Annapolis' Destination for Beer, Wine & Spirits
Big Z Rum: Handcrafted in Maryland, This Rum Does the Navy Proud

Big Z Rum: Handcrafted in Maryland, This Rum Does the Navy Proud

Big Z Rum: Handcrafted in Maryland, This Rum Does the Navy Proud

September 1, 2016 | David Marberger


Ahead of the Big Z Rum tasting this Saturday, September 3, from 4 to 7 p.m., we wanted to share with you what makes its story so special – especially for the city of Annapolis, the proud home of the Naval Academy. (Whose first game is also this Saturday!)

On October 15, 2016, the centuries-old traditional naval commissioning ceremony for the USS ZUMWALT DDG 1000 will take place in the Port of Baltimore. The ship was named for Admiral Zumwalt, whose 37-year career brought the U.S. Navy “kicking and screaming into the 20th century,” according to a 1970 issue of TIME Magazine.

Scott Sanders of Tobacco Barn Distillery – a farm distillery in St. Mary’s County, Maryland – remarks that there’s a beautiful continuum between the late Admiral and his namesake destroyer. “It’s a destroyer like no other,” he says. “It’s futuristic, while still retaining notes of tradition. Much like Admiral Zumwalt who came out of the great Naval tradition, but in the 1970s, shaped the Navy into what we know today.”

The same could also be said about the Big Z Rum itself, which was crafted especially for the commissioning ceremony.

Big Z Rum from Tobacco Barn Distillery

Handmade in small batches of Baltimore’s own Domino Grade A molasses, the recipe pays homage to the traditional “Navy style” of Caribbean rum – but with its own modern twist. Boasting notes of vanilla and caramel, the rum was crafted using modern distillation techniques before being aged in bourbon barrels for seven months.

“Big Z Rum isn’t just another rum,” Sanders says. “Beyond its story, it’s different due to the barrel-aging. And also, let’s face it: Back in the day, the Royal Navy wasn’t worried about bringing out hints of caramel or vanilla. They were worried about getting back to work!”

Most of all, Big Z Rum was crafted utilizing 100 percent solar electricity, and all of the cooling water was recycled, as well. Again, bringing the traditional art of rum distillation forward into the 21st century, with a commitment to zero emissions.

Sanders says he’s looking forward to attending this Saturday’s tasting at Bay Ridge Wine and Spirits. “We wanted to do something special for the USS ZUMWALT, and we are very proud of Big Z Rum,” he notes. “A lot of thought and heart went into it – from the rum itself even to the design of the bottle. And we hope others will enjoy this one-of-a-kind rum, too.”