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Recipe: Rhode Island Egg Nog made with Thomas Tew Rum

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By Henry Krauzyk

Put down that bottle from Bermuda! Create Rhode Island cheer by sipping some! This holiday season terroir-ize your family and friends with a Rhode Island Egg Nog featuring the pirate Thomas Tew’s namesake made-in-Rhode Island rum!

A Rhode Island rum?
Newport’s reputation for fine rum is well deserved. In the late 1700s, Newport, Rhode Island was home to 22 distilleries and had the reputation for making the finest rum in the world! Although the last distiller closed down in 1842, the history and tradition surrounding Newport rum endures and that history includes the pirate Thomas Tew. During the rise of rum in Newport, Thomas Tew was immortalized as “The Rhode Island Pirate”. Tew was a lifelong sailor and had a penchant for privateering and pirating that took him from the Colonies to Europe, Africa and back. No one knows where Thomas Tew was born but it is known that he called Newport, Rhode Island home and that trading and drinking rum were an essential part of his life at sea. Now, after three centuries, Newport is once again home to this adventurous icon and his famous spirit.
Thomas Tew Rum is inspired by the craftsmanship of days past. It is slowly made in a "small pot still" to replicate the rum that was produced in Newport in the past. The still, along with the dark molasses, temperate climate, and local water combine to create a spirit that hasn’t been available for over a century. One sip of this flavorful, dark rum and you’ll wonder how this tradition could have ever disappeared.
How is it made?
Blackstrap molasses, the most flavorful of the molasses,  is combined with water and fermented in the tanks in the adjacent brewery. Using the abundant supply of healthy yeast in the brewery (just like would have happened three centuries ago) the fermentation goes flawlessly and the “wash” is prepared for distillation. The wash is then added 105 gallons at a time to the small pot still and sent through its first distillation. Several distillates are then gathered for the final distillation. Unlike more neutral spirits the second distillation is to polish the spirit while retaining flavor. Further distillation simply takes out the flavors from the molasses.
Once the spirit is finished it is placed in American Oak barrels and left to age. A blend of French and American Oak is used inside the barrels to complete the rum. Before packaging, the rum is proofed and filtered. Finally, Thomas Tew is put in the bottles, hand dipped into wax, and numbered. It is truly a hand made spirit.
What makes it different?
• Unlike most distilled spirits made now, Thomas Tew Rum is made from start to finish in our Rhode Island distillery. No outside source of aged rum, raw rum, or grain neutral spirit is used in Thomas Tew. Only rum made from the fermented molasses at our facility is used to produce our exceptional spirit. Our unique source of brewers yeast is one of the things that makes this feasible.
• Thomas Tew is a single barrel rum. Unlike many aged spirits, flavor is used to determine whether a barrel is ready rather than a calendar. Small changes in the wood and the distillate create differences in aging times. By continually tasting each barrel, Thomas Tew is bottled when it is ready, no sooner or later.
• Blackstrap molasses! More refined sugars are often used to make rum because they are easier to ferment. However, these sugars lack the flavor of true blackstrap molasses and are simply not able to make a rum as full and flavorful as Thomas Tew.  

Thomas Tew Rhode Island Egg Nog

6 whole “Rhody Natural” eggs plus 2 extra egg yolks
3 cups “Rhody Fresh” whole milk
3 cups “Rhody Fresh” half and half
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups Thomas Tew Rum, Rhode Island’s Rum
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
In a large sauce pan away from the stove, whisk eggs, yolks, sugar and salt.  Steadily whisk while pouring in milk and half and half.  Whisk until completely mixed and smooth.  Turn burner onto low. Continuously whisk for 25-30 minutes or until the mixture reaches 160 degrees Fahrenheit.  
Remove and strain out any pesky ‘cooked egg’ pieces.  Stir in Thomas Tew Rum, nutmeg and vanilla.  Refrigerate until cool or for as long as willpower allows.  Garnish with a sprinkle of grated nutmeg.  
Enjoy with family and friends in front of a roaring Rhode Island holiday fire!
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