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A Day in the Field with High Wire Distilling

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A Day in the Field with High Wire Distilling
Text by Margaret Godowns and photo courtesy of Highwire Distillery

Farm to table eating is all the rage these days, but what about farm to table drinking? High Wire Distillery is doing just that. We spent the day with them on a little farm outside St. George, SC, as they juiced sugar cane for a new batch of rum that is in the works.

As owner Ann Marshall explained, most of their rum is made from molasses, which is a processed version of fresh sugar cane syrup. The rum they hope to produce using the freshly harvested sugar cane will be a more earthy, rudimentary spirit.

The process certainly was earthy, but in the best way. Picture the farm owners in overalls (with some added muscle from the High Wire crew) feeding an endless stream of sugar cane through a rustic red processing machine. Once through the jaws of this loud contraption, the juiced sugar cane remnants are separated from the raw sugary syrup, which is collected into barrels and hauled back to Charleston. Throw in a few yellow Labrador retrievers and some lessons in how to use a machete, and you’ve got one dynamic farm-to-cocktail-glass operation.

This particular rum will not be ready for at least two months, and due to its raw sweetener, it could take up to four or five to reach peak drinkability. All I know is that when it is ready, I’ll be first in line to taste the fruits of the harvest.