Canada’s Coolest Bartenders On Top Summer Cocktails for 2022

Is this the summer the Aperol Spritz supremacy is toppled? Perhaps not—we think the entirety of the south of Italy might have something to say about that—but we do know that 2022 is the year for a fresh sip, something sparkling (and/or stiff, if that’s your vibe) to cheers our brave new sorta-kinda-maybe-post-pandemic world.

But what will be the cocktail of the summer 2022? We’ve polled Canada’s coolest bartenders for their top contenders—and leave to you the arduous task of sampling them all, and making up your own mind. Abstainers and sober-curious pals, fear not: There’s a zero-proof take for each of these.

Five five!

Photo: Evelyn Chick

The Easy Pea-sy Rickey

the bartender

Evelyn Chick, hospitality expert, owner of event space Ahma and author of For The Love of Cocktailsout next year

the taste

“Tall and refreshing with some herby notes,” says Chick of this cocktail made with snap peas, dry gin, lime, green chartreuse, simple syrup and sparkling water

The case for “cocktail of the summer” status

“When people think summer drinks, it’s automatically associated with sweet, fruit forward serves,” says Chick. This drink offers a counterpoint to that, conjuring “vegetal” flavor with the London Dry gin and Green Chartreuse, a botanical French liqueur, and an actual vegetable, muddled snap peas. “It’s a super fresh cocktail with a depth of flavor that is delicious and intriguing,” says Chick.

The way to sample it

You can easily make this at home, says Chick. Just muddle 2 cut-up snap peas in a cocktail shaker, add 30 ml London Dry Gin, 10 ml Green Chartreuse, 15 ml lime juice, 10 ml simple syrup and shake for 10 to 15 seconds. Strain and pour into a tall glass filled with ice and top with sparkling water.

The food pairing

Grilled fish and a green salad

The mocktail twist

Replace gin with a zero proof alt (Chick likes Seedlip’s Garden 108)

Photo: Nathan Wry

The Toreador

the bartender

Nathan Wry, regional bar manager at Major Tom

the taste

Fresh, bright—that’s the white tequila, apricot liqueur – and spicy. “What’s interesting about it is we added a cucumber and charred serrano shrub to the mix,” says Wry, referring to a kind of non-alcoholic syrup often made with concentrated fruit, vinegar and sugar. “This adds a lot of freshness, a slight spice—charring it tones down the heat to about the same as a jalapeño—and brightness from the vinegar.”

The case for “cocktail of the summer” status

“It’s a spin on a classic,” says Wry, who’s the mastermind behind the chic Calgary’s spot’s drinks list. “It’s great for summer as it’s tequila, is very bright, and has just enough spice to make you want to take another sip.”

The way to sample it

At Major Tom, just named Canada’s Best New Restaurant in the 2022 Canada’s 100 Best Restaurants ranking

The food pairing

Oysters or a crab roll

The mocktail twist

Just ask! “We can absolutely make a mocktail version at Major Tom for people,” says Wry.

Photo: Rafi

The Writer’s Block

The bartenders

Rafi (bartender) and Krian Reddy (assistant food and beverage manager) at the Writers Room in the Park Hyatt Toronto

the taste

A fresh, effervescent mix of blueberry, lime, mint and soda

The case for “cocktail of the summer” status

“It’s a take on a berry mojito, but the versatility is what is what makes it great, because it can be delicious with all spirits.”

The way to sample it

At the Writers Room Bar on the 17th floor of the Park Hyatt Toronto

The food pairing

The Writers Room’s Korean Fried Chicken and Cauliflower Kimchi, “made with the greens that are normally thrown away,” say Rafi and Reddy. “This dish is an example of our dedication to upcycling and ensuring as much of our vegetables are used [as possible.]”

The mocktail twist

This is already a mocktail, but you can add alcohol. “Pro tip,” says its creators. “Add rum or vodka for a delicious flavour.”

