Beer-loving bar-goers on Parkdale’s furthest fringes are getting a taste for the stronger stuff thanks to The Yukon’s Katy McLean.
Cocktail: The Drifter
$13 at The Yukon (1592 Queen St. W.)
Katy McLean likes to try new things. Like, say, managing a bar on Parkdale’s furthest edges, where the city’s westward spread of drinking and dining establishments still hasn’t quite reached.
“Besides Parts and Labour, we’re really the first bar of our kind out here,” says McLean. “So with the food, drinks, and everything, we just went bare bones.” But The Yukon’s simple dinner and cocktail menus have so far struck a chord with the neighbourhood’s typically beer-and-whisky crowd, and McLean is getting a little more ambitious with her most recent round of drinks, including The Drifter.
“I thought it’d suit the ‘wild west’ location if we made at least one cocktail that was strong and tough to drink,” she says.
Don’t be daunted, however. The Drifter has a smoky, strong nose, but the finish is light and sweet, with a playful balance of honey, a touch of fruit, and warm whisky. Served over one ice cube, it’s actually a very mellow drink, and the perfect way to end an toast the end of the evening. Its success is all the more impressive given that The Yukon’s current cocktail menu is only McLean’s second-ever.
“I think if an expert came in here, they might look at this cocktail and say that these ingredients just don’t go together,” says McLean. “It’s like, ‘Is it proper?’ I don’t know. Are we?”
So far, the regulars seem to think so, which will be crucial to keeping the lonesome outpost going. There’ll be no new bars opening nearby until at least next November, given the city’s moratorium on new liquor licences. It’ll be hard to build the area as a destination, so McLean and chef Amber Farrell will continue experimenting to entice the locals.
“Unlike some of my friends, I don’t spend all day making infusions, and I’m not obsessed with booze,” admits McLean. “I just take little bits of knowledge I pick up here and there and try to make the most of it.”
Katy Mclean’s The Drifter
Jameson + Drambuie + St. Germain elderflower liqueur + Laphroaig Scotch + Lemon zest