Did Someone Say Dominican Rum?
I have been living in Cabarete for over a month now and I have been regularly indulging in one of the Dominican Republic’s most delicious exports: RUM. I have been nursing my bottle of Brugal Extra Viejo at home, plus it’s so cheap to drink out here, especially rum. So, I really do mean regularly.
To be honest, I’ve been enjoying the area’s rum so much, I thought it was about time I learnt a bit more about the industry.
Just so you know, August 16th is International Rum Day. Be sure to mark it in your calendar, so you don’t miss the excuse for a celebratory pina colada!
If you peruse a drinks menu or head to the supermarket for some pre-drink fodder, you’ll see there are a bunch of Dominican rum brands. Having asked around and even sampled a good few, we recommend Brugal, Bermudez and Barcelo.
You just can’t go wrong with any of these. They’re even alliterative.
Brugal was founded in 1888, and is a family-run business to this day. The Brugal family are incredibly famous in the DR and across the world for their high quality rum production. Brugal is the third largest rum producer in the world, making the family pretty influential.
Andres Brugal Montaner, originally from Catalonia, founded the company and became a national icon in the DR. Known as Don Andres, he inspires Dominicans to this day with his entrepreneurial spirit and determination.
Brugal has three distilleries, two in San Pedro de Macoris and one in Puerto Plata. If you’re a spirits connoisseur, you might fancy going on a tour of the Brugal original distillery. Puerto Plata is a half-hour drive from Cabarete, making it your ideal rum learning experience location.
The Brugal family had a hand in establishing the official definition of rum, in partnership with the EU. This move came because rum had become a bit of a loose term in the spirit world. Only spirits produced from the sugar cane plant are ‘real rum’.
Now, Dominican rum carries the prestigious Denomination of Protected Origin label (look out for the marking ‘DOP’). This is like how champagne can only come from the Champagne wine regions in France, and ‘real’ tequila must be from Mexico.
Proper rum enthusiasts might consider tasting some juicy oak barrel aged Dominican treats. Brugal Siglo de Oro is aged for 12 years, but the cream of the crop is Brugal Unico which is aged for 30 years.
A big favourite is the Extra Viejo, which has honey caramel notes and is super smooth. Trust me on this one.
The year is 1852. The Dominican Republic has been independent for 8 years. Don Diego Bermudez concocts Amarga Panacea (Bitter Panacea), a spirit that will forever be a historical touchstone in world rum production. Bermudez is born.
Bermudez is a big dog in the Dominican rum game. The family-run business has the oldest commercial distilleries in the Dominican Republic, and is known for its impeccably smooth quality and traditional methods of production.
For a rum beyond your wildest dreams, try the mighty Bermudez 1852 Anniversario rum. Bottled just once a year as a celebration of Bermudez’ founding, this rum has tropical notes of banana and coconut for a truly Caribbean mouth experience.
A slightly later arrival to the DR rum scene, but still making its presence felt is Barcelo. Founded by Julian Barcelo in 1929 in Santo Domingo, the company is now a major internationally-acclaimed player in the industry.
Julian was a big experimenter and worked tirelessly on different variations to discover the perfect rum. He tested out his concoctions on the local market before launching his first big products.
The Barcelo Gran Platinum rum is a firm favourite of the Barcelo range, made by aging rum in bourbon barrels then filtering it to remove the colour. It has all the woody depth of flavour of a dark rum but is clear! Gran Platinum has quite a fruity flavour, with even a prick of pepper on the palate.
Barcelo rum has enjoyed massive international success and is now sold in over 50 countries, making it the fourth largest rum exporter in the world. Respect, Julian.
In the nearest city to Cabarete, Puerto Plata, there is an annual 2-day rum festival. Stay tuned for 2019 dates.
Cabarete is well known for its beach party vibes. The cheap and delicious rum certainly plays a part in all the fun and dancing. It can help you bust out some killer moves on the dance floor, pluck up the courage to ask someone out, or fuse a new Cabarete friendship.
Party animals, rejoice. Dominican rum is always here for you in Cabarete. Just don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Dehydration is not a good look.