When Robb Walsh picked Gilhooley's Raw Bar in San Leon as the place that serves his favorite dish in all of the greater Houston area, he forgot to mention one thing, that Railean Rum is made within walking distance of the oyster shanty. What better way to enhance your journey to Gilhooley's than to also schedule a quick tour of the first (legal) distillery in Southeast Texas?
Started back in 2005 by former beverage distribution ace Kelly Railean, the rumery is one of those spots that, when you get there, you think your GPS sent you to the wrong damn place again. It is at the end of a little dirt road in a neighborhood in the sleepy beach community, but the rum Railean is producing is waking up the patrons of bars all over our area.
Railean produces a Texas White, a blended oak-aged Reserve XO and a Small Cask Reserve, and they are all really, really tasty. The White and the Small Cask were my favorites when I gladly accepted the one-ounce samples at my recent walk around the tiny warehouse turned rum room. Both reserves are aged in new, double-charred barrels that Kelly says are rare and the best way to get top flavor.
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In this era of supporting local food and local restaurants, it's good to know there is a local option when you're looking to get your daiquiri on.