During the 1800s Brooklyn’s Red Hook was host to a vast array of gin, whiskey and rum production. During Prohibition, even though there were many illegal operations almost all established producers folded, never to be heard from again. In the last few years a new breed of Brooklyn distiller has popped up creating an array of innovative spirits.
Van Brunt Stillhouse ( named after Cornelius Van Brunt, one of the founding fathers of Brooklyn) is no exception. They produce Whiskey, Grappa and the first native small batch Rum since Prohibition. Van Brunt Stillhouse’s “Due North” Rum is distilled from organic, unprocessed sugar grown by small family farmers and dried in the hot, sun-baked foothills of the Himalayas. A bit of barrel aging adds a mellow smoothness to round out the blend. These special processes create complex aromas of caramel, vanilla and sweet spice and a palate filled with hints of dried apricot, bananas Foster and baked apple. Although perfect for sipping over ice Due North makes a heady addition to many a cocktail!
Due North, a sailor’s term for pure unadulterated Rum inspired the name of this Brooklyn gem! Sailors pay once included a ration of Rum although it was often diluted to stretch the barrel over long journeys at sea. If the crew navigated a particularly dangerous storm or made it through a rough encounter at sea they were rewarded with a cup of pure spirit, aka Due North. Todays modern sailors don’t dare touch a drop while underway, but, this local wonder would be sure to put a grin on even the sternest of old salts in off hours!
My favorite way to enjoy Due North is in a variation of the Bee’s Knees, a cocktail made famous during Prohibition. Although this is often made with Gin I find Rum a better choice to meld with honey syrup, a key component in this tasty, refreshing cocktail! The addition of lime instead of lemon and a sprig of fresh herb tweaks it up to hit all the correct notes in this well-balanced, fabulous spin on a classic!
Due North Bees Knees
1.5 oz Due North Rum
1 oz Honey syrup (equal parts honey and hot water, stir till well blended, let cool and transfer to glass container. )
1 0z fresh squeezed lime juice
sprig fresh rosemary, garnish
Build in shaker filled with fresh ice, shake and strain into a chilled up glass and enjoy!
Due North available online or in stores through out NYC