Drinks

Toronto

Toronto.

With the right fernet and a spicy rye, the Toronto becomes a delight. It originates from Toronto and was created before Prohibition.

35 ml 1776 Rye James E. Pepper
35 ml Gagliardo Fernet Radicale
1 dash Angostura Bitters

Preparation: Stirred.

The first recipes

We found the first recipe called Toronto in 1930 at William T. Boothby. It consists of 1/3 jigger each, i.e. 20 ml, of whiskey and fernet, to which are added 2 dashes of sugar syrup and 2 drops of Angostura bitters. However, this is similar to Robert Vermeire’s Fernet Cocktail from 1922. He uses 1/4 gill each, i.e. about 35 ml fernet and cognac or rye whiskey, 1 dash Angostura bitters and 2 dashes sugar syrup. Finally, he expresses a lemon zest over the drink. Robert Vermeire states that this cocktail is very much appreciated by Canadians from Toronto.

It should be noted, however, that Robert Vermeire is not the first to combine fernet with whiskey. Louis Muckensturm already published a similar recipe for a Marine Cocktail, but with far less fernet, and a recipe for a Fernet Cocktail which, however, also uses curaçao and does without other bitters.

However, the designation “Fernet Cocktail”, as used by Robert Vermeire, is not suitable despite the oldest rights to the name, as many different recipes were understood under this collective term. In 1924, Carlo Beltramo called the Toronto “Siki Cocktail”, but this name did not catch on. Nor do people really want to call this drink “The Mussolini” as Judge Jr. did in 1929. Finally, in 1930, William Boothby used the name “Toronto”, and it is under this name that we still know the cocktail today. Another name that can be found is “King Cole”. However, the latter contains too little Fernet in comparison or is even prepared with bourbon, as Hugo Ensslin did in 1917.

The ingredients

The published recipes use varying amounts of fernet. It is noticeable that practically all the more modern recipes use much less Fernet than rye whiskey. We clearly recommend not to do this. The Toronto loses what makes it special. The reason for this reduction may be that the drink seems unbalanced. We, too, did not find access with the most diverse fernets. Frank Arne in particular, as someone who is fundamentally sceptical about fernet and actually doesn’t like it at all, had a certain reluctance here. With the right fernet, however, the cocktail with equal parts fernet and whiskey turns out quite splendidly. Of course, it’s also important to use a spicy rye that has something to counter the Fernet. Frank Arne’s unequivocal comment on our recipe: under no circumstances should you use less Fernet.

So we took our cue from Robert Vermeire’s recipe. We think that no additional sweetening is necessary and that a lemon zest squeezed over it tends to make it worse, at least with the ingredients we use. So we have dispensed with lemon zest and sugar syrup.

The name

Where exactly the name comes from is open to speculation. Robert Vermeire gives us a hint, even though he simply calls the cocktail Fernet Cocktail. He writes „This cocktail is much appreciated by the Canadians of Toronto“. [6]

From 1916 onwards, alcohol became increasingly difficult to obtain in Ontario, and therefore in Toronto, and eventually Prohibition was introduced, most of which was not lifted until 1927. [5] During the Prohibition era, both fernet and rye whiskey were certainly difficult to obtain in Toronto. It is now unclear whether the cocktail was already being drunk in Toronto and the recipe had then found its way to Robert Vermeire, or whether he meant by his remark that visitors to his London bar who came from Toronto particularly liked this cocktail. This question is raised again and again. Does a look at history help us to assess probabilities?

The first major wave of immigrants to Toronto came from Ireland in the 19th century. The Irish made up more than half of all residents in 1851. From 1900 onwards, other ethnic groups came to Toronto, including in particular Germans, French, Italians and Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. [2] It is perhaps also interesting to note that Toronto became the largest centre of distilling in North America. In the 1860s, “Gooderham and Worts” was the largest whiskey factory in the world. [2]

A Fernet cocktail consisting of a combination of Rock & Rye Whiskey, some Fernet Branca and a dash of glycerine was first published by Louis Muckensturm in 1906. In the 19th century, a Rock & Rye Whiskey was a mixture of Rye Whiskey, rock candy and citrus. [3] [4] One can well imagine that Muckensturm’s Fernet Cocktail was well known in Toronto. Considering the whiskey production there, it is obvious that people drank whiskey, and one can also well imagine that due to the Italian immigrants, fernet also came to the city and was preferably drunk by them. So it is quite conceivable that they insisted on a higher proportion of fernet in the drink, and instead of a Rock & Rye they used a simple rye with a little sugar syrup and additionally the lemon oils sprinkled over the cocktail. This would plausibly explain why the Toronto Cocktail in particular was so popular in Toronto and finally received its name after this city.

