Sip on an Old Fashioned cocktail at these Toronto bars

Everything old is new again, especially when it comes to classic cocktails. Toronto’s talented mixologists are exercising their creativity behind the bar to put a fresh spin on vintage libations. Check out these local bars where the Old Fashioned — a sophisticated blend of whiskey, bitters and sugar – has been revived and reimagined.

Drake Hotel

1
1150 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6J 1J3

Created by resident bartender Rudy Olsson, the Drake’s take on the classic Old Fashioned is a delicious departure from the original recipe. Brown butter-infused bourbon is mixed with maple syrup, cigar tincture and Bittermens Xocolatl mole bitters for a sweet and spicy finish. Alternatively, Sandy De Almeida’s Root Beer Old Fashioned sees sesame-infused rye blended with Gosling’s Black Seal rum, house-made root beer syrup and Dillon’s wormwood bitters. If you’re craving a straightforward version the bartenders at this trendy Queen West hotel will be happy to oblige.

Goods & Provisions

2
1124 Queen St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1K8

The well-stocked bar is a centrepiece at this Leslieville watering hole where you’ll find carnivorous snacks (oysters, charcuterie, cheese, pig tails, scallops) and inventive cocktails. The cheekily named Old Fascist mixes Bulleit bourbon, black pepper, coriander, bay leaf tincture, ginger syrup and cardamom bitters. The neighbourhood haunt might have a dark, moody interior — but the bartenders are friendly and there’s a laid-back vibe that’ll make you want to linger.

Bar Isabel

3
797 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 1C7

The critically acclaimed Spanish tavern has earned Best Restaurant nods from almost every media outlet in the city thanks to chef Grant van Gameren’s seasonally inspired tapas menu. The kitchen turns out regionally-inspired bar snacks (cured meats, cheeses, olives) as well as vegetable, seafood and meaty mains. Not only that, the bar also serves up superbly crafted cocktails. The Isabel Fashioned — the hotspot’s eponymous version of the Old Fashioned — is a sweet yet savoury tipple that blends bacon-infused bourbon, Xocolatl mole bitters (a combination of cacao, cinnamon and spice), angostura, orange zest and a sugar cube.

Ritz Bar

4
181, Wellington St W, Toronto, ON M5V 3G7

Discerning drinkers pull out their credit cards to imbibe in handcrafted libations at the lobby bar inside this upscale hotel. The luxurious cocktail lounge is an impressive space with high ceilings dominated by a bright red sculptural chandelier. The classic Ritz Old Fashioned is an elegant mix of Devil’s Cut bourbon, angostura, orange bitters, walnut bitter and bourbon cherry.

The Ace

5
231A Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R 2L6

This Roncesvalles diner does family-friendly brunch by day and vintage cocktails by night. Take a seat at the bar and try the classic Old Fashioned, which features Jameson Irish whiskey, bitters, muddled orange, simple syrup and soda served on the rocks with a twist of orange. The Food Network’s Guy Fieri even paid a visit to this neighbourhood hangout back in 2013 to sample the contemporary comfort foods and cool cocktails for his show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

Grand Electric

6
1330 Queen St W, Toronto, ON M6K 1L4

Skip the margaritas at this much-hyped Parkdale taquieria and enjoy a reinterpreted Old Fashioned alongside tacos stuffed with pork belly, baja fish, spicy chicken and crispy cauliflower. The bearded bartenders serve a Grand Fashioned made with orange bourbon, bitters and black cherry. The fruity take on the classic cocktail is also served at Grand Electric’s sister restaurant, Electric Mud BBQ, just down the street.

Speakeasy 21

7
21 Adelaide St W, Toronto, ON M5H 1N1

Bay Street suits relive the Mad Men era at this downtown restaurant and lounge where the focus is on classic cocktails and elevated comfort food. The no-nonsense Old Fashioned is served with 100 per cent Canadian Club rye, sugar and bitters. If you need to soak up the booze, the food menu features a variety of sharing plates to nibble on (popcorn chicken, cod croquettes, pork belly skewers) and crowd-pleasing mains.

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