Back in January, we predicted that low-alcohol cocktails – coined Suppressors by Atlanta bartender Greg Best – would become a big thing this year.
The antithesis of standard “Revivers” (which have a profoundly opposite effect after two or four), Suppressors give you the option of preserving your wits while still enjoying a few good tipples.
In anticipation of day-drinking season, bars across T.O. are offering cocktails that taste great without kicking your ass and sucker-punching your liver.
Consistently ahead of the curve, Sandy De Almeida was one of the first bartenders in the city to get serious about Suppressors. Try her No Country For Old Men (Carpano Antica, Fernet Branca, Pernod and lemon juice, $12) at the Drake (1150 Queen West, 416-531-5042, thedrakehotel.ca), where a section of the cocktail list is reserved for aperitifs and low-proof cocktails.
Complex and nutty sherry, with its big flavour and low proof, is becoming the choice base for satisfying restrained cocktails. At Parkdale’s Geraldine (1564 Queen West, 647-352-8815, geraldinetoronto.com), bar manager Michael Mooney mixes up the Mayflower (fino sherry, blanco rum, apricot liqueur, Peychaud’s bitters and orange blossom water, $13).
Haul ass eastward to the County Cocktail (798 Queen East, 416-781-4743, thecountygeneral.ca/cocktail) for Veronica Saye’s house-made sodas with your choice of spirit. Select your own Suppressor by subbing softer amaro in place of hard liquor for a damn fine alcopop. Try the Cynar and celery soda combo ($10) that I can’t shut up about.
Bar Isabel’s (797 College, 416-532-2222, barisabel.com, @barisabel797) Michael Webster keeps it España, showcasing sherry in cocktails that won’t cut your evening (or memory) short. Check the Maria From Sevilla (La Guita Manzanilla sherry, Torres 5 Year brandy, Amaro CioCiaro, honey and demerara syrup, lime, Angostura and Sexy Landlord bitters, lemon oil, $15).
At Cocktail Bar (923 Dundas West, 416-792-7511,hoofcocktailbar.com) David Greig and Jen Agg’s Diplomatico (Carpano Bianco, house-made grapefruit amaro, Branca Menta and soda, $10) fits into one of my favourite class of beverages – pink drinks – and tastes like a glorious face-plant into Elysian Fields. So refreshing and chain-drinkable, you can throw caution to the winds and have at least three.