The Best Manhattans in Toronto
The best Manhattans in Toronto are representative of what's known as the Sweet Manhattan (opposed to a perfect or dry), which seems to be the prevalent style these days. Mixing two ounces of whiskey with an ounce of sweet vermouth and bitters seems like a pretty easy drink to execute, but the devil is in the details - from the type of whiskey used to the quality of the bitters.
These are the best Manhattans in Toronto.
Cold Tea, ever the menu-less improvisational mavericks of the city, make their Manhattan using Rittenhouse Rye or Bourbon, up or on the rocks depending on what your preference is. The kicker here is in the blend of vermouths -- the powerfully-flavoured Punt e Mes is tempered with the comparatively subtle Dolin Rouge. However you order it, it's served with a cherry soaked in good booze.
Wanna drop some bucks and get a real show out of it? If there's one cocktail experience in Toronto that you really can't miss, it has to be the Smoked Manhattan ($45). Served in a bell jar, with the drink smothered in hickory-vanilla smoke, it's a spectacular looking thing, though it's a bit hard to really classify it as a Manhattan given the use of brandy.
One of the first serious cocktail spots in the city's drinking renaissance, the Harbord Room has been home to some of the city's best bartending, thanks in no small part to co-owner Dave Mitton's tutelage. There's no fixed way to enjoy a Manhattan here, but they keep a range of whiskeys and vermouths, and will expertly blend any combination of ingredients to order.
Mike Young's been slowly overhauling the cocktails at this fun little Dundas and Bathurst hangout, so gone are the draught Manhattans, and in are the delicious made-to-order variety. Forty Creek Canadian rye is stirred up with the Spanish Casa Mariol Vermut and Angostura for a light and zesty Manhattan ($11). Unless otherwise specified, it's on the rocks with a twist.
If you're in the Roncesvalles neighbourhood, you should make a stop at this cute little diner-cum-cocktail bar. The drinks list is surprisingly comprehensive, and they're open for lunch and dinner every day. The Ace's Manhattan ($14) uses Crown Royal Black with Dolin Rouge and a spiced apricot sugar alongside the requisite bitters.
Toronto has any number of great cocktail bars, most of which require bartenders to work small miracles everyday just to cope with the physical and economical limitations of their tiny spaces. Not so at Spirithouse, where the barstaff have every conceivable tool and toy to work with, and acres of space to do it in. Aside from mixing to order ($14), they serve bottles of Manhattan ($80), each containing six orders to pour amongst yourselves at the table.
There's two tiers of this classic drink at this Bloor and Ossington bar, with guests able to choose between a Manhattan with George Dickel Rye ($12) or Rittenhouse Rye ($14). Whichever way you go, you'll be treated to a custom blend of vermouths, containing Dolin Rouge, Carpano Antica, Punt e Mes, Iris Rojo, and De Muller.
If you like your drinks fast as well as delicious, you should head to Rush Lane, where they serve Manhattans on tap. There's a few classic cocktails on the draught system including the fantastic Vieux Carre (a sort of Manhattan-sazerac fusion), but the Manhattan ($12) is made with Lot 40 rye, Dolin Rouge, and Angostura bitters.
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