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Eat & Drink

The top 5 places to drink rum in Toronto

Posted by Jen Hunter / January 30, 2014

Rum TorontoThe top places to drink rum in Toronto remind me that it's a little sad that rum doesn't seem to have as strong a following in the city as other liquors, like tequila, scotch, or bourbon. The GTA does, after all, have one of the largest Caribbean populations in the world. Although it's easy to point out that this observation relies on a necessary connection between the demographic makeup of the city and its bar scene, the paltry offerings at the LCBO gives a little more credence to such a claim.

Those bars that do fly the rum the flag do it well, and should be an example for other establishments to get on board. There's a few criteria to consider when picking a great spot to enjoy rum - the selection on hand, the rum cocktails available, the accompanying cuisine, and finally the overall knowledgeability of the staff.

Here's my list of the five best places to enjoy rum in Toronto.

Rhum Corner
Jen Agg's latest venture serves as an homage to the sugarcane spirit, with a particular focus on Haitian cuisine. The bar holds a collection of over 40 different rums, with certain bottles available at the table, even in increments of quarter or half bottles (and served with fresh lime and Mexican Coke). There's rum cocktails too, but they're best enjoyed from the delightfully trashy slushie machines, serving up frozen Pina Coladas and Daiquiris from behind the bar.

The County General
The County General has always maintained a heavy rum focus since opening in 2011, offering up tasting flights from its selection of over 35 rums. Highlights include an excellent selection of El Dorado, Appleton, and Mount Gay. It's also one of the few spots you can grab a shot of the offensively overproofed Sunset. Rum cocktails are plentiful, and the brown stuff also figures in their excellent Brown Butter Cake ($7).

The Real Jerk
The Real Jerk's new location at Gerrard and Carlaw location has been doing brisk business thanks in no small part to a terrific commitment to collecting rum, and offering it at decent prices. With over 40 bottles, shots ranging from $5.50-$12.50, a range of Caribbean-style cocktails, and regular rum tasting evenings, it's a must stop for anyone on the east side (and let's be honest, you should probably just go for some of that jerk chicken anyway).

Spirit House
Spirit House holds a formidable collection of just about everything pertaining to liquor, and rum is no exception. There's even a decent selection of cachaça on hand, on top of over 25 rums to pick from. The cocktail list is exhaustive, and the knowledge of the bartenders is hard to beat. It's worth heading down just to grab the Man of Interest ($12), an outstanding rum-based take on the Negroni.

TTS
Toronto Temperance Society, like the County General, seems to make its way onto a disproportionate amount of these lists. As far as I'm concerned, that's for good reason, as Oliver Stern curates a superb rum program, with over 30 bottles on hand, including the stellar (and extremely hard to find) El Dorado 25. He also blends his own rum for the purposes of his tiki cocktail menu. Oliver was the Canadian ambassador for Angostura after winning their national cocktail contest, so we can safely describe him as something of an authority.

Got a favourite place to drink rum in Toronto? Let us know in the comments.

Photo of the Toronto Temperance Society

Discussion

9 Comments

Calgon Take Me Away / January 30, 2014 at 12:02 pm
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Cue someone complaining because they believe rum was invented in Newfoundland, someone complaining Toronto hasn't as much culchur as Cowgary, and someone gratuitously complaining about condos.

Give me a double rum and coke, please, and garnish it with more rum.
CaligulaJones / January 30, 2014 at 02:05 pm
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Well, I usually complain that "Toronto" seems to mean "west of the Don", but can't today. I'd like to complain about that.
Sailor Jerry / January 30, 2014 at 04:34 pm
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Great, much needed article, despite the unwarranted dis on the LCBO (after all, where did any of these bars get their rum collections?) But agreed - too much focus on vodka + bourbon. Rum is an underappreciated spirit.
Captain Morgan / January 30, 2014 at 06:03 pm
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Any establishment with a liquor license! It's rum for F's sake! It's almost impossible to mess up on making drinks.
Kelly / January 30, 2014 at 07:23 pm
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Why are you people complaining at all? THERE'S RUM TO BE HAD!
David / January 31, 2014 at 12:16 pm
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I'd like to find a place that knows how to make a dark n stormy.
Rokevena replying to a comment from David / January 31, 2014 at 12:20 pm
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Sidecar, parts and labour and ruby watch co all make wonderful dark and stormy cocktails!!!
Chester Pape / February 1, 2014 at 10:17 pm
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Oh Man, the Real Jerk

I was in there the other day to pick up a take out order, which you have to do at the bar and in just the time it took me to do that it was obvious that the scene at that bar was not the kind of thing anyone would normally want to immerse themselves in, Ed the owner was holding court in the middle of a bunch that was only 1 step up from lysol drinking homeless rubbies.

I like the food and it's fine if you sit in the dining area but man that bar is going to be a scene and not in a good way.
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