Find cocktails just like in Drink Masters at Toronto bars approved by Frankie Solarik
Solarik himself gave blogTO the inside scoop on what it was like being a part of the Netflix sensation, what makes a quality Drink Masters cocktail, and where to find ones just like it right here in town.
Solarik's bar BarChef is known for exactly the type of cocktails highlighted on Drink Masters, which in case you're not familiar go way beyond mixed drinks.
At BarChef, you'll find cocktails cascading with dry ice elaborately presented with natural elements, and that's likely part of why Solarik was chosen as a judge for the show.
"With BarChef being included and mentioned in interviews and publications to be at the forefront of modern mixology globally for over a decade, I guess the right people had eventually caught what we were doing with our program. I've also been travelling recently internationally to hold master classes," Solarik tells blogTO.
"I had met Tim Warren before filming, who was the creator of the show based out of LA. He mentioned he had first been introduced to BarChef six years ago during an interview I had done incorporating some of our modernist programs and had been following our progress over the years. He thought it was a great fit and concept for a competitive show."
On Drink Masters, you'll see cocktails presented with edible elements like chocolate-dipped plantain chips or fancy gastronomical touches like orange "air."
"First and foremost the cocktails must have had to meet the desired requirements of the challenge, as well as incorporating intriguing, intelligently crafted, well-balanced flavours and aromatics," says Solarik.
"The techniques used and submissions of cocktails during the show were absolutely incredible. It's an amazingly talented group of mixologists."
Here are some Toronto bars Solarik thinks are making cocktails that are as "well thought out, well executed and intelligently crafted" as the ones he judged on Drink Masters.
Of course, you've got to head to Frankie Solarik's own bar on Queen West for a true Drink Masters experience. Just be prepared to foot a hefty bill for drinks like their famous vanilla and hickory smoked Manhattan that rings in at $55.
"Cloak Bar is doing some great creative things currently," says Solarik of this cocktail spot hidden under restaurant Marben on Wellington in the King West area. Especially impressive options include their "Milkey Way" take on an espresso martini and their Last Act with whiskey and jasmine tea bitters. Bonus: they have alcohol-free cocktails suitable for anyone.
Speaking of speakeasies, this one under Little Sister on Portland just off King West has also gained Solarik's resounding approval. The Indonesian-Dutch restaurant is well known for incorporating ingredients like curry dust, lychee and sumac into their cocktails.
This may seem a bit odd, but another of Solarik's favourite semi-hidden bars in Toronto is behind a barber shop on Ossington. But if over the top is what you're looking for, they've got it: they've been known to whip up cocktails containing Remy Martin Louis XIII that cost $1500. Other high roller cocktails can cost up to $100, but they've also got options under $20.
Hector Vasquez at Barber & Co.
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