Wicked Dolphin Rum

DRINK LOCAL! DRINK LOCAL! You can almost hear the statement being shouted from the rafters at a rum distillery down in Cape Coral, Florida. The motto of this family run business is “local is better,” and they might be on to something. From the exact sugar and fruit to the local honey used, the distillers behind Wicked Dolphin Rum are proudly offering us a craft spirit that highlights all Florida has to offer. I had a chance to see not only how they make this award winning spirit but also why Florida natives and tourists alike are beginning to pay attention to what ingredients are  really being used in their favorite cocktail.

Wicked Dolphin Rum was started in 2012 when an adopted native of Cape Coral was brave enough to ask one important question: “why is there no rum made in Florida?” JoAnn Elardo, the founder of Wicked Dolphin, began researching and found that over half of the sugar in the U.S. is provided by The Sunshine State. And, what is the main ingredient that good rum relies on? You guessed it… sugar. With 98% of all rums being imported from Puerto Rico, Barbados and the Virgin Islands, JoAnn set down the not so easy road of establishing a Florida home for a rum distillery.

With Elardo’s launching of both the Wicked Dolphin Florida Spiced and Wicked Dolphin Florida Silver in 2012, Florida welcomed the start of a new trend: locally crafted spirits. Wicked Dolphin sources their rum base from fertile fields of locally grown sugar cane located only 25 miles down the road from their distillery. Every bottle of Wicked Dolphin Spiced Rum offers a sweet retreat to a time before the urban sprawl, when orange groves grew for acres as far as the eye could see. Just a whiff of Florida oranges and local honey provides a glorious nose of sweet orange blossoms, leaving you reminiscing to a long drive down the rural roads of yesteryear. Strong notes of spice, along with sweet orange and honey, pair perfectly with ginger beer or a classic cola.

Wicked Dolphin’s Silver Rum has a nice clean finish with the plea: “bring back the classic Daiquiri!” This particular liquor spends much of its life in once used bourbon barrels for a cleaner finish.

With a lighter and more cocktail friendly taste profile, the Wicked Dolphin Coconut Rum is standing proud on its own. A safe guarded secret, all natural ingredients, and real coconut water will help the newest addition to the Wicked Dolphin portfolio bring both whiskey and scotch drinkers to the rum world.

Resting comfortably in bourbon barrels over the last three years, Wicked Dolphin’s “Gold Reserve” is finally ready to break into the market. I would be willing to bet that  any scotch drinker would love to have a bottle of this on the table with one cube of ice in a Reidel whisky tumbler.

The fact that we have access to a top tier rum made in our own backyard is something this native can proudly stand behind. I was even given the chance to taste a special project direct from barrel with “Cigar City” in its name. When this new liquor is made available to you, take my advice: hunt it down and keep it close. Spending a day with this proud rum family at their Cape Coral based distillery opened my eyes to begin looking more into where my spirits are made and how they are created. 

Check out this cool weather worthy cocktail from Wicked Dolphin Rum:

The “B”s and the “E”s

What you’ll need:
2 oz. Wicked Dolphin Florida Spiced Rum | 1 oz. of Florida honey syrup (equal parts honey and hot water to dissolve honey.) | ¾  oz. lemon juice

This is a classic so taste before you change, but if you’d rather, you can add a little homegrown orange juice to bring it closer to a Florida cocktail.

Pour all the ingredients in a tin with ice and shake well. Strain your cocktail into a chilled glass and garnish with a lemon or orange wedge.

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