Toronto’s Bespoke Cocktails

Prohibition. The Mad Men era. Summer 2012, Toronto. We’re in the middle of a Third Renaissance of Cocktails and our city is not just riding the waves but making them. As local bartenders step up their game, expect diabolical and exotic names like Satan’s Whiskers and Sombrero No. 7 to crop up on menus across town.

“People are becoming more educated about their options,” says Barchef mixologist Frankie Solarik. We caught up with some of the city’s most spirited mixologists for a look at their favourite cocktails.

The Brazilian @ Thompson Hotel Rooftop Bar
A smoky-sweet remix on the classic Caipirinha. “Cachaca just feels like summer,” says head bartender Rob Dvorchik. “It works great with tropical fruit.”

  • 2 oz Leblon cachaca
  • 2 oz hickory-smoked pineapple juice
  • 0.5 oz jalapeño pepper syrup
  • 0.5 oz fresh lime juice

Shake with ice and garnish with a caramelized pineapple spear.

The Darjeeling Limited @ Toronto Temperance Society
An exotic favourite from their new menu. Co-owner and bartender Oliver Stern says experimenting is the key to that perfectly balanced cocktail.  TTS is devoted to perfecting classic, Prohibition-era style cocktails.

  • 2 oz Four Roses bourbon
  • 0.33 oz orzata (almond) syrup
  • 0.25 oz peach puree
  • 0.5 oz lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz benedictine
  • dash of peach bitters
  • 1.25 oz Darjeeling tea

Shake with ice and serve with a slice of lemon rind.

The Rosemary Amaro @ Barchef
Barchef applies culinary techniques to their liquid offerings. “This is artistic expression for me,” says mixologist Frankie Solarik. “Drinks are my cello.” He’s passionate about molecular mixology, using chemistry to create novel flavour combinations.

  • 1 oz Amaro Montenegro
  • 1 oz London dry gin
  • 0.5 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 1 oz fresh orange
  • 0.25 oz rosemary syrup
  • leaves from 2 sprigs of rosemary

Muddle, shake with ice. Garnish with freshly cracked black pepper and rosemary sprig.

Perfect your own concoctions at home with these simple tips:

  • Ice can pick up odd flavours from your freezer that could spoil your brew. Pick up a bag of ice for your next mixer.
  • Invest in a glass stirring rod – metal can react badly with carbonated drinks.
  • Have fun. Mixology is more an art than a science. Play around with tried and true recipes to find your own signature elixir.
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