Spirits & Liqueurs Rum

The Rise of Pineapple Rum

Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy, a rum macerated and distilled with fresh pineapple (not a pineapple-flavored rum), was released by Maison Ferrand in 2015. Since then, it has had the market pretty much to itself.

Recently, that has changed, with an uptick of producers rolling out pineapple-spiked variations. Many of these have been inspired by the success of Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy, which bartenders have embraced to mix into Daiquiris, Tiki drinks and other rum cocktails.

A collaboration between Ferrand’s Alexandre Gabriel and cocktail historian David Wondrich, the spirit was inspired by Caribbean rum producers, who would soak pineapple in rum barrels to add sweetness to the spirit—a technique dating as far back as the 1700s.

According to Ferrand, their version is made by infusing the barks of Victoria pineapples in Plantation 3 Stars rum, which is then further distilled. Separately, the fruit is infused in Plantation Original dark rum, then the distillate and fruit infusion are blended together. (It should be noted that the brand plans to change its name in order to disassociate itself from the spirit's painful history of slavery to which its current name alludes.)

Pineapple at Allegheny Distilling.

Most of the recent entrants have been pineapple-flavored rums, often nodding to the influence of Tiki culture. Consider Tiki Lovers pineapple-flavored rum by Germany’s Bitter Truth, wherein aged and unaged rums are “infused and rested” with pineapple extract. Or Cutwater’s Bali Hai Tiki pineapple-flavored rum, a flavored gold rum that was released in 2018. These rums all signal the Stiggins influence, from the dark rum hue to the more nuanced pineapple and less sweetness compared to traditional flavored rums.

But one in particular, Maggie’s Farm 50/50 pineapple rum from Pittsburgh’s Allegheny Distilling, makes it clear that it pays homage to Stiggins, seeking to make a craft version of the popular pineapple rum. The new bottling was released in December 2018.

Tim Russell.

“We liked that it was relatively dry,” Allegheny founder and head distiller Tim Russell says of Stiggins. “We were seeking that flavor; we wanted dry, no added sugar or juice.”

To achieve that, they use a method similar to Plantation, starting with Maggie’s white turbinado sugar rum distilled with whole pineapple, as well as a 12-year-old dark rum imported from Trinidad, which is then infused with pineapple for about a month. Equal-parts distillate and infusion are blended together, hence the name 50/50.

maggie's fancy cocktail
Maggie’s Fancy, made with Maggie’s Farm 50/50 pineapple rum, cardamom bitters and brown sugar simple syrup. Maggie's Farm

Tasted side by side, the Plantation and Allegheny versions seem like distant cousins. Stiggins’ Fancy is richer and slightly sweeter, while Maggie’s Farm 50/50 shows more juicy pineapple up front and finishes dry, suggesting a younger rum. But they’re both clearly part of the same family tree.

Allegheny makes no secret of the Stiggins inspiration. To drive the point home, it has even named a pineapple Rum Old Fashioned served at the distillery bar as Maggie’s Fancy.