Sag Harbor Rum: First Taste

Sag Harbor Rum and Sweet 'tauk lemonade
Sag Harbor Rum and Sweet 'tauk lemonade, Photo: Oliver Peterson

Thanks to our recent “The Montauk cocktail” video project, the staff—all four of us—and some folks in the print department, including our venerable figurehead, had the opportunity to taste Sag Harbor Rum well before it becomes available to the thirsty masses. We know lots of people are excited to get hold of this hotly anticipated, new local spirit, so we thought we’d share some first impressions while the rest of the world waits for Sag Harbor Rum’s release in May.

Of course, anyone who knows about Sag Harbor Rum can vouch for the branding and appearance. It comes in a lovely bottle with a signature black and white label, adorned with the image of a whale to go with the “Old Whalers Style” and “Hand Crafted” tag lines. Finally, the bottle is sealed with a black wax dip, a la Maker’s Mark, which is truly the coup de grâce in an already stylish and attractive design. The rum inside has a nice auburn hue.

Sag Harbor Rum’s makers note that it’s aged in old bourbon barrels and lightly infused with a blend of spices, fruits and other natural flavors, much like the practice on old whaling ships of storing the rum in barrels that had previously been used for coffee, exotic spices and fruit. True to this description, the rum is characterized by sweet, heady cherry and vanilla flavors with an undercurrent of warm spice and marshmallow.

The black cherry taste is strong upfront on the palate while the spicy notes percolate underneath. Following the burst of sweetness, the finish is fairly smooth and piney with not-unpleasant hints of medicinal herbs and black licorice.

This rum can certainly be enjoyed up or on the rocks, but it also seems ideally suited for a variety of mixed cocktails, as its distinct flavor refuses to be overwhelmed or buried by cola, juice or any other ingredients. It’s easy to imagine Sag Harbor Rum and Coke becoming the hot cocktail at local watering holes this summer.

The above is only our first impressions of Sag Harbor Rum, which we look forward to trying again. Let’s see if this description stands up to further scrutiny as we get better acquainted with the rum.

Sag Harbor Rum’s inaugural batch has already  been bottled and delivered. It will be available in local liquor stores, bars and restaurants, only in New York State (for now), starting May 1.

Find out more, place orders and pick up a cool T-shirt, at

Sag Harbor Rum has been delivered!
Sag Harbor Rum has been delivered! Photo: Courtesy Sag Harbor Rum

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