The Spirit of Thomas Tew Lives on at Newport Rhode Island
What do a 20th-century hotel bar and a 21st-century distillery have in common with a 17th-century pirate?
The key is the pirate. Thomas Tew, who had ties to Rhode Island, found his fortune, and ultimate demise, trolling the waters of the Indian Ocean. Newport Distillery produces premium, single barrel rum distributed under the name Thomas Tew and One Bellevue at Newport’s Hotel Viking serves up a tasty cocktail showcasing — you guessed it — Thomas Tew Single Barrel Rum.
Helmed by Brent Ryan, who founded nearby Newport Storm Brewery with three college buddies (Derek Luke, Mark Sinclair and Will Rafferty) in 1999, Newport Distillery produces single barrel rum made in a copper still and aged in oak barrels.
Today’s distillery is in many ways a tribute to Newport’s historic ties to the rum trade. Once known as the “Rum Capital of the World,” Newport was home to 22 individual distilleries at the height of production in the 17th and 18th centuries, the last of which shut down in 1842.
Produced start-to-finish at the Rhode Island distillery, Thomas Tew Single Barrel Rum is derived from fermented molasses and brewers’ yeast with no outside additives. The result is a deep flavor with hints of vanilla and spice.
Brad Head, a bartender at Hotel Viking’s One Bellevue, prepares The Stonewall, a warm-me-up blend of rum, apple cider, ginger beer and lime, to showcase those flavors.
“The lime is a nice juxtaposition,” said Ryan. “The rum has lots of spice flavor, nutmeg, so I can see where he’s going with the apple cider and spice. Those are great flavors to complement what we’re doing with our spirit.”
With spring just around the corner, Head is already hard at work experimenting with new flavors to create a warm-weather Thomas Tew-centric concoction. Stand by for details. In the meantime, here’s Head’s recipe for The Stonewall.
Created by Hotel Viking Bartender Brad Head
1½ ounces Thomas Tew Single Barrel Rum
¼ ounce fresh lime juice
4 ounces apple cider
1 ounce ginger beer
Fill a tall 10-ounce glass with ice. Add rum, lime juice, apple cider and ginger beer. Enjoy!