Bartending Techniques

Mixing with Brugal 1888: Classic Cocktails with an Caribbean Twist

Greg Horton, ReserveBar Contributor


Spanish-born Don Andres Brugal Montaner founded the distillery that bears his name in 1888, which is why the year is on every bottle of Brugal 1888 Rum. Seeking adventure, the young Brugal left Spain in 1868, and first settled in Cuba before relocating to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic in 1897. The years he spent working on his rum had given him enough exposure to the wonder and beautiful features of the island that he decided to make it his home.


Brugal founded the distillery with his sons, and five generations later, it’s been a family business ever since. For serious rum drinkers, that means you get 135 years of experience in every bottle, sip, and cocktail. Several of the techniques Don Andres created and implemented are still in use today, and his care and love for the natural habitat that led him to choose only locally sourced ingredients still drives the production of all Brugal rums. 

On the nose, Brugal 1888 is fruit forward, with dried fruit as a backdrop. Baking spices and oaky notes warm the tone, and gets you ready for cocoa, cloves, and bourbon-soaked peaches on the palate. It’s slightly sweet without being cloying, and round, with a long, lovely finish.

The rum is made with sugar cane grown in the Dominican Republic, and after distillation, it’s double aged in bourbon barrels and oloroso sherry casks to create layers of subtle and strong flavors, never departing from the original style: limpero y ligero (clean and light). The result is a balanced, sippable rum that is made for savoring, but works well in cocktails too. 


But why mess with a good thing? Why tamper with the classics, like Old Fashioneds, when we can simply enjoy them the way we first discovered them? Can substituting rum improve the drink?

Honestly, the reason you experiment with other spirits you love isn’t to improve a cocktail – at least not necessarily.

Rather, you’re showcasing a new spirit in an old way or showcasing a classic in a new way, and that leads to a fresh take on something you already love. No one who loves food gets the same chocolate dessert every time; you want to taste it in multiple guises, to suss out its possibilities, and experience it in different settings. Cocktails and spirits work the exact same way.

Below we’re including recipes that are riffs on classic cocktails to get you started with your own tasting journey. 

Rum Old Fashioned

In a mixing glass, combine all liquid ingredients with ice and stir until well chilled. Strain over a single, large cube or sphere in a rocks glass. Express orange peel over drink, rim the glass with the peel, and then dispose. 

Brugal 1888 Royale

  • 1.75 oz Brugal 1888
  • 1 bar spoon simple syrup
  • Champagne or sparkling wine

In a mixing glass, stir rum and simple syrup with ice until mixed well. Strain over a single large cube in a rocks glass. Top with a splash of Champagne. 


This classic, boozy Prohibition-era cocktail usually features rye whiskey. It’s a slow sipper, perfect for winter evenings. The rum adds a warm, round vibe, and tones down the punch and spiciness of the traditional build. 

Combine rum, vermouth and bitters in a mixing glass with ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a Nick & Nora and garnish with a Luxardo cherry.

Espresso Martini

You know what your espresso martini has always been missing? A rum replacement for that standard vodka. This will add character and new depths of flavor that you never knew you were missing but will want every time after you try it. 

  • 1.5 oz Brugal 1888​
  • 1 oz Fresh Espresso​
  • 0.5 oz Coffee Liqueur ​
  • 0.25 oz Simple Syrup ​
  • 0.25 oz Licor 43​
  • Garnish: 3 Coffee Beans​

Add your ingredients with ice into a cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously for 10 - 15 seconds. Stain into a chilled coupe glass. Complete your new creation with 3 coffee beans carefully placed in the center.


As you develop your at home mixology skills, it is so important to explore the versatility of your favorite pours, and discover how to use new ones. Within a bottle of Brugal 1888 is not just an incredible spirit to enjoy neat, but also a foundation for some incredible flavors that are sure to delight.

Start Mixing with Brugal 1888