Privateer Rum’s Rosemary Ruby Cocktail
In an industrial park in Ipswich, the New England heritage of privateers and rum prevails, minus the British.
Privateer Rum is rolling out Hungarian, French and American oak barrels, and firing up the shiny distilling equipment to make an artisanal rum like a “fine spirit.” CEO and COO Andrew Cabot has personal roots in this history. Upon researching his family genealogy, Cabot discovered an ancestor six generations back — also named Andrew Cabot — who had been a successful privateer and who also owned a rum distillery on Water St. in Beverly.
Two hundred years later, the Cabots are back in the New England rum business, no slavery, no pirates, just a beautifully produced spirit of which perhaps that most genteel of colonists, Thomas Jefferson, who had so hoped to make fine wine the American beverage, would be proud.
Cabot describes the Privateer rum as fundamentally two styles.
“We’re playing around with toasted and charred oak, aiming for a masculine rum with notes of sandalwood and cinnamon along with a feminine, buttery rum with a velvety, silky mouth-feel.” Cabot explains that Privateer begins with great raw materials — molasses for the English style of making rum, and sugar cane for the French agricole style of rum-making. The latter “has less bacterial fermentation, and produces a rum more in the style of a wine.” For serious craft distillers, there is much more satisfying process on their website.
Two hundred years ago, privateers were private citizens with ships — mostly fishing boats — who basically made up the navy our young country couldn’t afford, freely attacking British merchant ships on behalf of our independence, happily seizing the cargo for themselves. On a good day privateers were considered merchant marines; on a bad day they were pirates. When they won, they won big, but they also took all the risks of engaging in these armed conflicts.
“Privateers made millionaires out of fishmongers,” Cabot said, “by filling a great social void.”
Perhaps seizing sugarcane and molasses helped make them successful rum distillers, too. Coincidentally or not, privateering and rum seemed to have attracted the same bold personalities in the 18th century.
Privateer produces a white rum that begs to be the storm in your Dark and Stormy. The Amber Rum is the one to serve in a snifter and savor by a fire, although it has a place in a cocktail, too. From the distillers themselves, here are some more delicious ways to serve Privateer.
Privateer Rosemary Ruby Cocktail
1 1/2 ounces Privateer Silver
2 ounces ruby grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce simple syrup
Shake first three ingredients in a shaker, and serve over ice with a sprig of rosemary.
Privateer Winter Daquiri
2 ounces Privateer Amber
1/2 ounce toasted cinnamon simple syrup
1/2 ounce lime juice
Shake all ingredients in a shaker, and serve either up in a martini glass or on ice in a cocktail glass.
Toasted Cinnamon Simple Syrup
Hold a cinnamon stick gently over the flame on your stove until lightly charred, and tuck it into either your own simple syrup or a purchased bottle.
Allow to infuse.
▶︎ Privateer Rum, 11 Brady Drive, Ipswich. (978) 356 0477. The tasting room is open on Saturdays from 12 noon–5pm. Tours begin at 12, 2, and 4pm. $10 per person. For more information, click here.