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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A: They’re more adventurous and have learned to trust their bartenders.
50 ml / 1.7 oz Jägermeister
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…
40 ml / 1.5 oz Jägermeister
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.
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
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!
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.