Best Bets for Cool Weather Cocktails
By Lindsay Young. Who says summertime is the only time for cocktails? No one, we hope. Just because the temperatures have dipped, doesn’t mean your cocktail consumption has to follow.
In a city with a mercury as flexible as ours, it’s only right that Toronto bars and restaurants have sippers that ebb and flow accordingly. From cocktails that warm your soul to year-round patios, here are my picks for the best places to enjoy cool weather cocktails in Toronto.
d | bar by Chef Daniel Boulud
Warm up in style at the Four Seasons’ d | bar by Chef Daniel Boulud. Their cocktail list is intriguing and approachable, with options for cocktail newbies and aficionados alike. For a real Canadian kick, we’d pick the Mr. Right (wouldn’t you?), featuring Ontario-made Lot 40 Single Copper Pot Still Whisky, filled with warm, comforting aromas and flavours like toffee, nutmeg and smoke.
Want something more upbeat? The Maple Margarita is a perfect mix of Canadian sweetness and Mexican fire, mixing tequila and lime juice with pure maple syrup. Olé, eh!
When Loka opened for brunch earlier this year they made a decision: instead of serving mimosas, they’d offer bellinis featuring local ingredients, extending their no-waste policy to their beverages. At the time of writing, they’re creating elderflower bellinis, but that’s subject to change with the seasons, as they make their syrup with suitable ingredients on hand.
You can only grab the seasonal bellini at Loka’s weekend brunch, making this a solid indoor boozy brunch option to keep you entertained throughout the chillier months.
It’s one of the most popular patios in the city, regardless of the temperatures outside. Open-air in the summer and covered in the winter, Bar Raval’s patio skills are rivaled only by its cocktail skills. Go there, drink any cocktail, get some food. Have fun.
Hawthorne Food & Drink
Tucked just off the main stretch of the Financial District, Hawthorne Food & Drink is an ideal little escape from real life in the city. Their floor-to-ceiling windows make you feel like you’re outside, letting in all the sunlight yet keeping out the chilly air. Bonus: Thursday night is ladies night! After 5 p.m., cocktails are $5 for ladies.
Nestled in an urban wilderness, Café Belong is the perfect spot for an après hike drink to keep you warm. Whether you’re out enjoying the crisp autumn air and falling leaves on the trail or trekking in fresh snow around Evergreen Brick Works, it’s nice to top it all off with a beautifully-crafted cocktail.
Keep an eye out for seasonal cocktail specials, or hit up a tried-and-true favourite: My Lover’s Old Fashioned, featuring Canadian Dark Horse Whisky and smoked chili infused maple syrup. For real.
True to the Butterbeer of the Harry Potter world, The Lockhart’s Better Beer warms you from the inside out. Inspired by Harry Potter, The Lockhart’s popularity hasn’t waned since it opened, meaning it’s doing more right than just paying homage to Harry. The coziness of the bar combined with the warm nostalgia of Harry Potter and the comforting flavours of the Better Beer makes it an ideal spot to hunker down when you don’t fancy being outside for very long. And while the Better Beer is served in a pitcher that’s meant to be shared, we won’t judge you in the slightest if you want to keep the whole lot for yourself.
By the way, The Lockhart plays host to Harry Potter Trivia Night every other Tuesday from 6 to 8 p.m. Get there early to grab a spot!
About the Author
Lindsay Young is the Food Tourism Developer at the Culinary Tourism Alliance and regularly contributes tourism industry thought pieces to their website. She is a traveller, runner and wine lover, and will never say no to a cheese platter. Among her many adventures she has cycled across the Netherlands, climbed Mount Kinabalu and skydived over Namibia.