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GrandTen’s Medford Rum is Steeped in History

Breweries and bars

What is the difference between New England style rum and Caribbean rum? GrandTen Distilling in South Boston revived the first.

Medford Rum from GrandTen Distilling.

GrandTen Distilling opened its doors in South Boston in 2011, but the distillery produces a rum whose origins go back much further than that.

According to the Medford Historical Society, a brand of rum called “Medford Rum” was produced beginning in the early 1700s. This is the rum that Paul Revere drank on the evening of April 18, 1775, before his trip to Lexington to warning of the arrival of the British, cited in “Glimpses of Medford: Selections from the Historical Register” by Barbara Kerr (Charleston: History Press, 2007). GrandTen Distilling co-founder Matt Nuernberger is aware of tradition and likes to tie history into his relatively new beverage.

“The story goes that on his 1775 journey to Lexington, Paul Revere took a detour through Medford in order to avoid the Redcoats who were pursuing him,” says Nuernberger, referring to the book. “It turns out that Isaac Hall, the Medford distiller, was also the captain of the Medford minutemen. Although Revere’s stay was brief, it was long enough for Captain Hall to pour him several stirrup cups of rich old Medford rum, which “would have made a bulldog bite a rabbit.”

Medford Rum continued to be produced for over 100 years after that famous midnight journey, but due to Prohibition it remained largely dormant in the years that followed. GrandTen purchased and launched its own version of Medford Rum in spring 2014.

“There was a time, I think, in the ’50s and ’60s when MS Walker made a Medford rum, and then the brand went dormant,” Nuernberger says. “When we launched GrandTen, we decided to relaunch it. »

There are differences between Caribbean rum and the New England style to which the Medford brand belongs. Although Caribbean rum is not a monolith – the spirit is made differently in Puerto Rico than in Jamaica or Barbados – the New England version is generally “thicker and less sweet than its Caribbean cousin.” , according to the New York Times. Rum production expanded in the American colonies and peaked in 1770, according to the Times, when six million gallons of Caribbean molasses were imported to the American colonies. There’s also a nasty story here, involving the trade of rum from New England to West Africa in exchange for slaves sold to the Caribbean.

GrandTen’s Medford Rum follows the New England Colonial Rum tradition in taste. Made with black molasses and wild New England yeast in a copper pot still, Medford Rum has butterscotch or vanilla flavors more akin to a bourbon than some rums you may be familiar with. used to.

“It’s a little drier, but I would say there’s still a nice sweet note,” says Nuernberger.

Because of the characteristics of Medford Rum whiskey, Nuernberger says the spirit pairs well with an Old Fashioned cocktail, which GrandTen sells a lot of at its South Boston cocktail bar. Other GrandTen spirits include Wire Works Gin and South Boston Irish Whiskey.


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