So a couple of weeks ago, doing research for the Rum Rhum Club that is coming up on Sunday, 2/26/17 , I got to visit a distillery in Pasadena California, Stark Spirits.
They make Rum of course, but they also make Aquavit, Whiskey and an Orange Brandy called SUNSHINE (plus a few other things they are working on).
I'm going to talk, briefly, about the products that will be at RRC and squeeze a few pictures I took of the setup.
This is Gregory Stark the Master Distiller
The main still
Since this was research for Rum Rhum Club we started on the rums and the most popular rum is probably 'Stark Spirits California Silver 151 Rum'. They call it "California style overproof rum" and actually that is really accurate. The quality of this high proof, double distilled rum still shines through and maintains clean, natural aroma and rum flavor. It is made from molasses and pure cane sugar. This rum will surprise you with its drinkability. it’s very dry, with crisp citrus zest and clean blossoms that carry along into the palate and not overtaken by the alcoholic strength.

The standard offering of 'Stark Spirits California Silver Rum' is also fantastic. it comes in at 86 proof and shows the excellent character of the rum at an easier, less flammable ABV. At this lower proof, more fruit tones come forward and it is very easy to see how this could be easily sipped or mixed with simple mixers (soda, tonic, ICE) or put in a variety of cocktails .
Stark3.jpg Some of the barrels that are aging rum and whiskeyGreg enjoys crafting his 'California Rum', but I think he may be especially proud of the 'Stark Spirits California Gold Rum'. Easy to sip, with aromas vanilla, caramel, and a touch of earthy sugarcane and sweet flavor that follow and build to include cooking spice, chocolate, tropical fruit and articulated sugar. Very nice.

Stark2.jpg More barrels and the bottling machine
The next one I'll mention is so good. I grew up picking oranges off of the neighbor's trees and eating more oranges than anyone I know. 'Sunshine Orange Brandy' is totally unique! I have been talking to my distiller friends for years trying to get them to make an Eau de Vie de from Orange, it seems PERFECTLY California. Stark nails it. Not sweet, no sugar added, just a wonderful spirit of the orange. Sunshine Orange Brandy is made completely from oranges and their juice and nothing else. The oranges are locally grown Valencia oranges. The sweetness of oranges, with the bitter notes you find in the peel and mysterious hints of spicy clove and high-toned flowers add intrigue and excitement to the flavors. Every aspect of this is bright, fresh and zesty packed into a 100 proof 100% orange spirit that is perfectly named.
The last little treat we are showcasing at Rum Rhum Club is the 'Stark Traditional Aquavit'. This aquavit uses only caraway and grains of paradise to achieve its flavorful characteristics and aromas. It is perfect served frozen, neat with any kind of food. The smell is creamy caraway with flavors that follow, building to include notes of spicy grains, clean pepper and a lovely slight implication of sweetness.

To check more about Starks Spirits, go to

If you are in Los Angeles on Sunday, 2/26/17 join us for Rum Rhum Club .