Making of the Rougaroux
By Sarah Baudoin
Surrounded by the fields of sugarcane from which their product springs, you'll find Donner-Peltier Distillers.
When stepping into the modern bar-like atmosphere of the gift shop, there are so many different things to see . . . and taste. Samples of the products produced in-house are offered, and t-shirts, wine glasses, flasks and various gift sets are for sale.
There are three products Donner-Peltier distills currently including Oryza Vodka, Rougaroux Sugarshine and Rougaroux Full Moon dark rum.
The Oryza Vodka is made with locally grown Louisiana rice. John Couchot, Master Distiller for Donner-Peltier, explained that the rice comes from a non-commercial mill. This insures that the rice is of good quality and the distillers know what is going into their vodka.
The rice is ground into grits. Yeast and water are added and the mixture is allowed to ferment. Added enzymes help to process the rice.
Couchot said that in the final run of the vodka, it goes through 17 plates twice. This affects the alcohol content of the final product, which is then tested by touch with the final product ranging from wet to silky to greasy.
Rougaroux Rum is made with a mixture of raw sugar and molasses, and allowed to ferment just as the vodka.
There are numerous stories of the Rougaroux. Some people think of it as a way of acting in a crazy or exaggerated manner. Others think of the Rougaroux as a monster. One story John Couchot says he heard was that if one did not go to church over the time of Lent, then that person was cursed by the Rougaroux for 101 days. Similarly, the Rougaroux Sugarshine is 101 proof.
A new product being released next month is a praline rum which uses locally produced cane syrup. Couchot said that the company believes in local products. What he likes about local cane syrup is that it has a distinct flavor, and the syrup producer still uses the traditional way of processing the syrup.
Couchot has been distilling for over a decade in the Pacific Northwest, but when asked to move to Louisiana by vice president, Jennifer Peltier, he jumped at the chance.
Founders and owners of the distillery are Dr. Tom Donner, a local neurosurgeon, and Dr. Henry Peltier, a local pediatrician.
Tours are given of the distillery Monday through Saturday at 4 p.m. Special tours can be given on Sundays if a large enough group is booked.
Contact the office at (985) 446-0002 for more information on products and tours.
1635 St Patrick St
What Cajun Daughters love about Donner-Peltier Distillers:
The distillery utilizes local products which is important today. Using locally grown rice and sugarcane helps to keep local business alive and well.