Rum is a spirit that arrives in the glass with stories and images built in: tales of pirates, deserted islands, buried treasure, and tropical fields lush with sugarcane. Since rum has been the lifeblood of seafarers, it's fitting that a port city like ours would require not one, but two rum houses: Smuggler's Cove and Bar Agricole. S.F.'s ardor has encouraged local production as well. Charbay in Napa has produced lovely unaged and vanilla infused expressions for some time, and now Alameda's St. George Spirits is releasing what could be the first U.S. agricole-style rum, Agua Libre.
Agricole rum (or rhum agricole) is a spirit made from fermented cane juice primarily on the island of Martinique, although it's also made on Guadeloupe, St. Barts, and other French-connected islands. The sugarcane must be grown on the island, as well as all distilling, aging, and bottling. The CliffsNotes version of the story is that agricole rum is to other rums what mescal is to tequila ― most often artisanal, and with complex flavors.