When it comes to rum shopping, Key West offers a unique and enchanting experience. The combination of pristine beaches, vibrant culture, and the rich history of rum-running makes this tropical paradise the perfect destination for enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike. In this blog, we'll take you on a journey through the world of premium rum brands in Key West, from the renowned Key West Rum Distillery to the treasure trove of craft rums available throughout the island.
Key West Rum Distillery: Where It All Begins
Our rum shopping adventure starts at the heart of Key West's rum scene – the Key West Rum Distillery. Established in 2013, it holds the honor of being the first legal rum distillery in Key West, and it embodies the island's spirited history.
Upon entering the distillery, you'll be greeted with the tantalizing aroma of freshly distilled rum, setting the tone for your rum exploration. Here, you can take a guided tour, delving into the distillation process and learning about the distillery's dedication to crafting high-quality rum.
One of the standout features of the Key West Rum Distillery is its devotion to using local ingredients. The distillery sources sugarcane from Florida farms, ensuring a true sense of place in every bottle. This commitment to quality and authenticity has led to the creation of some exceptional rum varieties that you won't want to miss.
The distillery's signature expressions include the White Rum, Gold Rum, and the award-winning Key West Rum Dark. Each one is a testament to the craftsmanship and expertise that goes into creating premium rums. The White Rum is light and crisp, perfect for crafting refreshing cocktails, while the Gold Rum offers a richer and smoother profile. The Key West Rum Dark, on the other hand, boasts a deep, complex flavor with notes of caramel and spice.
A visit to the Key West Rum Distillery is not only about tasting world-class rum but also about immersing yourself in the history and culture that surround this beloved spirit. It's an experience that captures the essence of Key West and its unique place in the world of rum.
Exploring Key West's Rum Stores
Key West is not just about the Key West Rum Distillery; it's a paradise for rum enthusiasts with a diverse palate. The island is dotted with rum stores that offer an impressive selection of premium rum brands. Let's take a look at some of the top rum stores that you should visit during your Key West adventure.
1. Key West First Legal Rum Distillery Store:
Before you leave the distillery, make sure to explore their store, which stocks their signature rums as well as an array of rum-related merchandise. It's the perfect place to purchase your favorite bottles and take home a piece of Key West's rum history.
2. The Rum Bar at the Speakeasy Inn:
Located in the heart of Old Town Key West, The Rum Bar boasts an extensive rum collection. With over 200 varieties of rum from around the world, this establishment offers a curated selection of premium brands, making it a must-visit destination for rum aficionados.
3. Island Liquor:
Island Liquor is known for its comprehensive collection of spirits, including an impressive selection of premium rums. The knowledgeable staff can assist you in finding the perfect rum to suit your preferences.
4. Kwest Liquors:
Kwest Liquors is another gem in the world of rum shopping in Key West. They have a diverse range of rums, from locally produced ones to renowned international brands. Whether you're seeking a gift or a personal indulgence, Kwest Liquors has you covered.
5. Cork & Stogie:
If you appreciate the finer things in life, Cork & Stogie is a unique spot for rum enthusiasts. It combines a wine and spirits shop with a cigar lounge, creating an elegant atmosphere for savoring premium rums and cigars.
Key West's Premium Rum Brands
As you explore the various rum stores in Key West, you'll discover a wide array of premium rum brands that cater to every taste. Here are some standout names that you should keep an eye out for:
1. Papa's Pilar:
Inspired by the adventurous spirit of Ernest Hemingway, Papa's Pilar produces a range of artisanal rums with a rich and complex flavor profile. Their Blonde and Dark rums are known for their unique blending techniques and aging processes.
2. Ron del Barrilito:
Hailing from Puerto Rico, Ron del Barrilito is a brand steeped in tradition. It's celebrated for its exceptional three-star blend, offering a smooth and refined taste that captivates rum connoisseurs.
3. Ron Diplomático:
A Venezuelan gem, Ron Diplomático is renowned for its exceptional craftsmanship. The brand's diverse portfolio includes rums of varying ages and styles, making it a delightful choice for those seeking complexity and depth in their rum.
4. Mount Gay:
As one of the oldest rum producers in the world, Mount Gay from Barbados offers a range of premium rums with a rich history. From their Eclipse to XO expressions, these rums exemplify the art of Caribbean distillation.
5. Ron Abuelo:
Panama's Ron Abuelo is a hidden gem cherished by those in the know. Their aged rums are celebrated for their balance and flavor, making them an excellent choice for both sipping and crafting cocktails.
6. Don Q:
Another gem from Puerto Rico, Don Q offers a wide range of rums, including aged and flavored varieties. It's a brand known for its versatility, making it an excellent choice for mixing cocktails.
Where to Savor Key West's Premium Rums
In Key West, the experience of savoring premium rums extends beyond the bottle. The island offers a plethora of bars, restaurants, and lounges where you can enjoy the perfect rum cocktail or a neat pour. Here are a few places to savor the flavors of Key West's premium rums:
1. Sloppy Joe's Bar:
A Key West institution, Sloppy Joe's has been serving rum enthusiasts for decades. Try their famous Papa Doble cocktail, inspired by Ernest Hemingway, or enjoy your favorite premium rum in a vibrant, historic setting.
2. The Porch:
A welcoming, laid-back establishment, The Porch is known for its exceptional rum selection. They offer an extensive list of rum-based cocktails, and you can also enjoy your rum on their charming outdoor porch.
3. Louie's Backyard:
For a more upscale experience, head to Louie's Backyard. This fine-dining restaurant boasts a fantastic rum selection, and their expert bartenders can craft personalized rum cocktails tailored to your taste.
4. Smokin' Tuna Saloon:
With live music and a casual, Caribbean-inspired atmosphere, Smokin' Tuna Saloon is a great place to enjoy a refreshing rum cocktail. Their drinks menu features a variety of rum-based concoctions to quench your thirst.
Key West, with its rich history, tropical charm, and exceptional premium rum brands, is a paradise for rum enthusiasts. Whether you begin your journey at the Key West Rum Distillery, explore the island's diverse rum stores, or savor premium rums at local bars and restaurants, you'll find that Key West's love affair with rum is woven into the fabric of the island.