We therefore interpret Robert Vermeire’s statement as meaning that the cocktail originated in Toronto and was very popular with the inhabitants there. If he had only meant the visitors to his bar, he would certainly have formulated it in this way, just as he writes, for example, in the case of the Bacardi cocktail: „This cocktail is in great demand in London“. Otherwise, he indicates where the drink in question comes from or is popular, for example for the Bamboo Cocktail: „This drink is very popular amongst the British residents in India“. As for the Cooperstown Cocktail, he tells us: „This drink is very popular amongst the cowboys in America“. For the Daiquiri: „The Daiquiri Cocktail is well known in Cuba and the Southern States of the U.S.A“. For the Dubonnet Cocktail: „Another Cocktail made with Dubonnet which is very popular in London just now“. For the Handicap Cocktail: „This cocktail is well known in Dresden“. We will dispense with further examples. For the given ones already show that one cannot interpret his words in any other way than that the drink is much appreciated by the Canadians of Toronto: “This cocktail is much appreciated by the Canadians of Toronto”.

Sources
  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto_(cocktail): Toronto (cocktail).
  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto: Toronto.
  3. https://www.liquor.com/articles/rock-and-rye/: This is How to Bring Rock and Rye Back from the Dead. By Amy Zavatto, 13. January 2015.
  4. https://www.thespruceeats.com/how-to-make-rock-and-rye-whiskey-760286: How to Make Rock and Rye Whiskey. By Lance Mayhew, 19. November 2018.
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ontario_Temperance_Act: Ontario Temperance Act.
  6. Robert Vermeire: Cocktails. How to Mix Them. 1922.
Toronto.
Toronto.

Historical recipes

1906 Louis Muckensturm: Louis’ Mixed Drinks. Seite 37. Marine Cocktail.

Take one dash of glycerine,
One dash of Fernet Branca, and
One cocktail-glass of Rock and Rye whiskey.
Fill the mixing-glass with ice; stir well and strain into a
cocktail-glass. Twist a piece of orange peel on top.

1906 Louis Muckensturm: Louis’ Mixed Drinks. Seite 41. Fernet Cocktail.

Take two dashes of Curacao,
One liqueur-glass of Fernet Branca, and
Two liqueur-glasses of Italian Vermouth,
Fill the mixing-glass with ice; stir well and strain into a
cocktail-glass.

1922 Robert Vermeire: Cocktails. Fernet Cocktail.

1 dash of Angostura Bitters.
2 dashes of plain Sugar or Gum Syrup.
1/4 gill of Fernet Branca.
1/4 gill of Cognac Brandy, or Rye Whisky to taste.
Stir up well with a spoon, strain into a cocktail-glass, and squeeze lemon-peel on top.
This cocktail is much appreciated by the Canadians of Toronto.

1924 Carlo Beltramo: Carlo’s Cocktails et boissons américaines. Seite 30. Siki cocktail.

Se prépare dans le tumbler à moitié rempli
de glace en morceaux: Quelques gouttes d’an-
gostura bitter, 1 cuillerée à thé de sirop de
sucre, 1/4 dl. de Fernet-Branca, 1/4 dl. de bon
cognac vieux ou du Rye Whisky, suivant le
goût. — Bien remuer et verser dans un verre
à cocktail avec zeste de citron. Ce cocktail
est très apprécié des Canadiens,

1929 Judge Jr.: Here’s How Again. Seite 57. The Mussolini.

NAMED after Il Duce and now
we know why!

1/2 Brandy or Rye
1/2 Fernet Branca
(Ask an Italian what this is!)
Sweeten with powdered sugar
Dash of Angostura Bitters

1930 William T. Boothby: „Cocktail Bill“ Boothby’s World Drinks. Seite 82. Toronto.

Whisky . . . . . . . . 1/3 jigger Fernet . . . . . . . . . . 1/3 jigger
Sugar Syrup . . . . 2 dashes Angostura . . . . . . . 2 drops
Stir well with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass, twist orange peel over
and serve.

1934 William T. Boothby: „Cocktail Bill“ Boothby’s World Drinks. Seite 167. Toronto.

Whisky . . . . . . . . 1/3 jigger Fernet . . . . . . . . . . 1/3 jigger
Sugar Syrup . . . . 2 dashes Angostura . . . . . . . 2 drops
Stir well with ice, strain into chilled cocktail glass, twist orange peel over
and serve.

1937 United Kingdom Bartender’s Guils: Approved Cocktails. Fernet.

1 dash Angostura Bitters.
2 dashes plain Sugar or Gum Syrup.
50% Fernet Branca.
50% Cognac Brandy or Rye Whisky.
Stir with a spoon, strain into a cocktail glass, and
squeeze lemon peel on top.

1937 United Kingdom Bartender’s Guils: Approved Cocktails. King Cole.

1 glass Rye or Canadian Club Whisky.
2 dashes Syrup.
1 dash Fernet Branca.
Mix and decorate with slices of orange and pineapple.

