Liquid Arizona: Rum Diary

Craig OuthierJuly 31, 2020
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Grand Canyon Distillery puts an Arizonan stamp on the Caribbean spirit.

With its much-admired menu of bottled beers, plus seasonal and barrel-aged brews, on top of a full arsenal of spirits including prickly pear vodka, unoaked Thunder Snow whiskey and White Claw-style canned vodka sodas, Grand Canyon Brewing + Distillery has one of the most diverse liquid portfolios in the state. Next on distiller John Hunter’s to-do list: launching an oaked gold rum that will complement GC’s flagship white rum ($30, pictured). GC sales director Alexander Phillips says the spirit is designed for tiki drink enthusiasts and other customers who want a more complex tipple. Phillips rum-inated with us on the distillery’s daiquiri-ready spirit line.

In the style of Jamaican rums, GC rums are distilled from pure molasses, pulled off a boat in New Orleans and shipped directly to Arizona, Phillips says. In contrast to the slightly vegetal nose of sugar-based Haitian and Dominican rums, GC’s molasses-based rums have hints of tropical fruit and mango.

Once safely ensconced at the GC distillery in Williams, the molasses is heated in mash tuns to begin the fermentation process, and ultimately is twice-distilled to achieve clarity.

Due in stores this fall, Arizona Gold Rum is aged two years in new American oak and is presenting notes of maple, vanilla, allspice and light citrus, according to Hunter. In true tiki fashion, home mixologists can use both GC rums in the same cocktail (see below).

Arizona Hustler

1 oz. GC white rum
1 oz. GC Arizona Gold Rum
1 oz. Reàl passion fruit syrup
1 oz. lime juice

Shake and strain into an Old Fashioned glass filled with ice. Garnish with mint

Photos by Angelina Aragon; courtesy Gold Rum
Photos by Angelina Aragon; courtesy Gold Rum
Photo courtesy Grand Canyon Brewing Wild Saison
Photo courtesy Grand Canyon Brewing Wild Saison
Beer of the Month
Grand Canyon Brewing Wild Saison

Farmhouse Ale/6.8% ABV/22 IBU
Wild fermentation is the craps table of the brewing world. Working with funky European yeast strains, brewers can never be entirely sure what mischievous spore will float into their tank. The lack of certainty makes it exciting – a stylistic adrenaline rush that uplifts Williams-based Grand Canyon Brewing’s annual Wild Saison release. Aged in Sauvignon Blanc barrels, the oaky farmhouse beer leaps out of the glass with effervescent notes of lemon, peach and coriander, made tart with an in-bottle wallop of brettanomyces – the “wild” yeast strain that gives sour beer its funk. Awesomely refreshing, and only wild enough to roll a winner every time.