There appears to be a mini-movement across the country of distillers making craft rum, meaning small, careful batches as opposed to big, mechanized ones.

Many would like for rum to leave its pirate-y image behind and revive its rightful place in society. After all, rum can trace its lineage to the founding fathers, who had an inordinate fondness for it — not because they were rum runners, although the ingredients came into the country sometimes legally, sometimes not — but because rum was king in our colonial past long before the Revolutionary War. It was considered the panacea for all ills. Forget soaking the holiday fruitcake — our ancestors soaked themselves.

Enter craft rum, here to compete with craft vodka, a race in which rum stands a good chance because there’s only so much that can be done with potatoes.

Louisiana has five rum distilleries and counting. Rum can be made directly from sugar cane juice or from sugar cane byproducts such as syrup or molasses. And although there aren’t many steps, there are variables, and the craftiness of the craft distillery is key. Much depends upon the cane itself and the handling after fermentation. Some rums are aged and later flavored with fruits and spices, while nearly all are cut with water to between 40 and 50 percent alcohol by volume before bottling.

My personal favorite happens to be Austrian, not American. I fell in love with Stroh rum’s seductive butterscotch aroma when I was young and lived abroad. Stroh “160” has a 180-year-old history and an all-purpose use. It gets its name from the fact it is 160 proof, which makes it 80 percent alcohol.

I forget the rest.

Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at

Beverly Hills Confidential

Lafayette documentary maker Alan Durand and Eva Marie Saint met at the Academy Nicholl Awards reception recently in Beverly Hills. Saint is on the Academy Nicholl Committee, and she and Durand have been friends since he won in 2012. Saint’s own recognition includes an Oscar for best supporting actress for "On the Waterfront" with Marlon Brando, and Durand is known for his films "Willie Francis Must Die Again," "Belizaire the Cajun" and "The Cajun Navy."

Bon Voyage

Carol Trosclair hosted a raffle pull cocktail and dinner party at the Petroleum Club to benefit the David Trosclair Memorial Scholarship Fund. Sponsored by Todd’s Car Wash owner Todd Lemaire; Travel Machine’s Kermit Duhon; Gerald Judice; Nathanael Johnson, of Rêve; Blaze Pizza’s Sable Frere; Matt Privat, of Roly Poly; and Brian Landry, of Great Harvest Bread, a good time was had by all, particularly geologist Bryan Groves, whose winning ticket was pulled. Groves immediately came down to claim his cruise and hobnob with guests. Bon Voyage, Bryan.

Mimosa Mix & Mingle

These women have wasted no time getting down to business. The new Lafayette Women’s Chamber of Commerce invited Anne Pyle to address some 35 guests at The Petroleum Club, sponsored by Maria Pitre, of Sure Title. Pyle has made her way from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to NORAD to owning a software company, shattering a number of glass ceilings along the way. “She’s a real trailblazer,” said chamber President Debbey Ryan. "A force of nature.” Leaning in were realtors Elaine Alderman and Ree Mere, and chamber board members Robin LeBlanc and Christina Beazley.

Palates and Pate

Le Pavillion hosted The Outreach Center for its 2018 Palates and Pâté, a fundraiser featuring artists and chefs for the greater good. Performance artist Michael Israel headlined this year’s wine and dine, making magic with his fine art and martial art. Over a dozen chefs were ready on the line, including Pour, Poseidon’s, Ruffino’s and Romacelli. And making the most of it were newlyweds Kansas and Aileen Hernandez along with Tiannah Laughlin, Don Briggs, on-site painter Terree Tisdale-Kwarteng, blast-from-the-past Dina Simard, and children’s author Leslie Jacobs Wilder, whose new book, "Fifi the Freckled Face Fish," will benefit local autism organizations. What we loved: Kaliste Saloom III checking coats for charity. The Outreach Center provides safe shelter, basic needs and other support services for homeless families and individuals.

Leaders in Philanthropy Luncheon

You had to hike to this one. The Community Foundation of Acadiana recognized philanthropists from eight parishes in addition to one business at a Cajundome Convention Center luncheon. Kermit Duhon and Maegan Sonnier, of Travel Machine, walked away with the business award, nominated by none other than longtime fan Carol Trosclair. “A 40-year legacy,” Trosclair said. “When they told me, I broke down and cried.” The 2018 honorees from Acadiana are Donna Shetler Corley, Acadia Parish; Mary Alice and Leonard Fontenot, Evangeline Parish; Carol and Tommy LeBlanc, of Iberia Parish; Lafayette’s Nick and Joann Pugh; Bruce Gaudin, St. Landry Parish; Lydia and Cyril Guidry, St. Martin Parish; Alice and William Pecoraro, St. Mary Parish; and Charles R. “Charlie” Sonnier, Vermilion Parish. There to do their share were Cathy Indest and her New Iberia retinue, Elaine Abell, and partners in crime Nancy Van Eaton Prince and Gail Romero, caught doing some felonious parking.