1937 William J. Tarling: Café Royal Cocktail Book. Fernet.

1 dash Angostura Bitters.
2 dashes plain Sugar or Gum Syrup.
1/2 Fernet Branca.
1/2 Cognac Brandy or Rye Whisky.
Stir with a spoon, strain into a
cocktail glass, and squeeze lemon
peel on top.

1937 William J. Tarling: Café Royal Cocktail Book. King Cole.

1 glass Rye or Canadian Club
Whisky.
2 dashes Syrup.
1 dash Fernet Branca.
Mix and decorate with slices of
orange and pineapple.

1948 David A. Embury: The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks. Seite 160. Toronto.

A modified Old-Fashioned is made with Fernet-
Branca, a bitters particularly well loved by Italians,
and is called Toronto.

1 part Sugar Syrup
2 parts Femet-Branca
6 parts Canadian Whisky
1 dash Angostura to each drink (optional)

This cocktail may be made in Old-Fashioned glasses
or may be stirred with large cubes of ice and strained
into cocktail glasses. In either case, decorate with a
twist of orange peel.

1949 Emile Bauwens: Livre de Cocktails. Seite 50. King Cocktail.

1 Trait Fernet Branca –
2 Traits Curaçao –
1 Verre Whisky Canadien Club –
Remuer au verre à mélange et passer
dans un verre à cocktail; avant de
servir, décorer avec un morceau
d’orange et un morceau d’ananas.

King Cocktail. Emile Bauwens, Livre de Cocktails, page 50, 1949.
King Cocktail. Emile Bauwens, Livre de Cocktails, page 50, 1949.

1961 Anonymus: Cocktails y bocaditos. Seite 102. Toronto.

(Para 3 porciones)
Almíbar, 1 medida – Fernet, 2 medidas – Whisky, 6 medidas
Angostura, 3 cucharaditas (optativo) – Cubitos de hielo, 4 –
Cáscara de naranjo, 3 trocitos (para decorar).

• Revolver los ingredientes ·en el vaso mezclador.
• Enfriar, colar y servir en vasos de 120 gra-
mos, decorando cada uno con un trocito de
cáscara de naranja.

2011 Brad Thomas Parsons: Bitters. Seite 148. Toronto. 2 ounces rye or Canadian whiskey; 1/4 ounce Fernet-Branca; 1/4 ounce simple syrup; 2 dashes Angostura or Aromatic bitters. Garnish: orange twist.

2011 Helmut Adam, Jens Hasenbein, Bastian Heuser: Cocktailian 1. Seite 297. Toronto. 6 cl Rye Whiskey; 1 Barlöffel Zuckersirup; 1 cl Fernet Branca; Garnierung: Orangenzeste.

2014 David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald, Alex Day: Death & Co. Seite 152. Toronto. 2 ounces Rittenhouse 100 rye; 1/2 ounce Fernet-Branca; 1 teaspoon Demerara syrup; garnish: 1 lemon twist.

2016 André Darlington & Tenaya Darlington: The New Cocktail Hour. Seit 117. Toronto Cocktail. 60 ml rye whiskey (Old Overholt); 7 ml Fernet-Branca; 7 ml simple syrup; 2 dashes Angostura bitters; garnish: orange or tangerine twist.

2016 Brad Thomas Parson: Amaro. Seite 108. Toronto. 2 ounces rye or Canadian whiskey; 1/4 ounce Fernet-Branca; 1/4 ounce Demerara syrup; 2 dashes Angostura bitters. Garnish: orange twist. Demerara syrup, Seite 118: 1 cup Demerara sugar; 1 cup water.

2016 Jamie Boudreau & James O. Fraioli: The Canon Cocktail Book. Seite 286. Toronto Cocktail. 2 ounces rye; 1/4 ounce Fernet-Branca; 1/4 ounce simple syrup; 2 dashes Angostura Bitters; garnish: flamed orange peel.

2017 Jim Meehan: Meehan’s Bartender Manual. Seite 335. Toronto. 2 oz. Lot No. 40 Canadian rye whiskey; 0,25 oz. Fernet-Branca; 0,25 oz. Demerara syrup; 2 dashes Angostura bitters; garnish: 1 orange twist.

explicit capitulum
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About

Hi, I'm Armin and in my spare time I want to promote bar culture as a blogger, freelance journalist and Bildungstrinker (you want to know what the latter is? Then check out "About us"). My focus is on researching the history of mixed drinks. If I have ever left out a source you know of, and you think it should be considered, I look forward to hearing about it from you to learn something new. English is not my first language, but I hope that the translated texts are easy to understand. If there is any incomprehensibility, please let me know so that I can improve it.

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