There’s a Rum Revolution Happening In the South Right Now

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June is Rum. Right Now. month at

A growing number of spirits producers are reviving the tradition of rum-making among the Southern states, an area once fertile with sugar cane plantations.

Today, most of those modern distillers source sugar cane from the Caribbean and other warmer climes, although a handful work with farmers in the region to obtain locally-grown sugar cane.

These five Southern-made rums are worth running into, whether you choose to sip straight up or mix ’em into a traditional Southern rum punch.

1. Belonger’s Rum

Producer: High Wire Distilling, Charleston, South Carolina
This craft distillery focuses on local provenance wherever possible, so this “Belonger” bottling—island parlance for a native or someone with close family ties to a place—fits right in. Made from Barbadian-style molasses sourced from a U.S. sugar cane plantation and aged in Woodford Reserve rye barrels, this rum links Charleston and Barbados. Look for a whiskey-like undertone laced with sweetness and spice. ($80)

2. Prichard’s Sweet Georgia Belle Peach Mango Rum

Producer: Prichard’s Distillery, Kelso, Tennessee
Inspired by Colonial-era rums, Phil Prichard first started making rums in 1996—in the heart of whiskey country. A gutsy move. It’s paid off with this luscious flavored rum, ideal for topping up iced tea on a sweltering summer afternoon. ($25)

3. Railean Reserve XO Rum

Producer: Railean Distillers, San Leon, Texas
Think Cuba Libres for this small-batch Texas rum. Aged in small, double-charred barrels, look for rich, dark brown sugar and walnut flavors. ($40)

4. Siesta Key Spiced Rum

Producer: Drum Circle Distilling, Sarasota, Florida
Made with honey and spice—and 100-percent Florida sugarcane—this sunny golden rum suggests vanilla, honey and maple, finishing with plenty of baking spice and a smooth, gentle fade. ($20)

5. Silver Fox Premium Virginia Light Rum

Producer: The Great Dismal Distillery, Norfolk, Virginia
This white rum has a surprising raspberry note in the aroma and flavor, plus a wash of vanilla that seems ideal for mixing up fruity, summery cocktails. ($17)

Kara Newman is a New York–based spirits and cocktail writer, and author of Cocktails for a Crowd (Chronicle Books).


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  • posted 1 year ago

    There is a Rum Distiller in Cape Coral, FL called the "Wicked Dolphin". They produce both light and dark rums that are delicious and have won many awards. Check it out, and I am sure that you will be glad you did.

  • JimmyD posted 2 years ago

    Nice piece, but you overlooked the single best rum in the south: Richland Rum, in southern Georgia. It's a magnificent rum made from cane syrup that is quite literally one of the best in the world. You should check this out...

  • BaliHaiBuster posted 2 years ago

    What about Old New Orleans Rum? Their Amber is great for mixing and inexpensive. Also, a delightfully small distillery with extremely friendly folks.

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