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.
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.
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.
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 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
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/
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