Dave Mitton, The Harbord Room (pictured above)
“Maybe it’s because I have no creativity, but this method really works. I’ve had people order drinks without knowing what’s in them, just because they like the name and it sounds fun.” Some of his greatest hits: Fairytale of New York (The Pogues), Mistress for Christmas (AC/DC), and Could Have Been a Lady (April Wine).
89 Harbord St., 416-962-8989, #ANX
Robin Goodfellow, Ursa
“I openly admit to being a terrible drink-namer. I use street names because I don’t feel good enough to use neighbourhoods, like the New York boys do with The Red Hook and The Cobble Hill. Maybe one day.” His creations include The Hopewell (where he grew up) and The Argyle Gimlet (after a nearby West Queen West street).
924 Queen St. W., 416-536-8963, #WQW
John Bunner, Yours Truly
Recovering academic Bunner is known for names that require illumination—or even a mini philosophy lecture. “My drink The Phantom Limb illustrated the principle that a three-legged table can’t wobble. I was working with four ingredients and couldn’t get the balance. I took one out and there it was.”
229 Ossington Ave., 416-533-2243, #OSS
Josh Lindley, Bar Isabel
Here, the boys behind the bar are known for their homemade mixes, which lighten the mood with names like “baby-making juice” and “Richard Simmons cordial.” Explains Lindley, “It’s a little less pretentious and boring than calling something a cinnamon tincture.”
797 College St., 416-532-2222, #COL
Megan Jones, Reposado
“I hate coming up with a name. I usually start with Google and then turn to friends for help.” They’ve suggested that Jones highlight ingredients: Jalisco Mermelada (made with tequila and marmalade) and Oaxacan Maple Manhattan (a mezcal spin on the classic drink).
136 Ossington Ave., 416-532-6474, #OSS
Japhet Bower, The Whippoorwill
“I try not to take it seriously and instead just think about what the drink feels like to me. One time, I named a cocktail after the Tom Waits song ‘The Piano Has Been Drinking,’ since it felt like a mellow, after-dinner drink.”
1285 Bloor St. W., 416-530-2999, #JNT
Cocktail fun fact: The Slow Comfortable Screw Against a Wall alludes to every ingredient in the drink: sloe gin, Southern Comfort, a Screwdriver (vodka and O.J.), and Galliano liqueur (used in a Harvey Wallbanger cocktail). It’s not great.