News

Rum Journal: Sarasota’s Siesta Key Rum

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - November 12, 2012

SARASOTA — The United States has a centuries-old relationship with rum dating back to before its independence from Britain, and several US states still produce a significant amount of sugarcane.

But in the modern era, the spirit of choice in the US has often been whisky.

That is beginning to change, however, as major cities like New York and Miami (the latter probably America’s rum capital) increasingly drive spirits-drinkers to the glory of sugarcane.

And as American tastes for spirits begin to change, the US is becoming a hub for micro-production of rum.

In fact, one of the world’s tastiest new rums is made not in the West Indies, but West Florida.

Siesta Key Rum, which calls sunny Sarasota, Fla., home, is the brainchild of Troy Roberts, who sold his internet business in 2007, ordered a German CARL copper still, and, after a long and difficult permitting process, tried his hand at making rum at what is now the only such distillery in Sarasota, one of the pearls of southern Florida.

Roberts, the founder, CEO and distiller, has long had a love affair with Sarasota’s Siesta Key — and with rum.

Wanting to create something tangible and scalable, but with an artistic side, he created Siesta Key Rum with a simple goal: “to make the best rum we can that I like.”

The rum is born and raised in Florida, sourced from 100 percent Florida-grown table-grade molasses.

Roberts, who styles the distillery (which he runs with co-partner Tom Clarke) as something of a rum laboratory, is always experimenting — from varying temperatures to secretly modifying the cooling pipe.

The distillery is truly a boutique — with nearly everything done by hand, in house — even the labeling.

Siesta Key currently produces three varieties — a silver rum, a spiced rum and a gold rum.

The spiced rum, while the most recent addition, has quickly become the flagship of the line, a blend of all-natural spices like honey and cinnamon and flavours added to the award-winning silver base. (Although, always the rum scientist, Roberts says he has been experimenting with adding a little of the gold rum to the spiced to give it depth.)

Unlike the majors, the spiced rum uses no corn syrup or cheap ingredients — just fresh, natural spices.

“We start off with the silver rum, then we put real spice in it — we weigh them out, put in real spices, dump in a bunch of honey for the sweetener — there’s not corn syrup — and filter it all out,” he says. “But what you end up with is just something that tastes completely different.”

The spiced rum took home the Best in Class medal at the RumXP International Tasting Competition, beating out the likes of Bacardi.

“I want to produce the very best rum we can — we’re trying to develop a following,” he tells Rum Journal. “I just want to continue to grow in Florida primarily, with more stores, and more people in those stores — and it happens every time we get into a new store, we try and build up our customers in that location and sales will just continue to go up.”

And so Roberts continues in his laboratory, the mad rum scientist — looking to make the small distillery in Sarasota into a force in the world of rum.

“We’re doing more like the microbrews did way back when – it may not be to the mainstream taste,” he says. “Some people may love it, some people may hate it, but the people who do love it, they’ve got no choice but to buy it — because it’s unique.”

* **

On to the tasting note:

Silver: Siesta Key Silver is exquisitely smooth with hints of butterscotch and a subtle note of almond. It would work well with a traditional rum and coke, but Rum Journal recommends it with a generous splash of pineapple juice.

Gold: the gold rum, a light amber colour, stands out for its smoothness, and stands halfway between the silver and shows a flavour profile that is a happy medium between the silver and the spiced.

Spiced: the Spiced is the superstar of the line. Notes of fresh spices, honey and cinnamon, and even nutmeg, although that is not actually one of the spices included. We’re not prone to hyperbole, but it’s easily the smoothest, greatest spiced rum we’ve tasted. As for the spiced, we recommend it on the rocks — and by the pool or on the beach on a Sunday afternoon. — CJ


Popular Posts the sexiest beaches including this resort at atlantis

The Sexiest Beaches in the Caribbean to Visit Right Now 

One is a beach with a nightclub-style pool right next door. Another is filled with beach bars — and even has its own au natural corner. Then there’s a beach that’s practically a nonstop party.  There are so many things that […]


The Best Caribbean Islands to Visit This Summer, From Antigua to St Croix

verandah antigua

We’ve been saying it for years, and we’ll keep saying it: in some ways, the Caribbean is even better in the summer months. The water is warm. It’s a bit less crowded, a little bit quieter. At night, the trade […]


American Airlines Just Expanded Its French Caribbean Flights

martinique american airlines

From the rainforests to the rum, the haute cuisine to the beaches, the French Caribbean island of Martinique is among the most diverse, fascinating places to visit in the wider region.  And now it’s easier than ever to fly to […]


Related Posts best pizza in st john

The Best Rum Bar (And Best Pizza) in St John 

They call it the Rum With a View. It’s a mix of Lovango sorrel rum, elderflowers, passion fruit agave, lemon and egg white.  It’s the kind of colorful, creative, funky cocktail that exemplifies what we all love about St John.  […]


Why You Need to Visit This Caribbean Island in June 

brass boer

The Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire has been one of the hottest destinations in the Caribbean this year, continuing a trend that began last year.  In the first quarter, Bonaire welcomed even more visitors than it did in the same […]


The Caribbean’s Best New Cocktail Bar Is in The Bahamas

caribbean bahamas cocktail bar

Lisa carefully places tiny purple flowers on the top layer of ice in a Big Major Smash She slides over the drink, served with jeweled ice inside a pink porcelain pig, a new twist on’ iconic Goombay Smash cocktail.  It […]


SUBSCRIBE!

Sign up for Caribbean Journal's free newsletter for a daily dose of beaches, hotels, rum and the best Caribbean travel information on the net.


No. Thank You