KINGMAN, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Many may think of Captain Morgan and the Caribbean when thinking of rum.
But along Route 66 in Mohave County, at the Desert Diamond Distillery, or "D3," they make an Arizona rum that is award-winning and nationally recognized.
Desert Diamond is the oldest distillery in Arizona. Owner John Patt says the climate and conditions in the high desert in the Kingman area, are ideal for making rum.
"It was not my desire to copy the Caribbean. They do a wonderful job. They have for a long time," explains Patt. "We make rum in Arizona. We call ourselves the 'miner,' not the 'pirate.' We age in new barrels. The micro-climate here in Kingman is a lot like Tennessee and Kentucky. The hot summer and cool winter, those fluctuations make for a very nice aging process."
Some of D3's spirits have been barreled for 7 to 8 years now. D3 just released a 7-year wheat whisky. Every bottle is numbered, so there is only a limited amount available.
They hope to release a 10-year spirit in the next year-and-a-half.
Desert Diamond has a tasting room near the Kingman Airport, where you can sample different spirits, and even learn about pairing them with chocolates. You can also take a tour and learn about their distilling process.
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"I call this my 'Willy Wonka' machine. My wife says my toys just keep getting bigger and bigger, but this is where we convert it from a low proof alcohol into a high proof spirit," says Patt as he shows us around.
He loves to share his passion and teach visitors about the process.
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D3 even has something for the non-drinker.
"We also like to bake and cook. We had a customer say, 'Why don't you try your rums in extracting a vanilla,'" says Patt. "We take a Tahitian bean, and extract it with our white rum and create this nice vanilla."