As mentioned in Beyond BBQ, the playmakers in the Memphis food scene are not content with “the way it’s always been,” and their mixture of traditional and ingenious is what makes food in the mid-South delicious. All this food, paired with the South’s famous summer heat and humidity, makes a food-lover thirsty. While the ubiquitous sweet tea (and we’re not talking a little sweet, we’re talking enough sugar to make a straw stand up) works for most meals and for sitting on the front porch (yes, we still do that), sometimes you need a splash of something stronger.

Tennessee is home to one of the most famous whiskey makers in the country, but Memphis (via a nearby town called Kelso) is home to liquor that is a bit more refined. In 1997, former Memphian Phil Prichard began his maneuverings around obscure liquor laws to distill rum. It’s in his blood. Phil is a descendant of Benjamin Prichard, who crafted Tennessee whiskey in Davidson County in the 1800s.

Phil originally wanted to make use of the local sorghum, a sugar-producing grass, but rum requirements demand that it be made with sugarcane. So, in an old schoolhouse in Kelso, Tennessee, Phil developed a sugarcane-based rum in 2001. The product line has increased to include whiskey, a double-barreled bourbon, and a number of specialty liqueurs including spiced rum, a whiskey-cream, and the decadent chocolate bourbon.

Specializing in small batches and hand blending, Prichard’s reverence toward traditional techniques is evident. He uses copper stills, white oak barrels, and proper ageing to produce smooth, sweet-sipping libations. This isn’t the light-your-hair-on-fire moonshine or rot-gut that accompanies some stereotypes. This is class in a glass.

A renewed focus on local ingredients, artisans, and crafts in Memphis has sparked an influx of craft breweries, cocktail mixologists, in-house infusions, and attention to the subtle taste of hand-crafted. Sure, you can drink the commercially produced liquor that the rest of the country is drinking. Or, you can pour a glass of something that is uniquely Memphis.