Five craft rums you need to try
Barbary Coast Agricole
While Raff Distillerie, now in San Francisco’s Bayview, did originate on an island, it was the very un-tropical Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. The distillery’s rhum agricole, made from evaporated cane juice from Colombia, delivers a soft, nuanced green flavor that pairs well with tropical fruit. At the Kon-Tiki bar in Oakland, owner Christ Aivaliotis has found success pairing it with guava juice.
Barbary Coast Agricole Rhum, $92 for two bottles, available from raffdistillerie.com
Wright & Brown Barrel Aged Rum
W&B Barrel Aged Rum has a rich, heavy character, with notes of leather, clove, pineapple, tobacco and lemon. For an even more intense experience, look for the Oakland distillery’s Hogo Rum, aged in port casks.
Wright & Brown Barrel Aged Rum, $52 per bottle, available from wbdistilling.com/
California rum distillers are making their own rules.
Seven Caves Roasted Peanut Rum
At San Diego’s Seven Caves Spirits, distiller Geoff Longenecker makes conventionally aged rums, but the Roasted Peanut Rum is one of the odder passions he indulges. The smell of the rum, all concrete and peanut shells, evokes a baseball stadium, while the sweet, creamy flavor conjures Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups without devolving into saccharine candy.
Seven Caves Roasted Peanut Rum, $40 per bottle, available from the7caves.com
Mosswood Ume Rum
Husband-and-wife blenders Jake Chevedden and Therese Agnew aren’t distillers. At San Francisco’s Mosswood Spirits, they source rum from Puerto Rico and Florida before aging, blending and bottling in-house. They have designed blends for Bay Area bars including Last Rites, Sobre Mesa, White Cap and The Treasury and sell bottles to the public. Their Day Rum is ready for year-round cocktailing, but each fall they release a seasonal Ume Rum macerated with California-grown ume fruit. The tart, nutty spirit plays well with bubbly mixers.
Mosswood Ume Rum, $35 per bottle, available each fall from umamimart.com among other sites
Greenbar Crusoe Spiced Rum
At L.A.’s Greenbar Distillery, distillers Melkon Khosrovian and Litty Mathew mimic flavors of raw sugar cane to give their molasses-based rums fresh, nuanced tastes. With notes of banana bread, allspice, sweet peppers and cinnamon, the Crusoe Spiced Rum makes for a flavorful daiquiri (though you might want to dial back the simple syrup to account for added sweetness in the rum).
Greenbar Crusoe Spiced Rum, about $34 per bottle, available from Eataly Vino among other retailers
Eat your way across L.A.
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