Louisiana is one of America’s biggest producers of sugar, and it’s found everywhere in the state, whether snowed upon beignets, stirred inside a hot café au lait or growing in tall, lean rows on the Cajun prairie.
And as one would expect in a state that prides itself as the birthplace of the cocktail, it’s found its way into locally distilled liquor. Rum distilleries using Louisiana-grown sugar have sprouted in south Louisiana in recent years, and their factories and products are a hit with travelers and locals alike.
The Bayou Rum Distillery in Lacassine is the largest privately owned rum distillery in the U.S. The factory sits inside thousands of acres of cane fields off Interstate 10 just east of Lake Charles, and it produces award-winning rums bottled under the Bayou Rum label.
You’ll get the feel of an upscale ski or hunting lodge when entering the factory through its gift shop. The décor is rustic, with huge stained beams framing its open cathedral ceiling and polished metals surrounding a massive hardwood bar. The feel is echoed in an adjacent small theater where visitors are introduced to the history and evolution of both rum and the Louisiana Spirits story.
It’s a different experience behind the double doors that lead to the distilling area. There are a series of massive aluminum tanks and distilling machines, and the gymnasium-sized room is bathed in a sweet, syrupy scent.
The tour concludes at the lavish upscale bar to sample Bayou Rum varieties.
Other notable and tourist-accessible Louisiana distilleries include:
- New Orleans’ Atelier Vie, which produces a traditional green absinthe and a red variety that is colored and flavored with hibiscus flowers, and Lula Restaurant Distillery, where you can pair your drink with a bite to eat from previous Commander’s Palace Chef Jess Bourgeois.
- Baton Rouge’s Three Roll Estate, which features their Red Stick Cinnamon Rum that pays homage to the town where Three Roll is headquartered.
- Houma’s Bayou Terrebonne Distillers, which specializes in clear Louisiana Corn Whiskey. Owners and cousins Nick Hebert and Rodney Lirette founded the distillery nearly a century after their grandmother made moonshine during the days of Prohibition to support her family.
- Sulphur’s Yellowfin Vodka Distillery, which sources ingredients locally, using homegrown sugar from Gramercy, Louisiana.
For more on Louisiana’s distilleries, plus information on the Louisiana Craft Brewery Trail and the state’s wine producers, visit Libations.LouisianaTravel.com.