The craft spirits phenomenon has taken the nation by storm, but few people know how their favorite cocktails are made. The folks at Donner-Peltier Distillers want to change that.
On Jan. 30, the owners of the Donner-Peltier Distillery will host “Louisiana-Grown: From Sugarcane to Cocktails” at the LSU Museum of Art. Joining them will be Mark Reilly and Brad Andries, chefs at Stroubes Seafood & Steaks. Participants can enjoy hors d’ouevres and sample the distillers’ famous drinks as they explain how to turn native crops into alcoholic treats.
Jeff English, the museum’s communications coordinator, said the exhibit’s biggest draw will be the brewers’ use of exclusively local ingredients.
“There’s been a real push for craft drinks lately, and a lot of people today are interested in products that are unique to the area,” English said.
The distillery currently produces six different kinds of alcohol. The signature spirit, Rougaroux Rum, is made from pure cane extract and contains no artificial ingredients. They also sell vodka, gin, whiskey and sugarshine, a fusion of moonshine and rum.
“It’s based on the legend of the Rougaroux, the French werewolf,” English said.
According to English, the legend of the Rougaroux is a celebrated tale in Thibodaux, where the distillery is located. The story is used to scare mischievous children into behaving. Legend says the Rougaroux casts curses on children, which last for 101 days. The rum is 101 proof and pays direct tribute to this local lore.
The namesake of the company’s gin is “oryza,” the Latin word for rice. It is made in the rural outskirts of Rayne and is sweeter than most gins, which are typically neutral spirits. The brewers distinguish their recipe from others by infusing the gin with fruit flavors like juniper, lavender and satsuma, all of which are harvested in south Louisiana.
The museum’s curators, who are well-versed in the history of Louisiana’s breweries, will co-host the exhibit. The Rougaroux spirits will be presented in conjunction with antique barware from the museum’s permanent collection. The collection will include old rum bottles, glassware and equipment used to distill and serve alcohol in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The event will be held tonight on the third floor of the LSU Museum of Art from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are $40 for museum members and $45 for nonmembers and should be purchased in advance by calling the museum at 225-389-7210.