The founder of Salty Paloma dishes on warming up with Toronto’s best cocktails at home.
By Katrina Riccio
Raise a glass to Toronto’s chilly weather—even frosty season has its toasty upsides. There’s chunky knit sweaters, soft blankets, a crackling fire (or the fire channel) and most importantly, the array of cocktails that warm you from the inside. Cheers to being filled with all the cozy and fuzzy feels!
In celebration, we’ve reached out to resident cocktail connoisseur Amanda Chen to get her take on which mixed drinks best complement Toronto’s crisp evenings. She shares her favourite cool-weather cocktail recipes, the best wintery drinks around town and where to pick up pre-made aperitifs to enjoy at your next virtual hangs.
Want to impress friends, family, your dog or even just yourself with new mixology skills? Meet Amanda Chen, founder of Salty Paloma.
Three years ago, Amanda completely shook the Toronto cocktail scene, literally and figuratively, when her favourite tropical drink just wasn’t cutting it anymore. Nowadays, Salty Paloma is a well-established female-led brand that not only empowers other female entrepreneurs but also strongly supports local businesses in doing so.
“Salty Paloma was created to bring back the love of Margaritas. I was sick of Margaritas being ruined by harsh table salt or the neon green sugar substance you’d get poolside in Mexico. I decided to create all-natural, flavoured salts and sugars with no artificial ingredients or processes so that we can enjoy our Margaritas guilt-free.”
“Over a year ago, we launched cocktail classes and it quickly became a hot spot for ‘things to do’ in Toronto. We’ve since partnered with many venues and bartenders in the city to continue our classes during the pandemic. We now offer virtual cocktail classes and accompanying cocktail kits to bring the experience safely to your homes.”
Salty Paloma’s virtual classes are engaging and easy-to-follow while honouring the art of cocktail making—Amanda’s biggest passion. To add to the experience, Salty Paloma’s cocktail kits gather the high-quality ingredients you need for your recipe (or recipes), in one place, and in the right amounts. Their selection of salt and sugar rimmers come in a variety of flavours from salty to sweet, to even spicy!
Ok, so you’re probably dying to know where Amanda, expert cocktail mixologist, heads to for a drink on an icy Toronto night.
“One of my favourite cocktails to order at a bar is a classic Negroni. I especially love the way they make it at Civil Liberties. And now you can take your own Instant Freezer Negroni Kit home to enjoy at any time.”
Among their takeaway Negroni, Civil Liberties has an entire line of additional cocktail kits inspired by the fall and winter seasons.
“Another favourite spot and absolute secret gem is Suite 114 in the middle of Yonge-Dundas Square, located above an escape room. There’s a weekly menu that you can unlock if you solve the riddle and the bartenders are incredibly talented. I love asking them to make me anything. Dealer’s choice.”
Suite 114 now sells their own line of takeaway cocktail kits that you can make yourself at home—you’ll have to think up your own riddles though.
“And lastly, if you’re wanting to warm up with hot alcoholic beverages, check out Bar Mordecai on Dundas Street West. I love their Mexican hot chocolate with a shot of tequila!”
Bitten by the mixology bug? You’ll need the proper tools and ingredients to grow your newly unearthed passion. Toronto’s Cocktail Emporium sells the best-quality barware and ingredients for beginners and professional bartenders alike. Amanda thinks so too and often heads to Cocktail Emporium for her business needs.
“The number one go-to shop for all things cocktail related is the Cocktail Emporium. With multiple locations in Toronto, as well as a comprehensive online shop, their Margarita kits practically fly off the shelves.”
Conveniently, Cocktail Emporium dedicated an entire section of their website to cold-weather cocktails, with bitters, gift sets, glassware and more to grow your seasonal arsenal.
“Cool weather cocktail recipes I love to make at home is this twist on a White Russian I call the Toronto Snowstorm. Made with Kahlúa, vodka and almond milk, it’s an easy cocktail to impress friends and family. And to make it extra special, garnish your glass with our Sweetie Pie sugar rimmer—made with maple, grapefruit and cinnamon for that hint of holiday spice.”
“Another favourite of mine is a variation of an Amaretto Sour I call the Salty Godfather. I often refer to this cocktail as ‘Christmas in a cup’ because of the warming notes of bourbon, Disaronno’s toasted almond touch, fresh lemon and our Sweetie Pie sugar.”
“Also, I must mention the Fall Margarita. This apple cider Margarita instantly puts you in the mood to bundle up by the fireplace. Add fresh rosemary to this cocktail for a fun punch of flavour in every sip!”
Make sure to follow @saltypaloma on Instagram, where they share cocktail tips, recipes, new product releases and giveaways.
See it. Snap it. Share it. In every neighbourhood, around every corner, through every door
there's something that begs to be discovered in Toronto.
See it. Snap it. Share it. In every neighbourhood, around every corner, through every door there's something that begs to be discovered in Toronto.#OPENYOURCURIOSITY
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