This seasonal was quite an adventure! We had so many people on tours and out and abotu who asked us to make rum. But because we try so hard to use local ingredients and rum is made from sugar cane or molasses, we didn't think we'd be able to pull it off. But then we had an idea. What about sorghum syrup?
We figured that was sugar, so why not? We found a few places that were making sorghum syrup. But not in the big quantities that we would need to make enough for a full batch. Then on a drive back from Des Moines one day, we stopped at Maasdam Sorghum Mills near Lynnville, IA. They have the most amazing steam-powered sorghum press that processes the sweet sorghum juice and cooks it down to a syrup. We ordered up a 55 gallon drum to try it out and it turned out delicious.
The only problem was that sorghum syrup was going to be a very expensive way to make rum. So we decided to order extra sugar when we made coffee liqueur and ferment that along with the sorghum. So this is a hybrid of sorts.
The initial distillate left a wonderfully unique flavor with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg that almost tasted like a lightly spiced rum. We wanted to age it to give it a little color, but were fearul to cover up the flavor of the sorghum. So this spirit aged in a new barrel for only a few months.
As is the case for all of our spirits, we have to get federal formula and label approval for our spirits. So we submitted our paperwork and were denied as a rum. Turns out that in order to call it rum, 100% of the base material has to be cane sugar or cane molasses. So we couldn't call it rum. So we went round and round trying to figure out what to call it. We came up with the name "Sorghrum" and it just stuck. We sent in the paperwork and it was approved. By the time we had waded through all of the red tape, we were within just a couple weeks of our planned February 1 release. So we sent the labels to the printer and ordered the bottles raying that everything would get here in time.
One week before release, everything arrived. So we set up for our big botling night. Only problem, a snow storm moved in! But some of our most dedicated volunteers made it anyway and we got it all bottled up. Garrett drove to Ankeny in blizzard conditions to get it to our distributors in time for the Feb. 1 release. Nothing like waiting until the last minute! But we made it and it's a deliciously different rum for those of us stuck on the Dry Dock!
This spirit was bottled on January 30 and on February 5 by: Harlan, Mark, John, Shirley, Pat, Dave, Karen, Jon, Bob, Martha, Tom, John, Fred, Pat, Mary, Deb, Phil, Matt, Julie, Scot, Ryan, Sean, and Garrett.