Just steps away from the Hawks Nest in downtown Toms River is the Garden State Distillery. They share a building with Capone's Italian restaurant, right on Washington Street. Earlier this year we teased their opening, and obviously the pandemic restrictions have kept them from having a big raging party to celebrate, but that doesn't mean you can't stop in to sample some of their wares.

I've been running the BrewMaster Madness contest for years, and it's kind of a poorly kept secret that I'm not really a beer guy. I can appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into creating a microbrew, but when I want to drink, I don't grab a beer. My drink of choice has evolved a bit over the years (when I was younger I had a weird affinity for gin & tonics that I've since grown out of), and the poison I pick most often is rum. I don't know if it's just a mental thing, and drinking rum makes me feel like a pirate, or what. Regardless, I've found that I prefer rum to pretty much any other alcohol.

I'd been meaning to head to Garden State Distillery to grab a bottle of their rum, and with the pandemic restrictions forcing them into limited hours, my schedule just never lined up. Finally, last week I was in the right place at the right time, so I stopped in to get a bottle.

The distillery actually runs like many of the local breweries in our area. You can go in, get a tour, and try a flight with a sample of a few different things, or you can purchase a full bottle. They make their own rum, whiskey, vodka, and gin.

Captain Kidd's rum clocks in at 80-proof, 40% ABV...and it's pretty damn good! I usually lean towards spiced or dark rums, but Kidd's is definitely a tasty rum.

If you want to support a local business, Garden State Distillery is currently open Thursdays 4-8p, Fridays 4-10p, and Saturdays from 2-10p. With the streets of Downtown Toms River being closed on Friday and Saturday nights, it's the perfect place to grab a drink before or after you dine at a local restaurant.

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