Drink it All In: The Best Cocktails in Toronto
The art of the cocktail is alive and well in Toronto. Our skilled mixologists have given the city a reputation for having some of the best boozy beverages around.
If you’re looking to expand your drinking horizons, these signature Toronto cocktails will linger in spirit long after the last drop.
Vanilla and Hickory Smoked Manhattan
Where to find it: BarChef – 472 Queen Street West
Mixologist: Frankie Solarik
BarChef was voted one of the most innovative bars in the world by Food and Wine magazine.
Owner and mixologist Frankie Solarik’s stated objective is to “challenge the conventional notion and boundaries of the cocktail experience” – and does he ever! An evening at BarChef is a treat for all the senses, from the mood-lit intimate atmosphere, to the intoxicating scent of herbs and spices, to the one-of-a-kind flavour profiles of Frankie’s famous creations.
The Vanilla and Hickory Smoked Manhattan is Frankie’s signature. Served in a huge bell jar filled with smoke, this mix of rye, made-in-house cherry vanilla bitters, hickory-smoked syrup and vanilla cognac tastes like a campfire-burnt marshmallow – and a deeply satisfying one at that. Its $45 price hasn’t stopped the bar from selling thousands of them. This is one to cross off your bucket list (you won’t regret it).
The Ronald Clayton
Where to find it: The Harbord Room – 89 Harbord Street
Mixologist: David Mittoen
The Harbord Room has received numerous accolades from Condé Nast, Now Magazine, The Globe & Mail and Toronto Life Magazine, among others. With its laid-back atmosphere and unpretentious vibe, The Harbord Room is an ideal spot for late-night dinner and drinks.
You won’t be disappointed with any of David Mittoen’s cocktails, but if you’re looking for something special, go for The Ronald Clayton. Inspired by David’s grandfather, The Ronald Clayton is made with Crown Royal whisky, vanilla, tobacco syrup and maple bitters, giving it a sweet and smoky profile filled with Old World charm. One sip and you’ll be hooked!
The Hoof Manhattan
Where to find it: Hoof Cocktail Bar – 923 Dundas Street West
Mixologist: Jen Agg
Hoof Cocktail Bar is always a happening spot. Owner and mixologist Jen Agg has created a masterful cocktail list of both classic and modern libations that will have you ordering seconds and thirds.
It’s hard to choose a favourite from Jen’s extensive list of white and brown cocktails, but we recommend The Hoof Manhattan. This modern twist on a classic is made using 10-year-old Alberta rye with sweet vermouth, Jen’s own spice-heavy bitters and a booze-infused cherry in the glass. It’s the perfect drink to sip on while you wait for your table to open up at the bar’s sister restaurant across the street – The Black Hoof.
The County Drive-In
Where to find it: The County General – 936 Queen Street West
Mixologist: Joshua Oliver Prout
Devoted to locally produced food and drinks, The County General is renowned for its homey atmosphere and friendly staff. In addition to its selection of local microbrews and Ontario wines, The County General boasts an extensive list of signature cocktails prepared by mixologist Joshua Oliver Prout.
You can’t go wrong ordering the County Drive-In. Inspired by the South, this unique cocktail is a fun and refreshing mix of bourbon, Aperol, lime and cream soda. Pair it with some County Cornbread for a true Southern-style experience.
Where to find it: d|bar at The Four Seasons – 60 Yorkville Avenue
Mixologist: Shannon Marshall
The Four Seasons name has become synonymous with luxury and class. Located in the prestigious Yorkville area, d|bar – the hotel’s street-level lounge – embodies the quality and elegance you would expect at The Four Seasons. The bar’s market-driven French-American menu is the perfect complement to its impressive selection of handcrafted cocktails from Master Mixologist Shannon Marshall.
For a cocktail unique to Toronto, try the Yorkville Affair. A blend of wild flower gin, rose petals, elderflower liquor and white cranberry, this creative concoction rewards your palette with a fruity, floral profile that will remind you of spring. It’s the perfect cocktail for any time of year.