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The New Orleans Rum Society

Palace Café is the official home of the New Orleans Rum Society (aka NORS) -- a spirited society dedicated to the appreciation of fine rums. The society hosts regular spirit events and tastings catered towards the rum enthusiast.

Membership is complimentary, and benefits include:

Invitations to rum events – A Rum "Passport" for members to record their tastes – Complimentary pour of the featured rum of the month – Opportunity to meet and sip with other rum enthusiasts – Master Taster Recognition with a plaque at Palace Cafe engraved with the names of members who have tasted the entire passport


Rum of the Month

December’s Rum of the Month at Palace Café’s Black Duck Bar



Plantation revives the quintessential Jamaican-style, 100% pot still rums of the 19th century with an expression of intense flavors that reveal the traditional, legendary aromas and flavors of black banana and flambéed pineapple, locally called “Hogo,” an Anglicization of the French term “Haut Goût” (high taste).

Xaymaca Special Dry is an excellent tasting rum, to be enjoyed neat, or with a large ice cube and even a splash of pure water to reveal its smoky aromas.


Color: Amber

Nose: Very complex, slightly smoky and meaty with fruity, herbal and sour notes building up. Next vanilla come forward, almost pastry-like, with cooked banana, bitter orange peel and ripe pineapple.

Palate: Dry, with a more floral and fruitier profile of rose water, soursop, pear, white grape, apricot and sugar-apple. Next some coconut milk, balsam, allspices, bread and nuts emerge.

NORS members join us for your free pour!

Why so many rums at Palace Café?

Rum is the chosen spirit of Palace Café’s Black Duck bar. Sugarcane has been an integral part of the south Louisiana economy and culture for more than 200 years, when the Jesuit priests first brought sugarcane to Louisiana in 1751. The site of the first successful cane production was in downtown New Orleans, on Baronne Street, just steps away from where you are sitting. Nearly fifty years later, on what is currently Audubon Park, Etienne de Bore was successful in creating granulated sugar. Though, he wasn’t the first in history to complete this feat, he was deemed the first to do it in an economically feasible manner.

The by-product of sugar is molasses. Molasses was originally seen as waste. It wasn’t until it was discovered that mixing it with the liquid skimmed off of cane juice during its initial boiling and fermenting it, that a starting point for distillation occurred. This would become what we know of today as Rum. New Orleans may not have created rum, but we like to say we’re the northern most point of the Caribbean, and with our long sugarcane history, locals have been drinking the spirit for hundreds of years.

Why the Black Duck Bar at Palace Café?

The Black Duck, captained by Charles Travers, was the most notorious rum running vessel during Prohibition. It was powered by twin Victory aircraft engines, making it capable of speeds up to 30 knots per hour. This ensured that it could out run nearly all the Coast Guard patrol boats. On December 29th in Narragansett Bay the Black Duck’s rum running days came to an end. Coast Guard captain, Alex Cornell ordered his patrol boat to fire on the boat. The gunfire resulted in the death of three of the four crew on board, Captain Travers was the only survivor.  The story made front-page headlines, including in the New York Times.

The ship and its cargo were seized. The Coast Guard refitted the Black Duck as a patrol vessel, captained by none other than Alex Cornell.  It went on to capture many rum runners up until the end of prohibition in 1933.

Although the Coast Guard was exonerated for the deaths of the Black Duck crew, it sparked the debate over whether prohibition was worth killing people over. Public opinion began to change. After promising to repeal prohibition if elected, Franklin D. Roosevelt won in a landslide in 1932. The 21st Amendment was passed to repeal the 18th Amendment in 1933.