from 4 to 10pm, on Friday and Saturday from noon to 1pm, and on Sunday from noon to 6pm.
Allegheny Distillers, home of Maggie’s Farm Rum, is located at 3212A Smallman Street in Pittsburgh, PA 15201. Call 412-709-6480. https://www.maggiesfarmrum.com/
With a nod to the backwater regions of Southwest Florida, Alligator Bay Distillers is a family-run operation producing a line of boutique rum products from their production facility in Punta Gorda, Florida.
Alex Voss with Robin and Robert Burr at Alligator Bay Distillers
Alex Voss grew up in Naples, a small town south of Fort Myers. In 2012, he moved to Maui, Hawaii where he learned to make rum. He started as an apprentice and worked his way up to distiller at Haleakalā Distillers.
Returning to Naples, Alex brought home his knowledge of cane spirit production, collaborating with family members to launch their own facility in 2015.
While Alex concentrates on rum production, brother Ben Voss leads the marketing efforts and serves as chief mechanic at Alligator Bay Distillers.
We arrived on a Saturday afternoon for a look around and a tour of the facility. Alex welcomed us and spoke of his process and philosophy of making rum at Alligator Bay Distillers.
Starting with molasses from Clewiston — the legendary sugar town near Lake Okeechobee — Alex has perfected his fermentation process with an ideal active dry yeast strain that thrives in the warm humid climate of Southwest Florida. The fermentation process takes seven days and produces a rum mash with an alcohol content of 8%.
The distillation process involves double distillation in a traditional copper pot still to 70% abv, retaining much of the molasses and cane flavors in his distillate.
The aging room is completely filled with resting oak barrels. The aroma of rum and wood is enticing — and certainly whets the appetite for the next stop on the tour — the tasting room.
Alligator Bay rums
Indeed, the clear rum retains a true flavor of cane and serves as the base for the spiced rum. The Sun Gold rum is lightly aged and the addition of Black Mangrove honey offers a nice finish. The Saba Treasure offers a subtle hint of fennel.
You’re sure to enjoy a visit to NJoy Distillery, the producers of Florida Mermaid Rum.
Just beyond the bustling modern suburbs, remnants of the pioneer era of west central Florida remain hidden in plain sight. Several miles down a sandy dirt road, an old hunting cabin has been transformed into the paradisaical home of NJoy Distillery.
Persistence pays off as you near the entrance to this large ranch property just north of Weeki Wachee’s famed clear springs and mermaid shows, hidden within a massive undeveloped state park.
NJoy Distillery Tour
You’ll be surprised and delighted to discover what Natalie and Kevin Goff have created in this rustic environment. It’s more than a craft distillery, artfully tucked into a barn. It’s a working spirit production facility that begs to be seen and admired by rum enthusiast visitors from near and far.
the hand-hammered copper pot still at NJoy Distillery
As you gaze off in the distance of this large farm, beyond the old water wheel, past the horse stables, six acres of tall green sugar cane — featuring seven different varietals — grows in long rows.
A small stream running from the picturesque waterwheel leads to a large pond with a tall fountain. This is old Florida revisited. This is a special place.
Kevin gives us the tour of the works, established in 2012, starting with the crusher, fermentation and distillation sections of the barn. They’re collecting rain water — filtered three times — for the mash and proofing.
This still is a beauty — a classic 300 liter (80 gallon) hand-hammered alembic-style copper pot still from Portugal.
Florida Mermaid Rum
Their popular Florida Mermaid Rum — with a nod to the local Weeki Wachee natural attraction — features their own boutique rum blended with a special Caribbean pot still rum, bottled at 100 proof, without colorings or flavorings.
NJoy Distillery – Florida Mermaid Rum
Only steps away, the blended rum rests in 25 large Wild Buck Whiskey barrels in an outdoor shipping container for 90 days.
The nose begins with bold aromas of black banana, flowers and butter. Next, vanilla and almond emerge over oak with a big funky fruit basket.
On the palate, complex esters offer a delightfully fruity astringent entry that evolves to big warmth in the mid-palate. Wood and brown butter dominate before some baking spice as the finish slowly fades.
Mermaid Rum is now available in many Florida locations, including ABC Fine Wine & Spirits and Total Wines & More, distributed by Republic National Distributing. The 750ml bottle retails for $39.95.
NJoy Distillery Products
NJoy is also home to Wild Buck Whiskey, made from 401 black rye grown on the farm, plus Ryes In Shine moonshine.
The farm also hosts 600 bee hives for pollination, as well as a source for delicious honey for sale. A local baker delivers fresh rum cakes every weekend, adding a delightful element to the visit.
The NJoy Distillery is open for free tours and tastings every weekend from 11am to 3pm, with tasty cocktails to imbibe on the shady deck by the pond. Take home a bottle of Florida Mermaid Rum, Wild Buck Whiskey, Ryes In Shine, some local honey and a rum cake.
The address is 7237 Wild Buck Rd, Weeki Wachee, FL 34613. Call 352-592-9622.
Hidden in the midst of a cane field, on a road that’s far from any highway, an open-air boutique distillery is attracting the attention of rum enthusiasts with their classic plantation method of turning sugar cane into rum. Sugar Sand Distillery crushes their own cane, ferments the fresh juice daily and uses their wood-encased copper pot still to make small batches of rum — the same way it was done centuries ago.
Sugar Sand Distillery features an open-air copper pot still hidden in the midst of a tall cane field.
