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Toronto bars are finally allowed to sell bottled cocktails to go. Here’s where to get them

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Specialty wine subscriptions are booming right now. Here's how to get the goods delivered to your door
Food & Drink

Specialty wine subscriptions are booming right now. Here’s how to get the goods delivered to your door

Alcohol sales have been a lifeline for Toronto bars and restaurants during the pandemic. First it was bottles of booze paired with food delivery. Then came the mix-your-own cocktail kits. And at last, in late December, the government green-lit the sale of pre-mixed bottled cocktails for takeout and delivery. Which means we’re now awash in a sea of canned, bottled and bagged cocktails for at-home drinking, prepared by some of the city’s savviest bartenders. Here are our favourites.

Project Gigglewater was one of the first spots in the city to go full throttle into take-out cocktails, concocting treasure boxes of ingredients for building your own at home. Now, you don’t have to do any of the work—simply pour the bar’s pre-mixed cocktails over ice in whatever cup you have on hand. Hits include a vodka-based drink that tastes like an After Eight, and the Pop It Like It’s Hot, with corn-pop-infused St. Remy brandy and Chartreuse. Each bottle contains about six servings. projectgigglewater.com.

 

Just like in the before times, Civil Liberties’ new curbside cocktail takeout program is curated to what you’re craving. Sidle up and they’ll make and bottle you a completely custom cocktail. For the indecisive, a menu of pre-designed house creations is also available. shop.civillibertiesbar.com.

 

While we dearly miss the spritzes at Supernova Ballroom, Kelsey Ramage’s roving delivery service still deals in bubbles, plus a full rainbow of bottled cocktails—including non-alcoholic options. Keep an eye out for DT’s special 21 Club releases, where Ramage collabs with bartenders from around the world to batch a limited run of their signature recipes. Bottles serve up to six cocktails each and can be stored in the fridge for up to 30 days. dollytrolleydrinks.com.

 

Piano Piano enlisted bartender Oliver Stern to bottle up a range of incredibly chic, aperitivo-inspired cocktails. The negroni is a can’t-miss classic, as is the vodka-and-Aperol-based Il Bacio, which is ready to drink on ice or with an optional spritz of prosecco. Each bottle contains four servings. pianopianotherestaurant.com.

 

Speaking of negronis, Mother’s signature take is infused with cedar and hibiscus botanicals, then barrel-aged for six weeks. It’s delicious, as is their coffee-infused negroni made with dry gin, Italian bitter, sweet vermouth, lacto-fermented grape juice and coffee beans from Carbonic Coffee. Each bottle contains four cocktails. For the teetotalers, house-made canned kombucha is also available. mother-cocktail-bar.myshopify.com.

 

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Toronto bars are finally allowed to sell bottled cocktails to go. Here's where to get them

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Gerrard-and-Jones mainstay Pinkerton’s is rolling out their house line of canned drinks. Expect drinks that nod to childhood memories, like a spritzy sbagliato with a Ralph Wiggum-approved “I choo choo choose you” on the label. pinkertons.ca.

 

This subscription finds Cry Baby Gallery’s owner Rob Granicolo dropping off a surprise cocktail at your door each weekend. Expect each to be nostalgic leaning: recent offerings include a Cosmopolitan and “The Blue Pill,” made with tequila, blue Curaçao liqueur, pineapple and saline. Each bottle serves two. crybabygallery.ca.

 

Bar Mordecai has been pivoting with grace throughout the pandemic, launching a line of cocktail kits and playing home to an Italian restaurant concept called West Side Maria’s. Now, they’re crafting a series of bottled cocktails, with monthly specials inspired by the lunar phase: “Capricorn Season” featured a bottled vodka and aquavit martini made in partnership with Spirit of York—keep it in the freezer for the perfect serving temperature. This month—Aquarius season if you’re cosmically-inclined—is a riff on a Oaxaca Old-Fashioned. bar-mordecai.myshopify.com.

 

To help with the opening of Little Sister’s new Portland Street location, the Dutch-Indonesian snack spot recruited Robin Wynne (formerly of Miss Thing’s) to amp up the beverage program. Under his lead, expect two-serving bottles of cocktails that riff off Indonesian ingredients, like a dark-and-stormy variation made with Gosling’s rum, ginger beer, and a syrup made from bandrek, a spiced Indonesian drink. littlesisterto.com.

 

Shameful Tiki has pivoted to become Legal Tenders, a chicken finger pop-up while the bar remains shut. But owner Alana Nogueda and her team are still turning out tropical-influenced cocktails that pair particularly well with nuggets and waffle fries. Each vacation-in-a-glass cocktail is available in single, three-, four-, or six-serving sizes. shamefultikiroom.com.

 

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To pair with the spread of tacos and molotes El Rey is doling out, the Kensington bar now offers up four- and eight-ounce cocktails for delivery and takeout. Agave spirits are the star here, shining in both classic margaritas and more non-traditional roles like the Open Windows, with chili-infused tequila, mezcal, pineapple and lime; or the Highway Hustle, with date-infused reposado, cacao-Amontillado sherry and white port. elreyrestaurant.com.

 

BarChef was one step ahead of the bottled cocktail game: its pre-made old fashioneds and vespers have been available on LCBO shelves for years. But new regulations mean BarChef can amp up its menu of bottled cocktails. Options include greatest hits from past menus, including the Symphony No. 5, a mix of gin, vanilla brandy, green Chartreuse and orange blossom; or a sazerac with house-made apricot brandy. barchef.com.

 

To pair with the parade of prix-fixe meals coming out of Patrick Kriss’s Yorkville kitchen, the bar team is trotting out excellent bottled cocktails. Think vesper riffs for martini fans, and a clarified milk punch made from tequila, Chartreuse, earl grey tea and coconut for the cocktail nerds. exploretock.com/alobaryorkville.

 

Rhum Corner and sister spot Cocktail Bar are both churning out bottled libations. Cocktail Bar’s are walk-in only, while Rhum Corner’s rum-spiked negronis and old fashioneds can be ordered online. rhumcorner.com.

 

Wenona Craft Beer Lodge is tagging in some of the city’s top bartenders to make limited-run bottled cocktails. Last week, Sandy de Almeida concocted a vodka and pear cobbler with sherry, spruce, pine, birch and lemon, plus a wintery scotch sour with elderflower, clove and cardamom. This week, Aleksandr Russell is making scotch-based Cuba Libres. The cocktails come in packs of four, with two of each flavour. Keep an eye out—as the cocktail series continues, more bartenders will be put to work bottling their favourite recipes. wenonalodge.ca.

 

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To pair with their carbo-loaded tasting menu, the Dundas West staple is turning out Italian-leaning cocktails like the citrusy Bitter Nonna, with Bombay gin, Strega, Campari and lemon juice. For those looking to cut back on booze, there’s a non-alcoholic version made with bitter soda, lemon juice, fennel-juniper syrup and grapefruit juice. exploretock.com/enotecasociale.

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