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National Rum Day calls for a California rum from Bay Area's St. George Spirits

August 16, 2013|By S. Irene Virbila
  • St. George California Agricole Rum is made from sugar cane grown in the Imperial Valley and distilled in a 500-liter copper still by St. George Spirits in Alameda.
St. George California Agricole Rum is made from sugar cane grown in the Imperial… (S. Irene Virbila / Los Angeles…)

How about a California rum to celebrate National Rum Day?

It turns out the Imperial Valley grows sugar cane and from that the folks at St. George Spirits in the San Francisco Bay Area produce an extraordinary St. George California Agricole Rum (formerly known as Agua Libre Rum) “A pure, primal, unapologetic expression of fresh California cane,” it’s funky all right and captures your attention right away. 

St. George California Agricole Rum is made from fresh sugar cane in the style of a Martinique rhum agricole or cachaça. Once the harvested cane arrives at the Alameda distillery, the fresh cane juice is extracted by running the stalks through a sugar cane mill by hand. Sounds like something from the 19th century, no?

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After that, the fresh juice is fermented and distilled in small batches in St. George’s 500-liter copper pot still.

The scent is clean and grassy, a touch smoky. In the mouth, it’s smooth and both rustic and refined, earthy, almost peat-y. Think of it as a sugar cane eau-de-vie. 

This rum is nuanced enough to sip neat, with a lovely lingering finish. But it’s also brilliant in cocktails. It will give your mai tai or mojito an extra dimension. I’ve been making kumquat mojitos with it all summer and don't plan on stopping now.


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