Fortune Favors the Bold: MN's First Rum Debuts

Ålander Spiced Rum, the second release from craft distillery Far North Spirits, debuts on Saturday, May 10, 2014. 

To make Minnesota's first rum, distillery owner Michael Swanson took an uncompromising approach and selected the highest quality ingredients he could find.

The rum is distilled in small batches using a combination of turbinado and demerara sugar sourced from Louisiana and Florida. The resulting base spirit is an exceptionally clear and delicious Puerto Rican-style rum. Unlike most spiced rums, which are made using artificial flavors, Ålander is infused by hand with whole bean spices: Madagascar and Tahitian vanilla beans, Korintje cinnamon from Indonesia and cinnamon from Sri Lanka, clove and nutmeg from India and allspice from Guatamala. Spice infusion times vary; some are a matter of hours, others take up to three weeks. The rum is finished with a very brief infusion of organic coffee beans, espresso-roasted by Minneapolis-based Peace Coffee, to provide additional depth and roundness. It is bottled at 86 proof.

Though made in the heart of sugar beet country, Ålander (pronounced OH-lander) is distilled from sugar cane, a federal requirement to qualify as rum. Its name is a reference to the Åland Islands in the northern Baltic, one of the only places in the world that uses sugar beets to make rum. In a nod to Minnesota's cherished lake country culture, the bold black bottle features of map of Oak Island at Lake of the Woods.

Ålander's complex yet balanced flavor is ideal for sipping and equally satisfying in cocktails like the Dark & Stormy, Daiquiri and Cuba Libre.