Drinks

Bespoke Bottles: intriguing and less expensive Niagara wines that can only be fo... Bespoke Bottles: intriguing and less expensive Niagara wines that can only be found in Toronto restaurants

Here’s a secret: many of Niagara’s top producers have a range of what they call licensee wines, which are made specifically to sell to restaurants and not through the LCBO. They’re priced below their retail offerings, so the restaurants can add a markup and still pass savings on to diners. And while they may lack… Read more »

Tropical tiki bar Miss Thing’s moves into Parkdale Tropical tiki bar Miss Thing’s moves into Parkdale

Looks like the Bovine Sex Club doesn’t have Queen West’s tiki bar scene all to itself anymore: Miss Thing’s, a Pan Asian restaurant and cocktail bar under the same ownership as next-door neighbour Wrongbar, has opened in Parkdale. There, chefs Jasper Wu (from Bent) and Paul Hadian (from Momofuku) are turning out their take on Polynesian dishes—raw conch with mango and jicama,… Read more »

Fifteen of the city’s most insane caesars Fifteen of the city’s most insane caesars

Every good Canadian worth his or her celery salt knows that the sodium-packed caesar is our national cocktail, and this year the Bloody Mary’s clammy cousin turns 46. While it may have been born in Calgary, the drink is being perfected right here in Hogtown: Tabasco is swapped out for homemade hot sauces, and crushed tortillas, powdered seaweed… Read more »

Patio Guide 2015: this summer’s best new outdoor seats Patio Guide 2015: this summer’s best new outdoor seats

After months of hibernating and sweater-wearing, Vitamin D–starved Torontonians can finally take to the streets (and backyards, and rooftops) to toast our seemingly shortest of seasons. And while it may still be illegal to crack a cold one in your neighbourhood park, there’s no shortage of spots in the city to sip something in the sun… Read more »

Cold Ones: five of our favourite Ontario craft beers for the summer Cold Ones: five of our favourite Ontario craft beers for the summer

There have never been more ways to enjoy Ontario craft beer, in every corner of the city. Here are our favourites By Jason McBride | Photographs by Carlo Mendoza 1 TROPIC THUNDER Wag the Wolf Hopfenweisse Beau’s All Natural Brewing Co. This hop-heavy, organic Bavarian-style wheat beer has characteristic banana and citrus notes, hazy golden… Read more »

Noble Hop turns beer lovers into brewmasters Noble Hop turns beer lovers into brewmasters

By Jason McBride | Photograph by Daniel Neuhaus Last year, Dave Crum, a chatty 29-year-old, quit his job in finance and opened a bespoke shop for home brewers. He sells the needed equipment, which easily fits on a stovetop and stores in a closet, plus 60 different yeasts, and 75 hops and specialty malts to… Read more »

Spring Fling: six bargain bottles of lesser-known whites Spring Fling: six bargain bottles of lesser-known whites

Now’s the time to experiment with fragrant, refreshing, lesser-known whites By David Lawrason As the weather starts to warm I turn to crisp, high-acid white wines to rouse my ­palate out of winter hibernation. There are plenty of unsung white grape varieties that offer the same brace and quench as the more familiar rieslings, sauvignon… Read more »

A year-round lawn games bar is coming to College West A year-round lawn games bar is coming to College West

Good news for those of you who think the 60-plus crowd gets all the best sports: you no longer have to wait until your golden years to take up shuffleboard. That’s because Toronto’s getting its very own indoor lawn games bar, and it opens April 17. Track & Field Bar, owned by the folks behind… Read more »

Northern Belle, Northwood’s new sister spot, is now slinging drinks in Tri... Northern Belle, Northwood’s new sister spot, is now slinging drinks in Trinity Bellwoods

The Christie Pits café and cocktail bar Northwood has opened a second location on Dundas West. With its pour-over coffees and much stronger drinks, Northern Belle isn’t all too different from its sister location, save for a sophisticated aperitif menu with a selection of vermouths and amaros (soon to be offered as flights). Guests can expect classic drinks with twists and clever… Read more »

Serious Crush: 10 spots that deliver exciting wines and never-snooty service Serious Crush: 10 spots that deliver exciting wines and never-snooty service

By David Lawrason | Photography by Dave Gillespie The definition of a Toronto wine bar has morphed dramatically over the past few years. Classic wine-only bars are increasingly scarce, while restaurants with excellent by-the-glass lists and accompanying small plates are proliferating madly. My favourites all offer the wine bar experience, which to me means you… Read more »

The Reign in Spain: five bottles of garnacha to get you through what’s lef... The Reign in Spain: five bottles of garnacha to get you through what’s left of winter

Grenache, or garnacha, is like the white T-shirt of the wine world: low-priced, beloved, and it goes with everything By David Lawrason Garnacha is one of the world’s most undervalued and prolific grapes. The low-acid, high-sugar, fruity variety can suffer from over-sweetness and brash mocha flavours in the hands of producers looking to maximize its… Read more »

Top Five: the best speakeasies in Toronto Top Five: the best speakeasies in Toronto

These nightspots nail the trendy Boardwalk Empire vibe 1 At the Parkdale gin mill Geraldine, pictured above, the retro cocktails are a safe choice, but the absinthe fountain is more fun: the emerald elixir is available straight or in a slushie with fig syrup, crushed ice, bitters and fresh mint. 1564 Queen St. W., 647-352-8815.

Sparkling Personality: the best bubblies under 50 bucks a bottle Sparkling Personality: the best bubblies under 50 bucks a bottle

There’s nothing like French bubbly for swank luxury, but for everyday enjoyment, these international labels deliver great fizz By David Lawrason A midnight coupe on New Year’s Eve is champagne’s shining moment. But bubbles can bring levity and refreshment to more mundane occasions, like toasting the end of a bad day at the office. There’s… Read more »

A Bottle for All Reasons: because every holiday event goes better with wine A Bottle for All Reasons: because every holiday event goes better with wine

The Holiday Meal Buena Vista 2011 Pinot Noir | $24.95 | 91 points  The riot of scents and flavours in a traditional holiday meal can drown out complicated and refined wines. A tart, full-flavoured pinot noir is the answer. Buena Vista has enough edge to slake, plus the flavour wattage and textural weight to drink… Read more »

Small-Batch Wonders: gorgeous red wines that won’t break the bank Small-Batch Wonders: gorgeous red wines that won’t break the bank

This party season, skip the show-offy bottles for reds with a little more nuance (and a lot less sticker shock) By David Lawrason As the holidays loom, Vintages stocks pricier wines to give and (hopefully) receive. It’s easy to impress with a $100-plus cult label from Bordeaux, Burgundy, ­Tuscany or the Napa Valley, and the… Read more »