The Battle of Hastings is having a moment: 25 Liberty’s Kyle Burch is the second T.O. bartender to find inspiration there.
Cocktail: 1066 (October cocktail)
$13 at 25 Liberty (25 Liberty St.)
We’re calling this one: Kyle Burch is officially Toronto’s best kept bar secret. And there aren’t a lot of secrets in the cocktail world, where every new tincture receives a tweet. So the reason most of us haven’t heard of the extremely talented and well-versed bartender at the recently opened 25 Liberty—and, seriously, sitting at Burch’s bar is a real education—must be because he’s a truly humble guy.
But you can tell he’s proud of his new drink, the 1066 (October cocktail), a streamlined and refined sour notable for its pearly white elegance and surprising restraint. For a drink made with a whole lot of fresh apple and cardamom, it’s quite mellow, with a sweet introduction, a smooth, boozy body, and a savoury, slightly acidic finish.
Super-diligent readers of this column might have noticed that the last instalment of Bar Star also featured a cocktail with the name “1066.” Both were inspired by Calvados (from Normandy) and by the Norman conquest, which culminated in the Battle of Hastings. We guess it’s a U.K. thing: Our previous bartender was from London, and Burch spent three formative years slinging drinks in Scotland. “The Norman conquest is the single most important event in English history,” Burch says. “That October is when the English came under French rule and started using words like ‘pork’ and ‘beef’ instead of ‘pig’ and ‘cow.’”
Although he honed his cocktail expertise in Vancouver, the 30-year-old Nova Scotia native got his start in the U.K. some 10 years ago. Burch went over to bartend in Edinburgh and the remote Isle of Skye, which is where he acquired his phenomenal knowledge of many base ingredients—especially, unsurprisingly, whisky. “A poet said there are two types of people who visit Skye: those who don’t really get the place and those who, when they leave, have a homesickness for it until they die,” says Burch. “I’m in the latter category.”
Kyle Burch’s 1066 (October cocktail)
Pâpidoux Calvados + Fresh apple juice + Cardamom syrup + Egg white + Scrappy’s cardamom bitters