This has been a week for wanting to be somewhere else - maybe a world where a swamp monster keeps bad guys in line.
So it was fitting to pull up to Sainte Marie and find a drink that tips a hat to that Cajun creature, the rougarou. Murf Reeves (who lived for a time in Boston) wrote the Sighting in the Old Iron Yard for their next cocktail menu, which rolls out in about two weeks.
The title references an old New Orleans foundry, as well as its lead ingredient, the Rougaroux dark aged rum distilled by Donner-Peltier in Thibodaux.
What's special about this spirit, I discovered, is that it's aged not in barrels but with an infusion of white oak chips, which can make the rum bottle-ready as soon as six weeks. "Most rum distilleries [age in] used bourbon barrels, but we're one of the few" that uses chips exclusively to age their rum, says Donner-Peltier's master distiller, John Couchot.
Where others blend batches of rum, John instead blends the distinctly charred chips, which gives him "more control over the flavor, and it's more consistent," he says. Using fresh wood instead of used bourbon barrels imparts toasted vanilla and caramel notes to the rum more quickly.
They also bring a lingering smoothness to the Rougaroux rum; here, Murf pairs it only with other spirits - sweetly spiced falernum, Licor 43's candied citrus, and Cathead's earthy chicory liqueur, which adds a trace of bitterness.
There's heat in the finish, a warm citrus spice, and the Sighting is nicely rounded with traces of smoke, then sweetness.
Donner-Peltier's Rougaroux Full Moon Dark Rum recently earned a gold medal from the World Spirits Association.
Sainte Marie, 930 Poydras Street, 304.6988
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