Brugal 1888 Rum Review (plus a Rum Hot Toddy!)

Brugal 1888 is one of my favorite spirits hands down. When I first tried it, I didn’t expect to like it as much as I do because, when it comes to sipping spirits, rum isn’t usually my choice. But Brugal 1888 is a rum that drinks like a whiskey. (Rum lovers, don’t be scared! It’s still very much a rum.)I would call it a bourbon lover’s rum. For you wood nerds out there, 1888 starts out in medium roasted American oak previously used for bourbon and then finishes in European oak casks that had been used for aging Sherry. The distiller told me that the casks are placed horizontally during the aging process, so that the liquor is always in contact with the wood.

Brugal 1888 is smooth, but definitely packs a little heat. The sweetness isn’t overpowering, and the wood really shines through, setting it apart from many aged rums that just don’t have any oomph. It has a spicy aroma, but the flavor is full with hints of sweet anise and a dry, woody finish. At around $50, it’s priced like a whiskey. But it tastes like a rich expensive one at that. I prefer to sip it neat with no ice. But if you like your whiskey with an ice cube, you’ll find it opens up the 1888 in a similar way.

It never occurred to me to mix with this stuff, but January is Hot Toddy time and Brugal shared this winter warmer recipe with me … and it’s pretty irresistible. You can sub in another type of sherry, but the nuttiness of an Oloroso is a good complement to the rum’s flavors so stick with that variety if you can. As for the bitters, Angostura will also do the trick.

The Silver Port
Created by Scott Fitzgerald, Mulberry Project NYC

2 ounces Brugal 1888
1/2 ounce Oloroso Sherry
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce raw honey
1 dash Fee Bros. Old-Fashioned Aromatic Bitters
Heated Apple Cider

In a large mug, combine rum, sherry, lemon juice, honey, and bitters. Top with heated apple cider and stir for 15-20 seconds. Optional: Garnish with an Almond Biscotti.

Photo by Alice Gao

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