Roll Stogies & Become A Rum Runner In Key West
By Dale King and Julia Hebert
Even if your humidors are stocked with the finest cigars and your crystal decanters are filled with the best aged rums, there’s one thing likely still missing on your bucket list: rolling your own stogies in an authentic cigar factory and running a little rum in the oldest legal rum distillery in Key West.
Cigar Maker For A Day
There’s only one remaining manufacturer – Rodriguez Cigar Factory on Fitzpatrick Street. The 75-minutes tour concludes with a complimentary hand-rolled cigar and an espresso. Master rollers at this, the oldest cigar company in the Keys, will lead guests through the entire process of creating cigars, from leaf to final wrapping. With more than 67 years of tobacco crafting experience, Rodriguez’ artisans deliver a premium product enriched by Cuban heritage.
Rum It Up
The Key West First Legal Rum Distillery on Simonton Street lets you view the actual rum-making process. And you can taste their ‘chef-distilled’ rums infused with coconut, vanilla crème brulee or key lime.
“One common task shared by rum distillers and chefs alike is cooking sugar cane in big kettles or stills. We are chefs first and distillers second, so our process is called ‘chef-distilled,’ said Chief Distiller Paul Menta whose distillery is in a 1903 former Coca-Cola bottling plant. Tours conclude with a tasting, including their signature drink, the “Legal Vanilla Rum and Coke.”
Ocean Key Resort & Spa
Nestled between the Key West Harbor and Mallory Square, Ocean Key Resort & Spa is part of the vibrant, lively and classic Duval Street. The resort features 100 luxurious rooms and suites, overlooking the calm waters where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Atlantic Ocean.
“Ocean Key made my maiden voyage to Key West so quintessential,” said Chantal Forster from International Opulence. “The Cuban dishes prepared by Chef Jason Estphal were deliciously authentic- a must have are the crab cakes and Yellowtail Snapper. Don’t miss the Thai Table massage or the Key Lime Margarita signature pedicure at the in-house spa, SpaTerre. The signature pedicure includes a hot towel body butter wrap, a key lime sugar scrub, a leg massage and key lime paraffin foot treatment. It was perfect after an action-packed day in Key West.”
Ocean Key Resort & Spa • 0 Duval Street, Key West, Florida • www.oceankey.com