The Toronto cocktail has its roots in the Prohibition era, when Canadian whiskey was smuggled across the border into the United States. It was first documented in the 1922 book 'Cocktails: How to Mix Them' by Robert Vermeire. The drink is a classic whiskey cocktail that has gained popularity among whiskey enthusiasts and those who appreciate a well-balanced, spirit-forward drink.
The Toronto cocktail is a rich, bold, and slightly sweet drink with a hint of bitterness from the Fernet-Branca. The rye whiskey provides a strong, spicy backbone, while the simple syrup and orange peel garnish add a touch of sweetness and citrus.
Cheese & Charcuterie
Pair the Toronto with a bold blue cheese or a plate of assorted charcuterie. The smoky and spicy notes of rye whiskey, paired with the herbaceous Fernet, cut through the richness of the meats and cheeses, elevating both the drink and the food.
A great companion would be grilled steak or barbecue ribs. The strength of the whiskey is a fine match for the charred flavors of the meat, while the bitter elements from Fernet-Branca and Angostura balance the sweetness of barbecue sauces.
Enjoy the Toronto with dark chocolate desserts. The bitterness of the chocolate matches the Fernet's profile, and the orange's citrus aroma complements the cocoa's depth.
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Replace simple syrup with maple syrup for a Canadian twist. The maple's earthy sweetness complements the rye's spiciness and adds a woody note perfect for autumn evenings.
Use a dash of smoky mezcal in place of some rye whiskey. The smoky element introduces a new layer of complexity while maintaining the original's strong character—a nod to the mysterious smoky bars of yesteryear.
Chocolate Orange Toronto
Add a barspoon of chocolate bitters alongside the Angostura. The chocolate's richness plays beautifully with the orange's zestiness, giving a nod to those timeless chocolate-orange confections, perfect for dessert.
Can I use different types of whiskey for the Toronto cocktail?
Yes, you can experiment with different types of whiskey. However, sticking to rye whiskey or bourbon will keep the cocktail closer to its traditional taste.
What time of the day is best to serve the Toronto cocktail?
The Toronto cocktail, being a rich and spirit-forward drink, is ideal for evening drinking or as a digestif after a meal.
Can I use other bitters instead of Angostura Bitters in the Toronto cocktail?
Yes, other types of bitters can be used, but it will alter the flavor profile of the cocktail. Angostura Bitters provide a complexity and specific flavor that complements the other ingredients well.
What type of glassware is traditionally used to serve the Toronto cocktail?
The Toronto cocktail is traditionally served in an Old Fashioned glass, also known as a rocks glass.
What other cocktails can I make with similar ingredients to the Toronto?
If you're interested in similar drinks, you could try cocktails such as the Old Fashioned, the Manhattan, and the Boulevardier, which all use whiskey as a base, bitters and a form of sweetener.