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Review: The Cocktail Parlor at Storys, Toronto


There’s nothing quite like organizing your own welcome home party. I had spent the last four months flying all over the place, touching down at 16 airports while often lulling in home sweet home loneliness. I was hoping to gather a few of my close friends who I hadn’t seen in ages for sips and nibbles days after I returned from a jet-lagged stint to the Czech Republic and Namibia.

It was a cool evening when my streetcar screeched to a halt at Queen and John Street. My desert sunburn tingled on my forehead as if to say “no thank you” to the frigid breeze which whipped through the cities streets. Bursting through the doors of The Storys Building, I spilled into the warmth of its Cocktail Parlour. The space feels like a speakeasy from the time of yore, featuring old school bar top, antique stemware and newspaper-esque menus which offer a vintage feel. It also helps that the building is over 170 years old.

I was joined at the table by my friends Erica, Melanie and Mike for a cocktail-tastic bacchanal. We eagerly caught up on our 2013’s, a year which seems to have slipped away quicker than the rest. We whisked our fingers through a menu featuring over 60 cocktails and in the end just left the bevy decisions to the barman.

The Cocktail Parlour is yet another Charles Khabouth offering with a kitchen helmed by Chef Stuart Cameron who also oversees INK’s wildly popular Patria and Weslodge Saloon outposts. The stars of the show here are the 60 plus cocktail offerings which you could spend weeks sipping through. The repertoire focuses on classics infused with house made bitters, syrups and serums. For those looking to grab a bite, the menu is petite but fitting for the parlour concept. Highlights include smoked bar nuts, charcuterie board, tarte flambe duo and berkshire pork belly lettuce wraps.

As we forced ourselves to sip through what seemed like hundreds of goblets and crystal chalice I closed my eyes and rushed myself into September. Storys is smack dab in the heart of TIFF town and last year played host to a dizzying number of parties. I figure I’ll be back, perched like a fly on the wall, taking notes on what she’s wearing and what he’s sipping in the height of Toronto’s Festival Fever.

Special thanks to the team at The Cocktail Parlor for hosting me as their guest.

Sips and Nibbles:

The Jerk Daiquiri

house jerk-spiced rum, ginger syrup, fresh lime, thyme and cinnamon

The Ten Suns

gyokuro imperial green tea infused vodka, honey lemongrass ginger syrup, yuzu juice, cardamom

Hickory Old Fashioned

toasted hickory infused bourbon, charred wood syrup, bittered sling big smoke bitters

Court of the Crimson King

ruby port, kirschwasser, apricot brandy, campari, cinnamon, orange twist

The North Wind

skinos mastiha spirit, fernet branca, green chartreuse

The Looking Glass

bowmore 12 year, edmond briollet cacao dark, yellow chartreuse, fernet branca, cinnamon, orange twist

An Autumn Offering

ginger wine, newfoundland screech rum, maple syrup, fernet branca, fenugreek

The Nicaud Cocktail

cacao infused cognac, house coffee liqueur, chicory and cinnamon, house bitter essence

***

Smoked Bar Nuts

espelette pepper, honey

Charcuterie Board

iberico ham, chantecler rouge chicken croquette, foie gras + elderberry terrine, testina, iberian chorizo, smoked dijon, plum mustard, pickled radish + quince + pear

Spiced Ash Hamachi

lime and coconut

Zucchini Flowers

curried chickpeas, jalapeno

Tarte Flambe

iberico bacon and creme fraiche + chanterelle, pecorino and creme fraiche

Dry Aged Ribeye

piri piri, yukon potato

Lettuce Wrap

berkshire pork belly, miso, iceburg lettuce

Chocolate Mousse

aero chocolate, yuzu curd, milk froth meringue, malt, freeze dry cherries, meyer lemon gel, brown butter

#521 restaurant reviewed in Ontario since moving to Toronto in 2010. 

The Cocktail Parlor on Urbanspoon

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