Rum done right by Scottsdale’s “Rum Princesa”

Pincesa de Fuega

One of the “rum rituals” the Rum Princesa does for guests before pouring a rum flight or taste.

All too often, when one thinks of “rum,” several things come to mind: Captain Morgan poses, Johnny Depp as a drunken Captain Jack Sparrow, and/or Rum and Coke-fueled memories of drinking on the cheap in college.

“Believe it or not, the actual stories of Captain Morgan don’t even mention rum, and (sorry, ladies) Captain Jack Sparrow is a 100 percent fictional character,” says Sarah Spear, Rum Princesa at the Toro Latin Restaurant & Rum Bar by Richard Sandoval in Scottsdale.

Because the majority of the world’s rum production occurs – and has historically occurred – in the Caribbean and Latin America, the spirit is often associated with sailors and pirates. But today, rum is also produced in Austria, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Mexico, Hawaii, the Philippines, India, Reunion Island, Mauritius, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan, the United States and Canada.

“And while rum can certainly be obtained on the cheap for the local frat party, good rum is a transcendent spirit on its own and a crucial building block to many of the highest-end cocktails worldwide.”

Rum redefined

With 111 different rums to choose from, Toro boasts the largest rum selection in the Valley.

“Our most exclusive is the Appleton 50-Year Rum, which is $250 per ounce,” says Ms. Spear. “It was crafted in 1962 to celebrate Jamaica’s full independence from Britain. Barrels were set aside to age with the intention of bottling the rums decades later in celebration of the country’s 50th independence anniversary.”

According to plan, Appleton Estate announced the sale of 800 bottles of the now-50 year-old-rum in June 2012, making it the world’s oldest barrel-aged rum. Toro also carries Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum 1703. Native to Barbados and founded in 1703, Mount Gay is the oldest existing rum distillery in the world.

“Just as fine wine is meant to get better with age, so can rum,” says Ms. Spear, who offers tasting flights to guests by region in much the same way fine wine bars offer samples of various varietals from across the globe.

Toro’s Rum Flights

  • Jamaica – Appleton 12yr, Appleton Reserve, Appleton VX — $16
  • Barbados – Mount Gay, Eclipse, Mount Gay Black Barrel, Mount Gay XO — $17
  • Martinique – Rhum Clement 6yr, Rhum Clement 10yr, Rhum Clement VSOP — $26
  • Around the World – Mount Gay 1703, Pyrat Cask, Rhum Clement XO, Ron Abuelo Centuria — $94

“In addition to debunking myths about sipping rum straight or on the rocks, it is also important to note that rum-infused cocktails go far beyond frat house-made Rum and Coke,” says Ms. Spear.

In fact, the Mojito, Manhattan, Piña Colada, Dark ‘n Stormy, Daiquiri and Mai Tai all have one spirit in common – a rum base.

“There is an art and science to crafting cocktails using rum properly,” says Ms. Spear. “While dark rums are typically consumed on the rocks or straight up – or in a tasting flight – lighter rums are those commonly used in cocktails with a combination of fresh and unique local ingredients.”

Toro’s rum craft cocktails

  • Rum Princesa’s Daily Punch – Wray and Nephew Overproof Rum, Tropical Juices — $11
  • Trader Vic’s Mal Tai – Appleton Silver Rum, Appleton 12-Year Rum, Almond Orgeat Syrup, Orange Liqueur, Lime Juice — $14
  • Watermelon Caipirhina – Leblon Cachaca, Simple Syrup, Lime, Watermelon — $14
  • Monsoon Season – Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum, Ginger Beer — $14
  • Cucumber Pomegranate Mojito – Bacardi Superior Rum, Simple Syrup, Lime Juice, Pomegranate Juice, Cucumber, Mint — $14
  • Rum Old Fashioned – Atlántico Reserva, Sugar, Bitters — $15
  • Princess Manhattan – Zaya 12-Year Reserve, Sweet Vermouth, Orange Bitters — $15
  • Toro Toro – Smith and Cross Rum, Lime Juice, Syrup, Ginger Puree, Pineapple, Cilantro — $15
  • Running With The Bull – Rum Rita with Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, Lime Juice, Torres Spanish Orange Liqueur — $15

For more information, visit

Ms. Bailin is a volunteer correspondent at the North Valley Office of Independent Newsmedia.

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