Bar Laurel, Ottawa
If there were a list of the best things to do in Ottawa at night, sitting at Shannon-Blue Nanibush’s lively bar would definitely be on it. And not just for her tight cocktail game, either! Nanibush has an uncanny ability to multi-task, all the while brightening up the room with her energy, enthusiasm and wicked smart sense of humour.
Kinsip Maple Whisky
Given the rich smoky-maple flavour of Kinsip’s Maple Whisky, Nanibush chose to showcase this spirit in a simple, spirit-forward cocktail. Rosemary adds a little savoury twist and reminds Nanibush of the Christmas trees and evergreen forests surrounding the maple sugar bushes of her childhood.
Shameful Tiki Room, Toronto
Most people who know Alana Nogueda associate her with tiki and tropical drinks, in particular the Daiquiri, which she’s practically famous for. She’s got a serious side too, though, thanks to her training in pared-down, elegant whisky cocktails that are more suitable for winter weather.
Stalk & Barrel Three Barrel Whisky
Ontario’s oldest micro-distiller, Stalk & Barrel, celebrated its 10th anniversary this year with the release of Three Barrel Whisky, a master blend of corn, hearty single-malt and spicy rye whisky. Nogueda was inspired by seasonal flavour combinations like
licorice, baking spice, ginger and oranges for this festive twist on a classic Manhattan.
Alibi Room, Sudbury
Better known on social media as Dan Draper, Dan Cronin is one of those old-school, history-buff bartenders with an encyclopedic knowledge of ingredients, techniques and classic recipes. This
winter warmer is inspired by the lost and forgotten traditions of the era known as the golden age of the cocktail.
Crosscut Distillery Local Harvest Gin
Cronin wanted Crosscut Local Harvest Gin’s festive notes like cinnamon, cloves, black licorice and citrus to shine through in this Toddy, which was partly inspired by the fact that ending the night off with a nice cup of hot herbaceous tea was one of his family’s most cherished holiday traditions.
Bar Sazerac, Hamilton
As a bartender with plenty of experience as a serious chef, there’s nothing Kyle Andrew-Ferreira loves more than surprising his customers with the perfect bespoke cocktail to match their mood and palate. For this cocktail, he drew on his culinary experience to design a dessert-inspired chocolate mint winter Julep.
Junction 56 Mint Smoothie
Mint Smoothie, a light, subtle and fresh-tasting mint-chocolate liqueur, is a collab project between Stratford’s Junction 56 Distillery and its neighbour, Rhéo Thompson Candies, a legendary local confectioner. Essentially a liquid version of one of Rhéo’s most popular candies, this sweet treat is a natural fit at holiday gatherings.