Julie Perschall at Celebration Distillation. Photo: Sara Bonisteel
Since 1995, Celebration Distillation has been crafting Old New Orleans Rum from Louisiana molasses in a facility off Elysian Fields.
On a recent visit, Slashfood met one of the company's distillers, Julie Perschall, who walked us through the warehouse operation, which flooded with 8 feet of water when Hurricane Katrina rolled through in 2005.
Using old equipment from the Abita Brewery, chief distiller Chris Sule and crew distill 1,900 gallons of molasses, yeast and water each week into about 200 gallons of white dog (184 proof booze to you), which they age on the distillery's second floor in old bourbon barrels made of white oak. Moving the barrels to higher ground proved to be a wise move, as it spared the distillery's stock during Katrina.
Visitors can taste the results -- a special edition 10-year rum distilled in 1997 which weathered the nation's costliest natural disaster to become as smooth as any ancient whiskey.
More rum after the jump.
Photo: Sara Bonisteel
It's in the aging and the spicing where the magic happens. The distillery currently sells four blends: crystal, amber (aged 3 years), Cajun spice (a rum blend with cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger) and the 10-year "special edition" (numbered and available only at the distillery).
The public can tour the distillery Monday through Friday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. (with tastings), but get directions, you can get lost easily in this industrial part of town.
And if you see Perschall, ask her about her latest concoction, a "gingeroo" ginger beer flavored with 10 percent alcohol ... still in the testing stages. And oh how yummy the testing is.