Drake Hotel bartender Gord Hannah on Toronto’s cocktail revolution

Drake Hotel bartender Gord Hannah on Toronto’s cocktail revolution


Gord Hannah’s Art of the Shot

Bartender Gord Hannah has been leading the Drake Hotel’s hospitality team for more than a decade. He sat down to talk about Toronto’s cocktail revolution, the Drake’s endless reinvention, and that time he got snowed in at a ski lodge with a beautiful bartender and some Jäger.

Q: How did you get into the hospitality business?

A: I was studying neuroscience when I realized working in a bar on Saturday nights was more fun than being in a lab. I got a job at the Drake the first summer they opened, and the rest is history.

Q: How has the way people drink changed?

A: Cocktail culture is back. We have the Drake Lab, where we develop new recipes, tinctures and syrups. Everybody is looking for drinks that have depth and character. A big part of the cocktail revolution is the amazing product now available to us.

Q: What’s your preferred way to serve a complex spirit like Jägermeister, with its 56 natural ingredients, and blend of earthy, bitter, sweet and spicy flavours?

A: I like to drink it ice cold, neat. I prefer not to mix it, the same way I wouldn’t mix a single malt scotch. Jägermeister has been doing this for 80 years, and I respect that. But I can make some great cocktails with Jäger. I’m inspired by a version of the Toronto cocktail I tried in London, England, where they mixed Jäger with high-end Canadian whiskey.

Q: What’s your favourite memory of drinking Jäger?

A: I was snowed in at Tremblant, and after dinner I went for a drink. After the round, I left the beautiful young woman behind the bar my customary big tip. As a thank you, she poured us shots of Jäger. People forget what a shot is really about — it’s about connecting with the people you’re out with, taking a moment to stop and take a drink together. It’s a lost art. To me, that’s what Jäger is — a great way to end a meal and, if you’re up for it, start off your night.

Q: What do you love about the way people drink now?

A: They’re more adventurous and have learned to trust their bartenders.


Hans Gruber



Looking to reinvent your summer cocktail? Jägermeister suggests these delicious drinks:

Root 56

50 ml / 1.7 oz Jägermeister
Ginger beer

The tantalising flavours created by the 56 roots, spices and fruits that go into making Jägermeister blend perfectly with the zesty ginger beer, creating a hot combination that may just surprise you.

Pour 50 ml / 1.7 oz Jägermeister into a long drink glass (200 ml) and fill it up with ginger beer. Garnish with cucumber and lime, and start off on your journey down Root 56…

Jäger Tonic

40 ml / 1.5 oz Jägermeister
Tonic water
Ice cubes
Citrus fruit zest
Titillate your taste buds with a Jäger Tonic – it’s your very own bitter-sweet symphony.

Pour 40 ml / 1.5 oz Jägermeister over 2-3 ice cubes in a long drink glass (200 ml / 2 qt) and then fill up with tonic water. You can finish the drink with a twist of untreated lime, lemon, or orange zest.

Jäger Negroni

25 ml / 0.8 oz Jägermeister
25 ml / 0.8 oz Filfar
25 ml / 0.8 oz Gin Mare
Orange zest to garnish

Fast, straight-talking, to the point: Jäger Negroni is the boss everyone wishes they had.

Pour all the liquid ingredients into a tumbler glass and fill up with ice. Stir with a bar spoon to dilute and garnish with orange zest. Got it?


40 ml / 1.5 oz Jägermeister
Strongbow Gold cider
Ice cubes

Can’t decide whether it’s time for Jägermeister or cider? Problem solved! You’re very welcome.

Take a long drink glass (200 ml) and fill with ice cubes. Pour in the Jägermeister, fill up with Strongbow Cider, and add a sliver of lemon peel. Easy as that!

Pro tip: twist the lemon peel to get its essential oils and really boost the taste!

Hans Gruber

A riff on a Pimms Cup. This is the one we used in the shoot.

60 ml / 2 oz Jägermeister
15 ml / 0.5 oz lemon juice
15 ml / 0.5 oz lime juice
120 ml / 4 oz ginger ale
Lemon wheel, lime wheel, orange wheel. 6 mint sprig.

Muddle mint and fruit wheels in a Collins glass. Add Jäger and juice. Fill with ice. Top with ginger and stir. Garnish with cucumber.

This is a sponsored post, which means it was paid for by our advertising partners. Learn more about Jägermeister at jagermeister.ca.