Walking through the north end of the Financial District on Richmond Street just east of Bay, you’ll find a new hidden gem. The Rum Exchange is nestled between a Subway sandwich shop and all the downtown Toronto construction, at 67 Richmond Street West. It just might be a Dark n’ Stormy (dark rum, the dark) and ginger beer (the stormy) served over ice and garnished with a slice of lime made glamorously into a lounge. The vibe is similar, with scattered tables made of large rum barrels, various chandeliers and candles lit throughout, beautiful black walls accented in gold and dark intimate lighting. A Dark n’ Stormy indeed.
Last week, The Rum Exchange officially opened its sleek and moody doors, and we got a sneak peek. One hour before officially opening, we were treated to a rum tasting hosted by Jeremy J. Parsons (Founder at Cocktails: The Fluid Experience) and Rumen Dimitrov (Founder of Pravda and Troika). The tasting proved that guests will enjoy good quality rum as we sipped on the spirit straight up (very small sips… you don’t spit out rum because you want to evaluate heat rather than burn), and were taught how to make a proper Cuba Libre (not your average Rum & Coke), and how to muddle the perfect Mojito (be sure to slap that last mint sprig garnish before dropping it in the glass). We finished the experience by learning about their signature drink, consisting of Angostura rum, condensed milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg with a Guinness punch. The whole thing tasted like Christmas on the beach – total perfection!
In between educational sips (were you aware that Rum aged 5 years is comparable to the aging of a 15-year-old scotch?) Dimitrov spoke about his foray into the rum scene. A well traveled man with an obviously extensive palate, he mentioned that the appreciation for rum and food pairings would be much like that of wine pairings.
Guests at The Rum Exchange can expect to be served snacks created by local Caribbean caterers, but as we were told, “don’t put us in a food column.” With 55 different varieties of rum, the food is designed strictly to compliment the craft cocktails. Dimitrov mused that Vodka bars were a dime a dozen and that he would never open a tequila bar, but believes that rum will become the new it drink. “There has yet to be a bar opened in Toronto with the extensive rum collection that we will have, and people are looking for a dose of something fresh,” said Dimitrov. “Not only are we going to broaden your horizons in rum tasting, we’re also going to provide you with an authentically good time.”
With the crowd that ambushed the bar once the doors officially opened at 5pm, we’re inclined to agree!
The Rum Exchange is located at 67 Richmond Street West and is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 4pm to 12am, and Thursday to Saturday from 4pm to 2am.
Will you be checking out The Rum Exchange? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.