Toronto's Must-Try Rum Cocktails

By Suresh Doss  |  December 5, 2013

Move over bourbon and make way for rum. Maybe it's the sailor in us or the cold weather, bartenders in Toronto are turning to rum to bring a touch of the tropics to their cocktail list.  

  • County General

    Bourbon may be the drink of choice at this rock parlour, but two rum cocktails are hogging all the attention as of late - Dr. Painkiller and St. Elizabeth. The Dr. Painkiller is a concoction of ginger beer mixed with cucumber-infused rum, lime, grenadine and cranberry bitters. It's a cooling drink, good for soothing those throats after putting too much of the house hot sauce on their fried chicken  sandwiches. St. Elizabeth is a mix of Appleton V/X rum, mulled lemon syrup, grapefruit juice and ginger beer, and has a spicy Christmas cake feel.

    936 Queen St W,; 416-531-4447

  • Salt Wine Bar

    Bartender Nick Kennedy created an impressive cocktail list for this Iberian tapas bar on the Ossington strip. There are two crowd favourites at the bar. The golden mai tai and the buttered rum cider. The addictive warm cocktail is a made with spiced Kraken rum blended with butter, steamed apple cider and crabapple mostarda. 

    225 Ossington Ave,; 416-533-7258

  • Marben

    Marben features a rotating cocktail list to compliment Chef Rob Bragagnolo's Spanish inspired menu. Bartender Casey Ryan's featured rum cocktail is a Dark and Stormy variation that uses ginger beer made by Thomas Lavers in Toronto's Kensington market. The ginger beer, a local sensation, brings an added level or complexity to the cocktail, along with pronounced spice.

    488 Wellington St W,; 416-979-1990

  • Rhum Corner

    No rum list would be complete without a mention of Rhum Corner. A spin off from the Black Hoof's Jen Agg, this Hatian-themed bar serves a variety of shareable snacks and offers the best rum selection in the city (close to 40 bottles). Your best course of action is to ask for a flight of rum or to have the bartenders create you a custom creation. If all else fails, order Rolly's Rum Corner, a half bottle of Haitian rum with plenty of Mexican Coca-Cola.

    926 Dundas West,; 647-346-9356

  • Harbord Room

    Critically acclaimed Bartender Dave Mitton is one of the city's cocktail innovators at Harbord Room and THR & Co. Although all the cocktails are excellent, the Nocturnal Options and Anne Bonney top the charts. The Nocturnal Options is a rum drink done in Old Fashioned style with Mount Gay extra old rum, Cointreau, clove syrup and vanilla bitters. Of the Anne Bonney, Mitton says, "Miss Bonney was perhaps the most infamous female pirate of all time. If I could travel back to the early 1700’s to meet her she would probably pillage and plunder me." His interpretation of the infamous pirate mixes Appleton rum with cherry liqueur, lime, blood orange and fresh pineapple.

    9 Harbord St,; 416-962-8989

  • Pacific Junction Hotel

    This Corktown dive bar is a popular hangout known for this super-casual atmosphere, greasy meat snacks, and its tequila and rum selections. A growing selection includes Rums from Guyana, Venezuela and Barbados. All are available for sipping while the spiced Harry Nilsson, and Mojitos are crowd favourites. Also popular is Pirate's Pete Martini, a shot of Captain Morgan's spiced rum arrives with a Red Stripe chaser 234 King St E,; 416-508-3466

  • Bar Isabel

    This critically acclaimed Spanish-inspired restaurant on College West has one of the best booze menus in town. Bartender Michael Webster's crafty cocktails are all carefully chosen and created to compliment Chef Grant van Gameren's food. Rum-based standouts include the four letter, made with Havana Club, ginger, Creme Yvette, and Los Arcos amontillado sherry. Or try the Godfather Part 2 which is the current crowd favourite, Dominican rum with Cognac, cinnamon syrup, lime juice, and Angostura bitters. 

    797 College St,; 416-532-2222