The Best Festive Drinks in Toronto + Recipes!

Sip your way through the holidays with the city’s most decadent libations.

With a chill in the air, snow flakes starting to fall and loads of Christmas lights making an appearance, it can only mean one thing. The holidays are upon us and we can all use a spicy, festive drink in hand to warm up and get us through those long shopping and holiday travel hours. Here are the best of the best in Toronto -- and we even dug up the actual recipes too, so you can enjoy them in your silk pjs at home. Cheers!


The Cocktail: Hot Buttered Rum by The Forth

Why We Love It: Nothing says the holidays quite like a rich, smooth steaming hot cup of sweet, buttered rum, and The Forth's pinches of salt and chocolate take this hot toddy over the top.

Where to Get It:
The Forth
629 Danforth Avenue
Toronto, ON

Or Make it At Home

The List:
2 oz Bacardi 8yr
3 spoonfuls of roasted chestnut vanilla cream*
Top with hot water, coffee or hot chocolate
Milk froth
Pinch of salt
Pinch of grated chocolate

The Method:
*For roasted chestnut vanilla cream
In a bowl, cream together one stick of softened butter with 200g light brown sugar, 200ml maple syrup, 2 tsp ground cinnamon and 1 tbsp allspice. Separately, roast and de-shell one cup of chestnuts and blend the soft chestnut flesh with one cup cream, three dashes vanilla essence and one tbsp sugar. Combine butter mixture with chestnut mixture.

Spoon 2 tbsp of the roasted chestnut vanilla cream into a rocks glass. Add Bacardi and mix thoroughly. Top with boiling water, coffee or hot chocolate and stir well again. Froth some milk with an espresso machine to top it off and garnish with pinch of salt and grated chocolate. Serve immediately.


The Cocktail: Mulled Apple Cider Mojito by Fonda Lola

Why We Love It: Two of our favourites things all rolled into one festive drink. How could we go wrong?

Where to Get It:
Fonda Lola
942 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON

Or Make it At Home

The List:
750 ml white rum
12-18 limes
3 lemons
1 grapefruit
2 oranges
30-40 cloves
Cinnamon stick
One bunch of fresh mint
100 ml pure maple syrup
Mulled apple cider
Soda water

The Method:
To make clove & cinnamon rum:
Add 30-40 cloves and one cinnamon stick to one 750 ml bottle of white rum and let sit for at least two hours, then strain to remove the cloves and cinnamon

To make citrus and mint mix:
Squeeze 12-18 limes, 3 lemons, 1 grapefruit and 2 oranges into a blender
Add mint leaves and maple syrup, blend, then strain into a jar

In a tall glass filled with ice, add: one part citrus and mint mix, one part clove and cinnamon rum, three parts mulled apple cider, and a splash of soda. Stir and enjoy!


The Cocktail: Bourbon Cider by Jump Restaurant

Why We Love It: A hearty, warming festive drink, the added touch of bourbon to already holiday-ready cider will be your new go-to while staying in on a chilly night.

Where to Get It:
Jump Restaurant
18 Wellington Street West
Toronto, ON

Or Make it At Home

The List:
1 oz Woodford Reserve bourbon
4 oz hot apple cider
Cinnamon stick

The Method:
Rim your coffee mug with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. Pour hot apple cider and bourbon into the mug and garnish with a cinnamon stick.


The Cocktail: The Smoking Bishop by The Carbon Bar

Why We Love It: The simple spice syrup mix takes this cocktail from being an everyday sipper to an elegant holiday drink. Plus you can't ague with an amazing name like the Smoking Bishop.

Where to Get It:
The Carbon Bar
99 Queen Street East
Toronto, ON

Or Make it At Home

The List:
1 oz Woodford Reseve Bourbon
0.5 oz Dom Benedictine B&B Liqueur
0.25 oz Luxardo Maraschino
3 oz Belvoir Farms mulled winter punch
0.5 mixed spice syrup (cardamon, cinnamon, star anise, clove, citrus oils and sugar)

The Method:
Mix ingredients into a crock pot until hot. Garnish with a floating anise pod.


The Cocktail: Winter Cider by Nota Bene Restaurant

Why We Love It: Ice wine, cider, and a splash of cranberry juice makes this the most perfect light cocktail gift you can give or receive.

Where to Get It:
Nota Bene Restaurant
180 Queen Street West
Toronto, ON

The List:
1.25 oz cabernet franc ice wine
3 oz apple cider
1 oz cranberry juice
Juice of ½ a lemon
1 drop of cranberry bitters

The Method:
Combine ingredients in shaker with ice, strain into coup glass, garnish with dried apple spiral.


The Cocktail: Winter’s Pine by Bestellen

Why We Love It: Pine syrup gives this cocktail a fresh, herb-y twist that is both festive and incredibly refreshing.

Where to Get It:
972 College Street
Toronto, ON

The List:
1 oz Lagavulin
0.75 oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth
0.5 oz Pine Syrup*
0.5 oz Egg White
0.25 oz Lemon Juice
1 Dash Angostura Bitters

The Method:
*To make Pine Syrup
Combine 1 cup of water and 3/4 cup of sugar in saucepan. Heat to a boil, then remove from heat. Add 1/3 cup of pine needles. Let steep for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain needles out and allow to cool. Store in refrigerator, use when needed.

Add all ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake. Add ice and shake again. Strain contents into a coupe glass. Tap pine sprig on hard surface to bring out the pine aroma. Garnish cocktail with pine sprig.

Barsas Spiced Hot Chocolate

The Cocktail: Barsa’s Spiced Hot Cocoa by Barsa Taberna

Why We Love It: No one dislikes hot cocoa, especially during the holidays, and even more so when hit with Christmas-y spices and a bit of booze. Throw in the ginger cookies and we're sold.

Where to Get It:
Barsa Taberna
26 Market Street
Toronto, ON

Or Make it At Home

The list (serves 4):
2 cups homogenized milk
1/4 cup water
150g 70% chocolate
100g honey
1.5g salt
4g star anise
3g Chinese 5 spice
Zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
4 oz Anise Arak
Ginger snap cookies

The Method:
Bring milk and water to a boil and add everything but chocolate, arak and cookies. Stir to combine, cover and steep for a min. of 1 hour or overnight. Strain and discard solids. Bring milk mixture back to a boil and whisk in chocolate until homogenous. To serve, pour 1 oz of arak into each cup and fill the rest of the way with hot chocolate. Garnish with ginger snaps.


The Cocktail: Shi-Boozey Hot Chocolate by Shibui Robata Bar

Why We Love It: We dare you not to fall in love with this drink -- hot, frothy and perfectly chocolatey. And any Nutella-rimmed mug has our hearts forever.

Where to Get It:
Shibui Robata Bar
230 Adelaide Street West
Toronto, ON

Or Make it At Home

The List:
1 oz Jägermeister
1 oz Kahlua
6 oz Milk
2 tbsp. of cocoa powder
1 tbsp. of sugar
2-3 marshmallows
Dash of cayenne pepper
2 cups of whipping cream
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp Nutella
Crushed pecans

The Method:
Rim mug with Nutella and crushed pecans. Steam milk and pour into mug. Add cocoa powder and sugar and stir until fully dissolved. Add Jägermeister and Kahlua. In a separate bowl, combine whipping cream, sugar and Nutella, and whip until fluffy and smooth. Top cocktail with whipped cream to taste. Garnish with marshmallows dusted in cayenne pepper.