Friday Happy Hour: Owney’s NYC, White Rum Worth Sipping

I’m in New York City this week, a place most untrained eyes might think to be about as 180-degrees from the Caribbean as possible. This is not so, of course.

More than half-a-million Caribbean nationals live in the Big City (including this guy you all know), and like every other foreign ethnic group here, they brought many of their proud island traditions with them.

Finding mondongo or Frambuesa is easy at the many Dominican Republic eateries around town. Hungry for pasteles or empanadas? No problem at the scores of Puerto Rican restaurants. Roti, doubles, and all manner of Trini treats are widely available too, as are Jamaican jerk favorites, Haitian sensations, and more! And that’s just food!

West Indian music, newspapers, radio/TV stations, even Carnival; you can find examples of ’em all, home-grown in NYC.

The only thing missing: rum.

Oh, you can buy all kinds of great rums in New York, but until recently I never knew that any of Caribbean’s quintessential spirit was actually being produced here.

Enter Owney’s Original New York City White Rum.

Owney's Original New York City Rum | SBPR
Owney’s Original New York City Rum | SBPR

This isn’t the first rum produced in New York (Brooklyn, to be exact). The city actually has a long and storied tradition of making rum during the 1600’s and 1700’s. All that stopped with the Molasses Act of 1733 and the Sugar Act of 1734, which essentially made distilling rum too costly in New York.

Fast-forward a good 278 years to 2012 when a tall, thin, and attractive blonde woman in her 20’s decided that her big money job on Wall Street just wasn’t floating her boat anymore. She wanted to make something; a quality product that people would love. Something more carefully crafted, nurtured even, than produced. Something like rum.

Bridget Firtle didn’t have any distilling experience. When I met her at the Miami Rum Renaissance Festival this past April, she even told me that she hadn’t really been a big fan of rum prior to founding her distillery, aptly named The Noble Experiment NYC in reference to the reasons behind Bridget’s seriously uncommon career change and the quality that she personally puts into every bottle of this stuff.

(The Noble Experiment was also the nickname for Prohibition.)

Owney’s exceptional quality starts, of course, with exceptional ingredients. As noted on The Noble Experiment NYC website:

Our philosophy resides in that the finest, freshest ingredients lead to the finest distillates.  That means at The Noble Experiment NYC we source only the highest quality, organic molasses.  Additionally, The Noble Experiment NYC doesn’t use any coloring, flavoring, or other preservatives in its production.

Believe me, that quality will be quite obvious to you when you get a taste of Bridget’s fantastic white rum.

Proudly made in Brooklyn using genuine New York City tap water, Owney’s is among the rare, yet growing number of white rums actually suitable for sipping.

Vanilla and floral scents tone down the typically harsh alcohol aroma on the nose drawing you in. The flavor is even better, those fine organic molasses really shinning through along with more vanilla.

All you really need is an ice cube or two to enjoy this one, though I’m sure it’ll make a mean mojito as well.

If you’re ever in Brooklyn and want to visit The Noble Experiment, Bridget holds tours on Saturdays starting at 4pm. The fee is $10 and you must be 21 or over for all the fun.

For more on Owney’s, including details on where you can pick up a bottle, visit The Noble Experiment website.



Last updated by Steve Bennett on .

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