As several L.A. bartenders are heading to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail this week, Squid Ink would like to make a souvenir request: Old New Orleans Rum. The rums aren't available on the West Coast yet (online ordering only), but we're hoping they soon will be.
For starters, the micro-distillery has a great back story, so you'll have something to fill that gaping World Cup Soccer party chat void. The founder is local artist James Michalopoulos, who rounded up a few of his artist and musician friends in the 1990s for an experimental good time (we'll leave it at that) using a regional ingredient — sugar cane — and Old New Orleans Rum was born.
The distillery's light, unaged white rum was first released in 1999, followed by the amber (molasses-tinged blend of three aged rums) and a Cajun spice blend (aged rums amped up with cayenne, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves). There's also a limited release 10-year single barrel rum that survived Katrina, the only of the four that Squid Ink hasn't taste-approved because until recently, it was only sold at the distillery.
As for when Old New Orleans Rum might make it to L.A., spokesperson Erick Lewko told us that the distillery is just beginning to expand beyond retail outlets in Louisiana. He added that Texas and Florida are up first on the list, but California isn't out of the question “if there is excitement brewing on the left coast.”
Which gets us to that little favor we're asking our Tales of the Cocktail L.A. mixologist contingent. How about a detour to the former cotton warehouse on Frenchmen Street (which also happens to be home to the Spotted Cat jazz club of HBO's Treme fame), to pick up a few bottles so we can make the distillery's high-octane sidecar cocktail? You know, for research.
Old New Orleans Rum Streetcar #9
Note: Adapted from Old New Orleans Rum. The distillery adds this cautionary note: “This ain't your average trolley. Enjoy in moderation or you may feel like you were run over by one of these historic forms of transportation the next day.” You can find Old New Orleans Cajun Spice Rum at many online retailers.
Makes: 1 cocktail
2 ounces Old New Orleans Cajun Spice Rum
1 ounce Cointreau orange liqueur
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (reserve lemon wedge)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar
1. Combine the cinnamon and sugar on a small plate. Run the lemon wedge around the edge of a martini glass, then dip the glass in the cinnamon-sugar mixture to coat.
2. Combine the remaining ingredients in an ice-filled cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds, strain into the cocktail glass, and garnish with the lemon twist and a dash of cinnamon.