February 17, 2012
As Valentine’s Day passes by and winter continues to drag on (not that I’m complaining quite as much as usual – it’s been a very mild Toronto winter!), a not-so-young man’s mind turns to…alcohol! Nothing like cozying up in a friendly bar with a good glass of scotch or a Hot Toddy to warm the heart’s cockles (what IS a “cockle”, anyway?!)
So here, courtesy of this month’s Toronto Life magazine, is a sampling of some of the best places to hang out this season with your favourite beverage, and a suggestion for what that beverage should be!
Canadians love their Caesars (for my American readers, that’s a Bloody Mary with Clamato instead of tomato juice), and The Gabardine (372 Bay St.) makes a good strong one spiked with horseradish. And the plush leather booths and interesting bar snacks encourage lingering….
I’ve already mentioned Reposado (136 Ossington) in a previous blog. An incredibly cool tequila bar, in a very hip part of town. And their Hot Ruby, with habanero and strawberry infused tequilas and grapefruit soda, is the ideal winter warmer.
Rum and Bourbon are two great winter drinks (on their own, or as mixers) and The Country General (936 Queen St. W.) has 33 kinds of the former, and 25 of the latter.
I’ve already confessed my love of scotch, and The Emmett Ray (924 College) has dozens of them from around the world. When you have a bar named after a hard-drinking jazz guitar player (Sean Penn played him in Sweet and Lowdown), you know it’s gotta be good!
The Cocktail Bar (923 Dundas W.) has a smoldering fireplace and soundtrack to match – a wonderful place to linger with their signature Manhattan.
Finally, I’ll mention The Thompson Rooftop Lounge (550 Wellington W.) at the hotel of the same name; not so much for the drinks (with names like The Millionaire #3 you get the idea), but for the spectacular view – especially on those crisp, clear winter nights.