Cheers: Toronto Gets Its Own Signature Cocktail

When a city has a drink named after it, it usually tells a story about both the place and the person who created it.

City drinks are often inspired by unique streets, neighbourhoods, people, and culture, and are capable of putting you in a specific city state of mind.

Think Manhattan. 

And now, thanks to George Brown student Claire Freel, Toronto finally has a its own cocktail. And one that captures the essence of the city.

Photo: Liz Beddall/METRO

Photo: Liz Beddall/METRO

Freel created the Toronto Wise Guy for the recent Toronto Winning Ways competition and her concoction of rye whiskey, ginger ale, ginger beer, soda water, fresh mint, and lime really won the judges over.

O&B co-owner Michael Bonacini, Bar Raval partner Robin Goodfellow, and Corby’s trade and marketing manager Ryan Powell were judging the competition, all of whom are no stranger to a good (and successful) cocktail.

The competition was organized by the Toronto Board of Trade and George Brown college and asked contestants to create cocktails that capture the essence of what make the city “a great place to live, work and play,” Metro News reports.

When it came to creating the Toronto Wise Guy, Freel said she wanted to focus on the city’s multiculturalism and also add a touch of personal preference.

At the competition, Freel shared that she’s a “whisky girl,” and that she wanted to, “play on the mojito flare and come up with a drink that’s local, foreign, exotic and wonderful.”

While only a few ingredients are needed to make this delicious drink, Freel said that mixing it up can be a bit tricky, so those looking to try the Wise Guy can visit Chefs’ House near King and Sherbourne starting next week.

When it came to selecting a name, Freel said she wanted to take a spin on the drink’s use of Wiser’s whisky.

“I hope when people hear the name they’ll be like, ‘Oh, what’s that?’” she said. “It’s both classy, cheeky but also tricky. This is whisky after all,” said Freel.


Photo: Liz Beddall/METRO

Next time you’re entertaining at home and you feel like serving up a new cocktail, we recommend mixing up a few Wise Guys for your city friends:

How to make it:
– 1.5-ounces Wiser’s whisky
–  2 ounces ginger ale
– Half teaspoon minced ginger
– 1.5-ounces lime juice
– 3 stems of fresh mint
– Splash of ginger beer and soda

*Add ice and shake

– Strain mixture over ice
–  Top up glass with ginger ale and stir
– Garnish with mint sprig or lime wedge