The communications/public relations experts, Praxis in Toronto, organized a great event for Brugal rum in Toronto about a month ago at The Rum Exchange, a downtown bar and restaurant specializing in rum. This old brand of the Dominican Republic certainly shone in two cocktails served, I liked in particular the Manhattan. Two rums were featured, the 3-5 year old Anejo, and an older expression, Siglo de Oro, rich with wood character. The cocktails were made with the Anejo which gave a good liquor taste without the other ingredients clashing. The buffet table was lavish with cheeses and fine charcuterie, capped by a blue Stilton into which rumbullion goodness was percolating from an upturned bottle of Brugal.
There was a detailed presentation by the roving ambassador of the company, and he answered all questions accurately and fairly (based on my own knowledge of rum, which is reasonably detailed). Then, two rums were served neat for discussion, the Anejo and the Siglo de Oro. The rums are on the dry side, it is a house characteristic.
Tutored tastings after a relaxing cocktail and fine buffet are a great way to introduce people to a drink which seems to be better known every day. Especially today, companies sense it is not enough to put a product out there and rely on a hallowed reputation for the category (rum, whisky, gin, etc.) or a long-established name. Brugal understands that and will benefit surely by its focus on this kind of product promotion and education. I must say, the one type of rum I’m not really fond of is spiced rum. I was glad the rums offered by the company were not spiced. Tasting rum as it comes from the aging barrel with assertive foods or in mixed drinks or cocktails provides plenty of additional flavours, one doesn’t need the spicing, although “your mileage may vary” and fair enough.
An excellent night and exemplary way to introduce an old drink to a wider audience.