Toronto’s urban nature belies its rich agricultural surroundings—and its bountiful regional terroir. Luckily, you’ll never run out of Ontario-produced beverages to try, whether your tastes run to wine, cocktails or the latest trend, cider. Here are a few establishments that make local a priority.
Bars & Restaurants
Just about every establishment worth visiting has at least some local presence on its drinks list—craft gin from Niagara-based Dillon’s Small Batch Distillers, perhaps, or fruity, off-dry Cave Spring Riesling. But there are a few spots that truly stand out.
For the best view in town, head to 360 The Restaurant at the CN Tower (301 Front Street West), whose wine “cellar” is the highest in the world, located 351 metres (1151 feet) above street level. Each dish comes with a wine pairing recommendation, many from Ontario wine regions like Niagara and Prince Edward County.
Closer to the ground, two west-end restaurants put the focus on natural, organic and biodynamic wines, including some more offbeat local offerings, like a sparkling rosé/saison from nearby Burdock Brewery: Actinolite (971 Ossington Avenue), known for its ultra-seasonal and foraged ingredients, and the vegetarian-friendly yet omnivorous Woodlot (293 Palmerston Avenue).
At the Evergreen Brick Works, Cafe Belong (550 Bayview Avenue) offers a wine list that’s entirely local, alongside cocktails and sodas containing housemade syrups in flavours like lavender and hibiscus. And at the regionally obsessive Antler (1454 Dundas Street West), cocktails are forest to table, using ingredients like tree bark and berries for infusions and syrups.
Beyond Wine & Spirits
In The Distillery Historic District, sign up for a tour and tasting at the Ontario Spring Water Sake Company (51 Gristmill Lane), which sells its traditionally made Izumi sake on the premises and in local liquor stores.
Thanks to southern Ontario’s rich apple-growing heritage, on-trend cider is booming in Toronto as well. Look for local labels like Toronto’s own Brickworks, Hamilton’s West Avenue and Niagara’s Tawse on menus across the city. Or for a true cider-focused experience, visit Her Father’s Cider Bar + Kitchen (119 Harbord Street), which houses an ever-growing selection in bottles and on tap. Tasting palettes of three Ontario ciders let you compare the variety of flavours—sweet, dry, or infused with fruits and spices—that can be coaxed from the humble apple.