New Orleans offers a fair amount of tours, but one of my very favorites is spending an afternoon at the Old New Orleans Rum Distillery. Shockingly one of the very few rum distilleries in the city, Old New Orleans Rum has made good use of the miles of sugarcane planted hundreds of years ago in the swampy marshland that surrounds the city and countryside.
James Michalopoulo, a well-known painter and sculptor who has helped define the city’s art scene, conceptualized the idea of beginning a handcrafted local rum distilled inside a 150-year-old cotton factory. Born from his passion for the spirit, Mr. Michalopoulo set-up shop in the 9th ward and churns-out small batches of high quality rum that is aged to perfection in American Oak barrels used previously by whiskey makers. The result? Tasty and smooth rum that will make even those who aren’t a fan of the spirit, fall in love.
One product that has helped to define the brand and one that left an indelible mark on me is their “Gingeroo”. Gingeroo is concocted from the brand’s New Orleans Crystal rum and is combined with fresh ginger juice, a pinch of cayenne pepper and a little carbonation. The beverage is absolutely perfect after an evening filled with one too many martinis at the Ritz Carlton. It’s actually the perfect hangover cure.
If you’re in town, you can take a tour of the distillery and hear how they made it through Hurricane Katrina and into a local brand that has become a national favorite. Don’t miss it.