Photo: Lauren Mote

A Family Affair

the bartender

Lauren Mote, Vancouver-based drinks entrepreneur and author

the taste

“It’s full of fresh lime and basil, really making the grassy agave notes sing, while also having a smooth richness, with the heat of the jalapeño pepper on the finish,” says Mote, who likes to add her own The Bittered Sling Moondog Latin Bitters, which were created after she “hoofed” a suitcase of dried chilies back to Canada after a trip to Mexico.

The case for “cocktail of the summer” status

“This drink is my tribute to Señora Elma Bermejo, her husband Tommy, their daughter Señorita Elmy and their son Señor Julio Bermejo, who created the iconic Tommy’s Margarita,” says Mote. “A margarita is a classic cocktail, which has stood the test of time. Plus, it is practically summer in a glass. It’s also easy to customize, so you can add your own personal twists to it or make something to suit all taste buds.”

The way to sample it

The full recipe is in Mote’s A Bartender’s Guide To The World, out in October, but for now you can try this one at home. “Take 60 ml blanco tequila, 22.5 ml basil cordial, and 4 slices of green jalapeño pepper, and a pinch of sea salt alongside two dashes of Bittered Sling Moondog Latin Bitters, which are all added before shaking,” instructs Mote.

The food pairing

A warm potato salad with fennel and lemon-cured wild salmon

The mocktail twist

Swap out the tequila for a non-alcoholic botanical white spirit like a zero proof gin.

Photo: Pénéloppe Tancrède

The Rhubaiquiri

the bartender

Peneloppe Tancrede

the taste

It’s a twist on the classic Daiquiri, with a good acidity kick from the fresh rhubarb juice and a hint of cardamom and vanilla,” says Tancrède. “I used Barbancourt white rum for its Agricole-like tasting profile, which gives the cocktail a nice funky vibe, and Havana Club 3 Anos rum for its classic Cuban feel.

The case for “cocktail of the summer” status

“I think the Rhubaiquiri is absolutely the drink of the summer,” she says. “A real thirst quencher, it mixes the tropical notes to the familiar local taste of rhubarb.”

The way to sample it

At Montreal’s Cafecoquetel

Photo: Walter Craft Caesar

The Waltermelon Caesar

The bartenders

Aaron Harowitz and Zack Silverman, co-founders of Walter Craft Caesar

the taste

“We get it,” say Harowitz and Silverman. “On the face of it, a watermelon Caesar combo might seem strange or even off-putting to some.” If you try it, however, they promise you’ll be rewarded with a “refreshing, well-balanced and unexpectedly delicious drink” where the sweetness of the watermelon perfectly compliments tequila reposado and the acidity of the tomato in the Caesar mix.

The case for “cocktail of the summer” status

“When watermelon season hits, it all seems right with the world,” wax Harowitz and Silverman. “Sure, the fruit itself is delicious, but more than that, for us it evokes those long, warm days full of all the things that make a Canadian summer simply magic: hiking, swimming, eating and drinking outside with family and friends.” Their twist on an iconic Canadian drink (the Caesar!) is a tribute to this feeling.

The way to sample it

You can find the recipe in their debut book, Caesar Country out now. Can’t wait to get to the bookstore? To make this at home, circle the rim of a tall glass with a lemon wedge, and then roll in salt you’ve poured on a plate. Set aside (along with your garnish, a skewered piece of feta and watermelon wedge) while you pour 45 ml tequila reposado, 60 ml watermelon juice, 60 ml mild Caesar mix, and 7.5 ml each simple syrup and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with ice until it’s just above the liquid, and stir until the outside of the shaker is cold to the touch. Strain the mix into a glass filled 3/4 with ice, garnish and enjoy.

The food pairing

BBQ Chicken (and yes, they “just so happen” to have a recipe for Caesar Can Chicken in their book, too.)

The mocktail twist

Leave out the tequila

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