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New Article: “Clairin: The Spirit of Haiti Finds a Home in the States”

March 20, 2018

I’ve gone down a  real Haitian history wormhole lately. After reading Empire’s Crossroads (highly recommended) I had to learn more about Haiti, so I picked up Haiti: The Tumultuous History – From Pearl of the Caribbean to Broken Nation (full of opinion and borderline racism), then I read Haiti: The Aftershocks of History, which was fantastic. Moving into the post-earthquake era, I read The Big Truck That Went By: How the World Came to Save Haiti and Left Behind a Disaster and am currently reading a Mountains Beyond Mountains, a biography of Paul Farmer, an American doctor who runs a community health system in Haiti’s central plateau.

In addition to Haiti’s history, I have become fascinated with the country’s preferred spirit: clairin. Heretofore, the only Haitian liquor export we saw in the US was Rhum Barbancourt–a fine product to be sure, but a far different type of beverage entirely.

In a country where the average person lives on the equivalent of two dollars a day, Rhum Barbancourt is for most an unimaginable luxury. Clairin on the other hand, is relatively affordable and readily available from the country’s 530+ distillers, most often sold from large jugs into a receptacle you yourself bring to the point-of-sale.

Clairin is made from fresh-pressed sugar cane juice (and sometimes from cane syrup) but it is quite different from French-style rhum agricole. More rustic and flavorful, the wild fermentations take much longer, and the distillations are to proof. Now thanks to La Maison & Velier, we in the states can buy clairins from three different Haitian distilleries–each amazing in its own way.

Want to find out more? Read the article here or click the image below.


Clairin Casimir, Sajous, and Vaval bottles

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