What went down at the second annual Toronto Cocktail Week from October 15 to 20

By Toronto Cocktail Week  |  Oct 29, 2019

From October 15 to 20, Toronto celebrated its incredible cocktail culture with six days of parties, tastings and one-of-a-kind dinners for the second annual Toronto Cocktail Week. It kicked off on October 15, when more than 20 of Toronto’s best bars joined forces at the Evergreen Brick Works for one heck of a Opening Party.

The Moët Hennessy Discovery Hour went down on October 16 at Drake Mini Bar, where you could have a super-luxe Domaine Chandon Sparkling cocktail branded through something called a ripple machine (think the best barista art you’ve ever seen, but on top of a boozy beverage). The next night brought a who’s who of Montreal bartenders to town, where they took over Mahjong Bar in the city’s west end. Mixologists representing the likes of the Cloakroom, Atwater Cocktail Club, the Cold Room and Milky Way served signature drinks using Wheatley vodka, Volcán tequila, Glenmorangie scotch, Buffalo Trace bourbon and other top-shelf liquors. On October 18, the Junction’s Famous Last Words served up duelling flights of El Dorado rum and Writer’s Tears Irish whiskey to celebrate its third birthday.

More than 15 tastings and classes—led by Toronto’s top talent—were hosted across the city. They included a Sherry 101 class with Alvaro Plata, North American spirits ambassador for Gonzalez Byass at the brand-new Supernova Ballroom; an intro to whisky with Forty Creek at Death and Taxes; and a deep dive into tequila and mescal at the Vatican Gift Shop. Guests also learned about Campari at a negroni seminar co-hosted by Robin Goodfellow of PrettyUgly, and were introduced to the four defining ingredients of the traditional cocktail with famed molecular mixologist Frankie Solarik at BarChef. Other popular classes had guests sampling award-winning Nikka Japanese whisky, drinking various types of martinis, learning how to make modern cocktails using old-school spirits like Southern Comfort and Grand Marnier, being schooled on the importance of ice in cocktails, and learning how to drink like an environmentally conscious consumer with Trash Tiki’s Kelsey Ramage.

Finally, there were two “spirited” dinners. The first took place at Claudio Aprile’s newly opened restaurant, Xango, and featured Diageo World Class bartenders and products. To close out the festival, Carbon Bar hosted a bourbon-fuelled evening featuring cocktails made with Buffalo Trace and the rare 2019 George T. Stagg, alongside some of the city’s best barbecue.

Here are some highlights during #TCW19: