Spirits in the Cane Field

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I’ll take a beer or glass of wine most any day over a shot of liquor or even a mixed drink. Despite that, I’ve been interested for several months now in trying the spirits crafted minutes away from my home in the middle of a cane field by the Donner-Peltier Distillery. Its claim to fame is its use of local sugar cane, processed in Thibodaux, and rice from Rayne, Louisiana to make it’s locally themed rums, vodka, and now gin.

Donner-Peltier hosted a free sampling event in its distillery’s tasting room this Saturday to premiere its latest products: Oryza Gin and 13 Pennies Praline Rum. Seeing this as a prime opportunity to finally make our trip, Lindsay and I decided to go. We weren’t sure what to expect when we arrived at the Distillery, an odd sight sitting in the middle of a cane field along the 55 mph St. Patrick Street that most people use to bypass traffic on Canal.

The tasting room is a small, bright space with a few tables, assorted snacks, and a traditional bar in the back. When we found a space to sit, we were treated to a tasting of every spirit in DP’s portfolio, including its upcoming whiskey set for retail sometime this Fall. Lindsay and I were a bit anxious, not being all that comfortable drinking straight liquor, even if the samples were small. My hesitation was washed away at the first taste, though.

Being a relative novice when it comes to liquor, I can’t speak in detail to the specific flavors and characteristics of each spirit we sampled. I can, however, attest to how smooth and unique they tasted. Each sip went down easy but was full of interesting flavors I never tasted in spirits before (not that I’ve tried very hard in the past.) I especially liked the Sugarshine and Full Moon rums as well as the new gin.

After our tasting, we were treated to the daily cocktail, Oryza gin with lemon juice I think, and a tour of the distillery. We were impressed to learn that less than a dozen people work to make all of the distillery’s spirits going so far as to hand label every bottle of rum.

We left after buying a bottle of Rougaroux Full Moon dark rum, more than content with our trip. It’s great having such a unique and ambitious distillery right here in Thibodaux, especially one that embraces the local resources and culture to produce such spirited spirits.

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