The Vanilla Rum from the craft distillery Mad River Distillers in Warren, Vt., delivers the essence of Tahitian vanilla beans and can up the game for your summer cocktails. The spirit maker, in Vermont’s Mad River Valley, produces whiskey, brandy, and barrel-aged rums crafted with fair-trade demerara sugar, the light brown crystallized type. For the Vanilla Rum, they start with their First Run Rum that’s aged in American oak barrels and infuse the spirit for weeks with the vanilla beans. Co-owner Maura Connolly says the genesis of the flavored rum came from a Mason jar experiment. “I was playing around making vanilla extract with our rum,” she says. She doled out bottles as gifts to her friends, who persuaded her that vanilla rum should be included in the distillery’s lineup. With its clean, dry finish, you could happily savor the drink on its own over ice, although the vanilla taste marries well with other flavors. Using it as a platform for drinks, like daiquiris, creates cooling summer sippers. “My favorite and most simple, and I’m a believer that the simpler the better, is the vanilla rum with a grapefruit soda and a squeeze of lime,” suggests Connolly. Available at Blanchards, 103 Harvard Ave., Allston, 617-782-5588; Liquor World, 12 White St., Cambridge, 617-547-3110; West Concord Wine and Spirits, 1216 Main St., Concord, 978-369-3872; Lukes Liquors, 3 Washington St., Canton, 781-828-5823, and others.
ANN TRIEGER KURLAND
Ann Trieger Kurland can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.