Cheers To Toronto’s Most Festive Cocktails

By Jeremy Freed

Among the best things about the holiday season is making time to eat, drink and be merry with friends and loved ones. These festive seasonal concoctions from some of Toronto’s top cocktail bars (plus a couple of seasonal pop-ups) are the perfect way to do just that. 

Chalkboard sidewalk sign of The Walton bar with a red squirrel plushie.

Snoop Nogg at The Walton

607 College St.; thewalton607.com

Toronto’s most adorable bar (their choice of words, but surely high in the running nonetheless), with its charmingly mismatched antique furniture, Victorian decor and dim lighting, is also one of the city’s coziest. For the holidays, the Walton’s friendly bar staff are whipping up the “Snoop Nogg,” an original concoction of eggnog, spiced rum and Hennessy, garnished with a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon stick.  

A light cream coloured thick cocktail with a cinnamon stick.

Hot Buttered Rum at Barchef

472 Queen St W.; barchef.com

This Queen West bar has been a major player in Toronto’s cocktail scene since opening almost a decade ago. In that time, owner and head “bar chef” Frankie Solarik has attracted acclaim from the New York Times, Bon Appetit and Top Chef Canada. While his menu features a huge range of innovative drinks, Solarik likes to keep it classic over the holidays. His hot buttered rum made of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Amaro Montenegro, melted butter, and garnished with smoked Maldon salt and maple syrup is like drinking a boozy salted caramel.  

Mason jars of bourbon and a shelf of alcohol bottles.

SanTaRex at Miracle

146 Ossington Ave; miracletoronto.com

Much like that house on the block that goes overboard with the festive decorations, more is definitely more at this Christmas-themed pop-up bar. The bar is decked out with a sleigh-load of tinsel and twinkle lights, and a giant mechanical hugging bear (photo op anyone?). The team behind the bar is dedicated to whipping up yuletide sips worthy of old Saint Nick’s wood-panelled basement rec room. Order a SanTaRex, containing rye whisky, Oloroso sherry, spice apple cider and baked apple bitters, for a taste that’s festive and unexpected (much like the dinosaur mug in which it’s served).   

Festive tiki drink umbrellas and mug boxes with a barrel and Santa pants as their shapes.

Pomme Noir at Mulberry Bar

828 Bloor St W.; mulberry.bar

This French-inspired cocktail destination serves up some of the city’s most interesting mixed drinks year-round, and the holidays are no exception. For a distinctively festive tipple, their seasonal menu offers mulled wines (your choice of red or Riesling) and a hot cider spiked with aquavit. For something more exotic, order the Pomme Noir, a concoction of Calvados-infused brown butter, Amaro Averna, black walnut, cinnamon and cardamom, garnished with a slice of dehydrated apple.

A glass of the Mulberry Bar's signature Pomme Noir drink  and a menu cover.

Sippin’ Santa at Sippin’ Santa

1369 Dundas St. W.; sippinsantapopup.com
What does Santa Claus drink when he’s at the beach? This tiki and Christmas themed pop-up is complete with Easter Island heads, wrapping paper walls, surfboards, grass skirts, and a menu of classic tiki drinks with a Christmas twist. In addition to a limited edition yuletide lager from Toronto’s Henderson Brewing, the Sippin’ Santa cocktail is a must-try. With aged Demerara rum, amaro, lemon juice, orange juice, and a dash of gingerbread spice, it’s like a Christmas party for your palate.

A festive Hawaii Santa mug and an Easter island head statue with a Santa sign in the background.