The Toronto Cocktail Recipe: A Mellow Whiskey Cocktail

The Toronto Cocktail Recipe: A Mellow Whiskey Cocktail
This drink is essentially a Manhattan with Fernet Branca for an herbal note.

I first ran into the recipe for this classic in Bitters by Brad Thomas Parsons. It’s an excellent book and I recommend it highly, which is also how I feel about this particular cocktail. Tracing back to at least the 1920s, the Toronto appears to be influenced by a wave of Italian immigrants into Canada, who brought amaro with them and would potentially have enjoyed mixing them with the local whiskey. Canadian whiskey, while mellower than American rye, is still made from a high-rye blend of grains. You can use either in this drink.

It’s essentially a Manhattan that uses a small amount of Fernet Branca and some simple syrup to replace the sweet vermouth, but there’s nothing wrong with that! Fernet Branca has a very different (and very strong) flavor, and it makes for a drink that’s heavy on the cloves and more bitter than a typical Manhattan. If you’ve got a bottle of Fernet, this is an excellent use for it!

This article is a modified and enhanced version of a post that ran on my nightly cocktail blog, DrinkShouts. Liquors in parentheses are what I used when I made this recipe, and are included as suggestions.

toronto cocktail recipe

The Toronto Cocktail Recipe

A mellow rye whiskey cocktail
Total Time 5 minutes
Course Drinks
Servings 1 Drink




  • Combine all ingredients in a pint glass over ice and stir thoroughly. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with an orange twist.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Christopher Buecheler

Christopher Buecheler is a novelist, a web developer, an award-winning amateur mixologist, a brewer, a guitarist, a drummer, and an NBA enthusiast. He lives a semi-nomadic life with his wife and two cats, currently residing in Providence, RI. You can learn more at his website,