By Warren Bobrow

Busted Barrel Rum from Jersey Artisan Distilling in Fairfield, NJ is the first distillery since prohibition to distill rum in our state.  Craft distilling is growing in popularity around the country.  It’s not just the large liquor companies that are able to sate the thirst of the public.  Micro-distilleries like Jersey Artisan are more than willing to take up their own niche within a thirsty populace.  They do so with a passionate product. Brant Braue and Krista Haley are the gregarious owners of Jersey Artisan Distilling.  They are passionate about flavor and speak with conviction on why their rum is one of the world’s best.  Perhaps it’s something about the water here in New Jersey?  Or maybe that their proprietary method turns out such a flavorful distillate because of the ingredients?   I’m not sure, but a recent tasting of their dark and light rums certainly charmed my taste buds and made me a fan.

The Busted Barrel Still

The Busted Barrel Still

The light rum is pure in the nose and the finish goes on and on.

Busted Barrel Rum is made with Florida Cane, turned into molasses then shipped up to Fairfield, where Jersey Artisan is located.  In a former Curtiss-Wright hanger, Busted Barrel is distilled one drop at a time from a copper pot still.  It’s an old-fashioned and time consuming process to make fine spirits.  The labor of love is clear with the clean flavor of the light rum.

It has an Rhum Agricole nose and a white flower mid-range that extends into the lengthy finish of toasted nuts and caramel laced with sea salt.  I love their label as well, because in the real world the label is what gets it moving from the shelf.  The added bonus is the quality of the rum itself.  This is high quality rum with a long life ahead of it in the barrel.  Visit the distillery and see the small oak barrels lined up against the wall.  Each represents about a case of rum.  The dark rum is toasty with butterscotch notes and flavors of slow cooked stone fruits and salted caramel candy.

Certainly not a BUSTED Barrel... But a Barrel of Rum

Certainly not a BUSTED Barrel… But a Barrel of Rum

I cannot wait to see how this rum turns out after a couple years resting in the barrel.

In the days of yore in New Jersey, when pirates plied the marshes and rum represented the only true currency, the thirst of the residents was hard to quench.

Now we are lucky to have a truly New Jersey distilled rum in our efforts to revisit those days that only history speaks to in mostly garbled tones.

I love rum punch in the summer because the flavors of the sugar cane and the fruit flavors of my Cocktail Whisperer’s punch are so lip-smacking and thirst quenching in hot weather.

Busted Barrel rum is just a natural with assorted fruit juices (all freshly squeezed) and another lovely product, the Bitter End Bitters and a healthy portion of a gorgeous Grenadine Syrup from the Jack Rudy Cocktail Company in Charleston, South Carolina.

Busted Barrel NJ Rum

Busted Barrel NJ Rum with Klaus The Soused Gnome

This is real Grenadine, not that red painted stuff that clogs the soda shelves in the grocery stores.   The Jack Rudy product is made with pure ingredients like freshly crushed pomegranate and cane sugar along with orange flower water.

Rum happens to go famously with Grenadine along with pineapple juice, freshly squeezed lime, lemon and orange juices and a few hits of coconut cream.   To take my punch a bit further I prime my punch bowl with a bit of Absinthe from Tenneyson in France.  There is something magical about adding Absinthe to the punch bowl.  It adds a dreamy element of chance to the typical bowl of good cheer.   I also like to add the magically refreshing Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water to the punch bowl with pinwheels of orange, lemon and limes. I love the pink grapefruit version because it adds a sharp lift to each sip of this aromatic, natural sparkling spring water.

Punch is the perfect antidote to steamy weather when there is a large chunk of ice in the bowl.  It cools the inside of the body and quenches the thirst.

Historically speaking, punch is as important to our nation as the Declaration of Independence because by and large, the founding fathers were drinking punch to stay refreshed in the absence of Madeira or beer.

A Revolutionary Punch

Ingredients for 10 people

1 Bottle Busted Barrel Rum

4 Tablespoons Absinthe (I used Tenneyson),

distributed around the inside of the punch bowl before adding the ingredients!

1 cup Dole Fresh Pineapple Juice

1 quart freshly squeezed orange juice

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

1 cup coconut cream (sweetened is ok)

10 drops Bitter End Mexican Mole Bitters

I like the kick in these cocktail augmentations.

2 bottles Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water

(Pink Grapefruit essence)

Rounds of orange, lemon, grapefruit and lime (thickly cut)

Jack Rudy Grenadine Syrup



Add all ingredients to a large punch-bowl that you pre-washed with a bit of Absinthe- place a large square of ice in the middle- stir well to cool

Add the Citrus fruit rounds and stir again, then scrape fresh nutmeg over the top. Stir again

Serve in clear cups with a ladle and toast to our nation’s history!


My upcoming book, Apothecary Cocktails is now in pre-sell!


Warren’s first book, Apothecary Cocktails is being published by Quayside/Rockport Books in November 2013. He has globally published over three hundred articles on everything from cocktail mixology to restaurant reviews.



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