Top 5 Things You Might Have Missed in November
1. Skyline Candles from empty sauce jars
2. Bacon Egg Casserole in Le Parfait jars
4. Perrier Bottles into Tulip Vases
Why distill rum?
I love rum. I enjoy the taste of a lot of spirits, but I think rum is a bit of an outsider, the black sheep of liquor in a lot of ways.
It was actually the first spirit distilled in this country. Super important to the colonial Northeast. And really the goal is to bring Northeast, New York rum back to New York. Whiskey is known as the American spirit, but it was really rum. I want to educate the public not only on the history of rum in this country, but also what rum is, what you do with it, and what makes each rum different.
What makes your rum special?
The ingredients, the recipe, the yeast, and the fermentation philosophy coupled with how you make your cuts really affect how things taste.
I pride myself in being small, different, and having a different philosophy. Literally doing everything by hand. There are no automatic machines at all. My ingredients are higher quality, my stories are different, and my prices are higher.
The Noble Experiment is a great name. What does it mean?
It is actually a play on the phrase. This was the U.S. government’s nickname for prohibition and it’s my own noble experiment. I want to embrace the history of distilling in New York, so I decided to go back to the last time we had a distilling industry.
So why call your rum Owney’s?
Owney is the nickname of a gangster who grew up in Hell’s Kitchen. He was the leader of the Gopher Gang and during prohibition he was super active in terms of operating speakeasies, bootlegging and, the most endearing to me, he was a rum runner.
He actually had an estate in Rockaway, my hometown, where he’d run rum off the shores.
Tell us about this glass bottle. How does it help tell the story?
I always wanted a unique bottle. I toyed with the idea of just a traditional liquor bottle and, from knowing the business side of this from my old job, knew that packaging is a huge part of this business. I met a guy who was a glass broker, and he advised me that the bottle will help your story stand out.
We designed this bottle and I think it captures exactly the image of the product and the company.
A lot of bottles were embossed during the prohibition era. I wanted something with a bubble neck because that’s typically indicative of rum or whiskey. I wanted something square. I didn’t want something round. We wanted something plain with the font for the embossing because we knew we wanted to do something crazy and wild with fonts on the label. Back in the day they were either embossed with something like this, or really fancy scripts.
Can you tell us about how the glass bottle protects your passion project?
It’s pretty cool to bring it to a party, and hold it and drink it with your friends and say, “I made that.”
Also, when the cases are all packed up and ready for shipping to liquor stores and bars. But I would actually say pouring it out of the bottle, or even just pouring tastes for people—that feels real. Not when it’s going in, getting filled. When it’s going out feels more real.