Puerto Plata is more than just a fashionable Dominican Republic vacation resort. It is also home to Brugal, the most popular rum in the Caribbean, and one that is now starting to be discovered in the United States as well as in Europe. Although other expressions are available, it is the 80 proof Brugal Extra Viejo rum ($25.99) that best captures the essence of this D.R. classic. With its medium amber-gold hue and flavors of sweet, candied fruit and a hint of chocolate, it is best enjoyed on the rocks, or neat, with a slice of pineapple, or, more appropriately, a stalk of freshly cut sugar cane.
Brugal was founded in 1888 by Don Andrés Brugal Montaner, and today the family’s fourth and fifth generations continue his tradition of sourcing everything locally, from the growing and harvesting of sugar cane to aging the barrels to the bottling and shipping of their rums. Double distillation takes place at Brugal’s two San Pedro de Macoris distilleries, while the filled barrels are aged in the seaside climate of Puerto Plata, where warm ocean breezes permeate the oaken casks and instill a Caribbean warmth and smooth, silky texture to the rum, a characteristic unique to this island nation, and one that is best enjoyed in Brugal’s Extra Viejo. (www.brugal-ron.com)