The result is a simple and delicious cane spirit.
Some of the rum is maturing in small oak barrels to be bottled as golden aged rum.
Rum’s Natural Environment
Way out on Henscratch Road, near the town of Lake Placid, Florida, we found Don Davies and Jessica Giffin (the Distillery Queen) busy hosting folks in their tasting room and overseeing the craft distillation equipment they use to make fresh rum.
In the background, tall green sugar cane stalks are swaying in the gentle breeze of a former citrus grove, cleverly fed by a hydroponic system that delivers water and nutrients directly to the base of each plant. It’s a modern and efficient method for raising cane (pun intended) in the sandy soil of south central Florida, a by-product of Don’s decades of experience in the fertilizer industry.
Sugar Sand Distillery Philosophy
“We didn’t know what we didn’t know when we started,” Don tells us. “Apparently no one else does it this way in Florida. We want to grow our own cane, rather than use molasses. We have a special device that peels the cane before crushing for a cleaner juice. And, we want to make each small batch by hand so we can control the process. It’s about quality, not quantity at Sugar Sand Distillery.”
There’s plenty of enthusiasm in the tasting room, as visitors savor the rum made only 20 feet away in a still that looks like something borrowed from a Willy Wonka movie. It tastes like cane, with a bit of smoky flavor from the heavily charred oak barrels. The sense of discovering something new and unique is a delight to those that make the journey.
Sugar Sand Rum from Lake Placid, Florida is a limited edition authentic boutique craft spirit.
Distribution is a challenge, but they’re making steady progress throughout Florida. Sugar Sand Distillery also sells a moonshine and a vodka product made from cane. Almost everyone buys a bottle or three when they visit the distillery and that makes a big difference to the bottom line for this emerging production facility.
Visiting Florida Rum Distilleries
It’s great to see small Florida distilleries like Sugar Sand popping up all over the sunshine state. It’s a movement that benefits consumers by having more and better choices for unique styles of rum to enjoy.
From the legendary Long Pond Distillery in Trelawny, Jamaica, this vintage Mezan Jamaica 2000 expression delivers the classic fruity and funky profile we’ve come to expect from legacy Jamaican distillers.
Mezan has built a reputation for bottling authentic, unadulterated spirits from notable producers in select destinations, and this Jamaica 2000 is no exception.
Mezan’s authentic Jamaica 2000 vintage rum comes from the legendary Long Pond distillery’s traditional double thumper pot still.
Long Pond is known for their long, slow fermentation cycles, allowing natural yeast to convert sugar to alcohol over a long period in the traditional manner. The addition of dunder from previous fermentations is an old technique long lost at modern distilleries.
This slow fermentation process builds rich and complex high ester flavor profiles, which are refined by a double distillation process in their traditional double retort pot still.
The result of this uniquely rich fermentation and rustic distillation is big rum flavor — Mezan Jamaica 2000 offers a reflection of style that made Jamaican rums famous the world over for centuries.
Aromas of sweet butter and charred oak, then big banana lead to subtle chardonnay with a hint of green apple before traces of pineapple, then a vegetal bouquet of fruit and dank earthiness over bread dough. On the palate, Mezan Jamaica 2000 presents a smooth entry of rich buttery toffee gives way to a very interesting briny, earthy leather and complex fruit notes tempered by a woody finish.
The 750ml bottle of Mezan Jamaica 2000 sells for $54.95.
The inaugural Discovery Series of rums will soon debut at Florida’s St. Augustine Distillery. On Thursday, September 3rd, the public will be invited to purchase the first bottles of St. Augustine Rum from the distillery’s gift shop, located on Riberia Street in downtown St. Augustine, Florida.
A limited series of St. Augustine Rum craft expressions will be released on the following schedule: Series 1 in September, Series 2 in October, Series 3 in November and Series 4 in December. The St. Augustine Distillery’s flagship rum (or final recipe) is slated for a January 2016 release.
The historic St. Augustine distillery will debut their new pot still rum with a series of limited edition expressions. The rums will also be featured at their Ice Plant Bar and Restaurant.
Each of these limited editions has been fermented and distilled on-site by Director of Production Brendan Wheatley from select regional sugarcane syrups and molasses in copper pot stills and then barrel-aged for a distinct flavor profile.
“We want our customers to have the unique chance to experience each of these different St. Augustine Rum recipes as we refine our flagship rum,” said co-founder and CEO Philip McDaniel. “This opportunity is very unique and only available at a craft distillery like ours.”
The production facilities are located in the restored historic Ice Plant, featuring a gift shop, restaurant and bar. Large numbers of tourists flock to the facility daily for a presentation in the small theater, followed by tours of the distillery and tasting sessions every half hour. The tour ends with a visit to the gift shop.
The Ice Plant bar and restaurant are also extremely popular, offering a first-class cocktail program developed by Zach Lynch, a talented mixologist and master bartender. The restaurant menu features farm-to-table cuisine with grass-fed beef and burgers, local seafood and vegetarian options among the daily specials.
The St. Augustine Distillery is open for tours Monday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm, and Sunday from 11am to 6pm. The restaurant is open seven days a week for dinner from 5 to 10pm, and lunch from 11:30am to 2:30pm Monday through Friday. The bar is open from 11:30am to midnight on Sunday and Monday, until 2am the rest of the week. Call 904-825-4962 or visit the web site.