Hang out with pal Tom Collins on the Beverley Hotel rooftop.
Spiked slush is an unbeatable summer treat, popping up on T.O. drink lists because a) it's nostalgically awesome and b) brain freeze never felt so fantastic.
Home of the Brave (589 King West, upstairs, 416-366-2736, thehotb.com) churns all sorts of sexy slush behind the wood. No-joke Zombies and Jack & Cokes have made appearances in the past, but the slushified Last Word (gin, maraschino, green chartreuse, lime, $10) takes the crown.
The tart and zesty daiquiri (rum, lime, sugar, $7) at Rhum Corner (926 Dundas West, 647-346-9356, rhumcorner.com) is the furthest thing from big-box blended daiquiris. Take it to the next level with a daiq-ed up rum and coke (rum and coke topped with a daiquiri swirl).
Craving some slush on a lazy hot afternoon? Make a low-maintenance granita by pouring hard cider into Tupperware and sticking it in the freezer for an hour. Agitate every 20 minutes for texture and - voilà! - cider snow.
Take a long, tall drink
True refreshment - the kind that perks up the senses and curbs perspiration - usually comes in a tall, ice-stacked vessel. Play how-many-sips-till-you-get-to-the-bottom with these quenching cylinders.
Maybe the only classic concoction that rivals a G&T for summer supremacy is a proper Tom Collins (gin, fresh lemon and lime, sugar and soda). Grab one on the intimate, breezy rooftop of the Beverley Hotel (335 Queen West, 416-493-2786, thebeverleyhotel.ca), courtesy of bar manager Aja Sax.
The County Cocktail's (798 Queen East, 416-781-4743, thecountygeneral.ca/cocktail) Veronica Saye mixes the spicy, super-quenching Town Tart (El Dorado 5 year old, spiced raisin syrup, lemon, ginger beer, $12), a house twist on the Dark N' Stormy, kept cool with a long stick of ice.
If there are any agave distillates left in the liquor cabinet post-National Tequila Day, put them to good use in an El Diablo (2 ounces reposado or blanco tequila topped with 3 ounces ginger beer and drizzled with crème de cassis in a tall glass with a squeeze of lime).
Crush the heat
Drinks on chipped ice are the natural enemy of the humidity monster looming over Toronto summers. Drink grown-up snow cones steadily to beat dilution; straw mandatory.
Have Geraldine's (1564 Queen West, 647-352-8815, geraldinetoronto.com) bar manager, Michael Mooney, fix you a frosty Lew Field (La Clandestine Absinthe, fig syrup, fresh mint and bitters over crushed ice, $18), served in a julep cup for an enduring chill.
Those with adventurous palates should put John Bunner's Boxer Julep (Carpano Antica, Fernet Branca, citric acid, salt bitters, sugar, mint, $14) at Yours Truly (229 Ossington, 416-533-2243, yours-truly.ca) high up on their to-drink list.
T.O.'s no Kentucky, so we won't catch shit for mixing juleps outside of Derby Day. Muddle a few generous sprigs of mint with a teaspoon of rich simple syrup (2 sugar:1 water, give or take, depending on your sweet tooth), add 2 ounces of bourbon and top with crushed ice and more aromatic mint. Not a fan of dark spirits? Gin julep it is.
At-home fruit infusions
Preserve the flavours of summer with simple at-home fruit infusions. Chop up some of your favourite fruits - strawberries, pineapple, melon, mango, cherries - stuff them into a clean mason jar, cover with a neutral spirit like vodka, screw a lid on and play a worthwhile waiting game. Once the booze has soaked up enough flavour (this can take anywhere from under a week to a month, depending on the fruit and your preference), you'll have a signature spirit to use in pineapple daiquiris, strawberry 75s or whatever you please.