Toronto bars are going cuckoo for coconut

Toronto bars are going cuckoo for coconut

Featuring cocktail ideas, bar orders and canned seltzers that highlight the season’s key ingredient

Coconut is a classic summer cocktail ingredient. The tropical mix-in adds that salty-sweet creaminess to a piña colada and masks the punchy taste of rum in a painkiller. But the palm fruit (which is actually a drupe, not a nut) isn’t just for super-sugary beach bar drinks. These days, the city’s mixologists are shoehorning coconut into bright spritzes and bracing nightcaps. Case in point: it’s surprisingly at home in a manhattan. At Short Turn, the sleek new sister spot of 416 Snack Bar, Michelle’s Manhattan (an ode to recipe developer Michelle Rabin’s famous Miso Banana Upside Down Cake) is made with whiskey fat-washed with coconut oil, miso and a drop of banana tincture. Coconut even goes well with brandy. The boozy Punch Lafitte at Evangeline, the Ace Hotel’s dreamy rooftop lounge, is made with two kinds of rum, brandy, absinthe, gunpowder tea, lime and coconut milk that’s clarified until it’s crystal clear.

Related: Seven caesars that redefine Canada’s national cocktail

“Coconut is very versatile, and it works beautifully with citrusy, floral, spicy or herbaceous ingredients,” says Frankie Solarik, owner of Prequel and Co. Apothecary, a whimsical new speakeasy on Queen West. For his aptly named Coconut and Elderflower, Solarik combines coconut rum, herbal chartreuse and pastis, tops it with elderflower soda, and pours it in a glass full of pebble ice. “Coconut gives a confectionary, almost wooded tone and bridges the herbaceous flavours of St-Germain and chartreuse,” he says. “This is the perfect summer cocktail.”

Three ready-to-drink Ontario-made cocktails with a tropical twist

Aloette’s Southside Fizz
Channelling another canonical summer classic—the mojito—Aloette’s new offering mashes up London Dry gin, lime, mint and a kick of cucumber. No glassware, ice or muddling required. $2.95.

Blood Brothers Brewing’s Holy Ghost
This beachy-keen, off-dry five per cent ABV seltzer—made using a ferment of mango and pineapple—is for beer drinkers on island time. $3.25.

Willibald’s Piña Colada Seltzer
What this bright, buzzy hard seltzer lacks in rum (it’s vodka based) and garnishes (though a pineapple wedge wouldn’t hurt), it makes up for in park-picnic convenience. $2.88.

More places to go (coco)nuts

Mother: The Toasted Chai Piña Colada classes up the OG with coconut sorbet and caramelized yogurt.

Lao Lao Bar: Sabai Sabai’s sister spot makes the Vang Vieng Lagoon, a coconutty riff on the daiquiri.