21 winter-proof cocktails that’ll boost your glee factor this holiday season.
Whether you’re celebrating the season with friends or trying to forget what happened to the world economy in 2011, the holidays are the perfect time to drink. Here are our most highly recommended cocktail concoctions—ranging from cozy and Christmassy to brazenly boozy—courtesy of the city’s top bar-tistes.
The Bruce Lee, $10
Cold Tea, 60 Kensington Ave. (#KNM)
Creator: Matt LaRochelle
Some of the charm of this drink is that its inventor, Matt LaRochelle, won’t yet commit to “Bruce Lee” as its final name, since the entire cocktail menu is a work in progress and he’s waiting to see if the moniker sticks. The rest is in the kick delivered by a Chinese five-spice syrup, apple brandy, cider and bourbon.
Mitty’s Glogg, $12
The Harbord Room, 89 Harbord St. (#ANX)
Creator: Dave Mitton
Leave it to these guys, once again, to marry cutting-edge and traditional by leading the glogg revival. Glogg is a Swedish mulled wine made even more awesome with the addition of almonds, dried fruits and cardamom. You won’t have to ask if they have it on the menu that night; you’ll smell the magic when you enter the room.
The Winter and Stormy, $14
Blowfish Restaurant and Sake Bar (668 King St. W., #KGW, and 333 Bay St., #DTN)
Creator: Nishantha Nepulangoda
There’s a lot going on in this drink—whisky, thyme, cider, cloves and a touch of both bitter and citrus—but somehow Nishantha manages to pull it all together for a winter version of the classic Dark and Stormy. It’s a perfect remedy for those cold days when you want to get your blood moving again.
Lady Alexander (pictured above), $8.50
Painted Lady, 218 Ossington Ave. (#OSS)
Creator: Jess Potter
Cream drinks aren’t usually tolerated in respectable company, but with lovely brandy, rich eggnog and crème de cacao garnished with a candy cane, the Lady Alexander is an exception.
Punch ’n’ Pie, $15
The County General, 936 Queen St. W. (#WQW)
Creator: Aja Sax
Containing two types of rum, this boozy pumpkin-pie-in-a-glass—the result of mixing fresh apple cider with infused pumpkin purée—almost veers into tiki territory. Needless to say, it’s enough to take the edge off. Take one before, and after, any family encounter.
Red Delicious (pictured above), $13
E11even, 15 York St. (#DTN)
Creator: Aaron Beaudoin
Stirred with an apple slice and containing port wine, honey and cinnamon, this is a smooth, classy drink that will calm the frantic shopper and bring to mind more civilized holiday traditions. Namely, drinking too much.
Orchard Collins, $14
Parts & Labour, 1566 Queen St. W. (#PRK)
Creator: Rob Turenne
People often forget to rehydrate in the winter and, as a result, tall drinks get short shrift after the first snowfall. This is an antidote to that situation, with a fizz that reminds you of summer and the apple brandy, herbs and honey flavours of a cool climate.
Island Christmas, $11
Fynn’s of Temple Bar, 489 King St. W. (#KGW)
Creator: Robin James Wynne
The spiced rum takes you somewhere you might be dreaming of during the holidays—a remote island, but not St. Pierre and Miquelon. The plum bitters, chai syrup and egg bridge the gap between resort fantasy and down-home eggnog.
Indian Summer, $14
Acadia, 50-C Clinton St. (#COL)
Creator: Ben Deacon
Perhaps the classiest entry in our round-up of seasonal cocktails, the Indian Summer is a simple, herbaceous take on a bourbon Manhattan, designed to bring holiday cheer and warmth the old-fashioned way—by dosing you up with two kinds of hard liquor: bourbon and calvados.
Ontario Toddy, $10
Paese, 333 King St. W. (#KGW)
Creator: Joshua Groom
Joshua Groom takes locavorism pretty seriously, judging by his Ontario Toddy, which has Canadian whisky, local apple cider, maple syrup and a pumpkin seed rim. He tarts it up with a splash of cider vinegar (this is much better than it sounds) and a bit of lemon.
Next page: 11 more killer cocktails