There are three things I dread during summer: sweat, swimsuits and sunburns. Rum offers a hand, a beacon of hope and joy to make all of the above a little more bearable – and at times, enjoyable! Its reliability and comfort wash away cares and concerns. And it happens to be the companion of a colorful assortment of summertime beverages: mojitos, pina coladas, hurricanes and daiquiris.
This liquid gold is synonymous with good times. So as soon as I heard we had a rum distillery a stone’s throw from Austin that offers tastings and tours, I was there within 24 hours.
Scenic Drive to Wimberley
The hour drive to Cypress Creek Reserve Rum in Wimberley is half the fun. From Austin, you’ll pass at least three wineries, an abundance of livestock, a Hindu Temple and an exit for “Camp Wizard.”
As tempting as these are, rum trumped them all. There was a blue and white sign signaling that we had reached our destination, along with a sign that read, “BUY YOUR RUM HERE.” The stone bungalow belonging to the owners, David and Laura Watson, rests in the shadows of their distillery, along with a covered patio and cedar bar.
Owners David and Laura Watson
It was on an undersea treasure dive off the island of Mauritius that David’s palette was opened to a rum that was superior to rums of his past.
He studied this liquid libation, intent on importing it to Texas, soon realizing the two elements that would lead to success in establishing his own distillery: he’s a gifted welder capable of building nearly anything out of metal (including buildings and distilling tanks!) and his home’s location is ideally suited for producing liquor. The street name gives it away: Jacobs Well Road. With access to unlimited supplies of fresh Hill Country water, combined with David’s ability to design and build a structure to house a rum distillery, Cypress Creek Reserve Rum was born.
Fortunately, Laura was no stranger to the world of elixirs, having tended bar for 30 years. The smile that appears permanently transfixed below rosy cheeks offers proof she’s in a place that brings her comfort and joy.
Rum Tastings and Cocktails on the Patio
The outdoor bar offers tastings of Cypress Creek’s three rums: Crystal Rum, Vanilla Rum and the limited edition Aged Rum. A steady trickle of people from around the country arrived during my visit. A man from Virginia was visiting his sister. Two young couples, their swimsuits still damp from a dip in Jacob’s Well, were also getting relief from the heat. Having visited the distillery before, one woman wanted to bring her Pennsylvania friends to experience a rum tasting and cool off with one of Laura’s signature cocktails, the Rum Chata. It’s a tasty adult treat that mimics a root beer float over crushed ice.
My favorite beverage offered was the mojito, particularly when Laura casually pointed to a potted plant and told my husband to grab a few sprigs of mint leaves for our drinks. Watching her stir, crush and pour the contents of this little cocktail into a clear tall glass was beautiful.
Overall, my Cypress Creek Reserve Rum tasting exceeded my expectations. The three tastings, sampled straight, went down smoothly. I especially enjoyed the Vanilla Rum flavored with Laura’s homemade Tahitian vanilla extract.
The Watsons’ fate was sealed on that trip to the island of Mauritius. Sometimes we search the world over for treasures, when all along they reside in our backyard. The well down their street is churning out water that turns into liquid gold after getting into the hands of David and Laura. Their gold is our consumable treasure.
1400 Jacobs Well Road Wimberley, TX – Website
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