The cocktails can cost as much as, or even more than, a seared muscovy duck breast or the house-smoked yellowtail served at this luxe downtown dining room. But the concoctions from the molecular cocktail bar, located on the second floor, are often more than just what’s in your glass—there’s a show, too. The most crowd-pleasing might be the $36 Mojito Then and Now, which produces not only a strong classic rum cocktail, but a liquid-nitrogen version—stirred right there on the bar, with billowing clouds of vapour and producing a goblet of mojito slush. The $28 Affumicato sees a crystal decanter of cognac, rum and vermouth pumped full of wood smoke from an infusing gun; the idea is to savour the drink over time, to notice how the smoke changes the drink’s flavours. (Spoiler: it does, big time.) It would be entirely too gimmicky if the bartenders weren’t such fine ambassadors for their craft—nerdy in all the right ways when it comes to the science behind these showy beverages. Their enthusiasm is contagious—and considerably softens the blow of the final bill.
19 Toronto St., 416-214-5888, donalfonsotoronto.com