the Cocktail issue

Atelier Vie New Orleans, LA — by Nora D. McGunnigle Jedd Hass opened Atelier Vie in 2012, in the Art Egg building under the South Broad St. overpass in Broadmoor. This small distillery has released unique variations on familiar spirits, like absinthe and gin. Atelier Vie’s Euphrosine Gin #9 is an award- winning, delicate spirit with its signature herbal ingredient, bay leaf. Tasty on its own, Hass decided to take it a step further by aging his gin in second-use, American whiskey oak barrels for several months to create a more smooth, amber-colored product that has the faintest notes of whiskey and oak, creating a complexity not seen before in Louisiana-made gins. Hass says that the first batch sold out quickly but reassures consumers that due to subsequent larger batches, the Barrel- Finished Reserve is currently available on an ongoing basis. Atelier Vie’s Toulouse Green absinthe, released in 2013, is a labor of love that enforces its mission to utilize Louisiana products in their spirits. The main ingredient in absinthe, wormwood, is such a product—Atelier Vie distributed wormwood seeds to local farms to grow and harvest before returning it to the distillery to become absinthe.

Bayou Rum Lacassine, LA — by Nora D. McGunnigle Bayou Rum, made by the Louisiana Spirits distillery in Lacassine, Louisiana, is distilled in a traditional copper “pot still” using 100% natural, unrefined Louisiana cane sugar and molasses, originating from the M.A. Patout & Sons Enterprise Factory in Patoutville. Louisiana Spirits has been creating rum using its traditional “sugar house recipe” since 2013 when the distillery’s Silver Rum was released. According to Trey Litel, Co-Founder and President of Bayou Rum, “We were inspired by the dedication of Louisiana sugar farmers and sugar mill workers who have competed successfully for that last 230 years on the world market.When we started talking to them about our idea, they told us it was a 50-year dream of Louisiana sugar workers to have rum they could call their own. This changed our perspective on the project and made it much bigger for us.” Louisiana Spirits also distributes Bayou Spiced Rum, made with local Louisiana spices, as well as its signature Bayou Select, dark rum fermented with proprietary cane yeast and aged in American oak bourbon barrels. Each 750ml bottle of Bayou Select is signed and numbered by the distillers. For something that’s a little different, try Bayou Satsuma Rum, a liqueur made with Bayou Select rum and local satsuma juice. Regarding growth and expansion, Litel notes, “We have increased our batch sizes and increased our bottling days to meet demand for 20 states and two provinces in Canada so far this year.” He adds, “Bayou Rum is growing largely because of the success in our home state of Louisiana and the support of local retailers like Rouses, our third largest retail customer in the USA right now. We are blessed with local support, and we don’t take that for granted.” Hass notes, “This proved to be somewhat of an innovation; one of our farmers contacted university agricultural experts for cultivation assistance; the experts found the idea of Louisiana wormwood production to be novel.” Hass points to the long historical connection between absinthe and New Orleans, as the inspiration to create Toulouse Green and Toulouse Red, including absinthe’s place in the city’s signature cocktail, the Sazerac. “With this long cultural association between the spirit and the city, distilling absinthe in New Orleans seemed like an obvious fit. After absinthe production was permitted again in 2007, some of the new brands, not produced in New Orleans, sought to capitalize on this association with the use of New Orleans- themed brand names. It seemed the time was right to make an authentic absinthe in New Orleans; a perfect combination of product and location.” Toulouse Green has garnered a gold medal from the American Distilling Institute as well as a place in the Galerie D’Absinthe in the Southern Food and Beverage Museum.



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