Rum, Brooklyn Style

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 New York City has recently become awash in quality artisanal spirits, but few producers have quite the independent character of Bridget Firtle.  Bridget is a native New Yorker who entered the financial world at a fairly young age.  Although successful, she found herself unfulfilled by this path despite the financial rewards it brought.  At the time her firm had a role in sponsoring many independent breweries and craft distilleries, and as she became acquainted with these entrepreneurs the spirit bug bit her.

In 2012 she spent all of her savings from her previous career to refurbish a loft space in Bushwick, Brooklyn, which became her distillery called The Noble Experiment.  In order to budget money Bridget moved back to her parents’ home in the Rockaways and invested in a beautiful German still.  It’s a small operation, and everything is done internally.  She fills custom bottles and uses striking labels hand applied and numbered by her and her cohorts during Saturday night bottling parties.

After surveying the craft spirit scene Bridget didn’t want to make another gin or vodka, and didn’t have the resources to wait for whiskey to mature.  In trying to do something new with a view toward New York’s history, rum seemed like the most exciting option.  In the dawn of our nation the port of New York was one point of the sugar/molasses trade triangle with Europe and the Caribbean.  Although whiskey seems to be the focus of today’s local distilleries, there is no doubt that the spirits most early Yankees imbibed were similar to rum, and were probably made some place between New York and Boston.

Although Bridget is happy her rum has history, her product is made with every technical advantage and shows no rough edges.  The rum is made from a Blackstrap molasses with especially high sugar content.  This creates a rum with the smoothness of common molasses rums, and also the herbaceous and grassy qualities of rum distilled of sugar cane like the distinctive Agricole Rhums of Martinique.  The resulting highbrid is delicious and drinkable in a wide array of cocktails including Bridget’s favorite: the Daiquiri.  For now we have only this Rum to enjoy from The Noble Experiment, but while at the distillery we spied a couple of interesting side projects.  Be sure to check back in and see what Bridget’s up to!  JR

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The Noble Experiment NYC Owney's Original Rum 750ml

Owney’s is a homage to the Owen “Owney” Madden who was a rum runner in Hell’s Kitchen during the Prohibition.  Rum has had a long history in NYC with distilleries on Staten Island during colonial times, so it made sense to Bridget Firtle, the proprietor of The Noble Experiment, to start her new project with delicious un-aged rum.  Owney’s falls between a rum based of molasses and a sugarcane based rum like those made in Martinique.  This is because she spares no expense on buying a molasses with a higher than usual sugar content.  The rum has a delightful texture with hints of flowers and peach skin.  Bridget’s rum has enough character to sip on its own, but is really delightful in a Daiquiri!  JR

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