Canada. The nation responsible for maple syrup, poutine, and today’s iconic cocktail. We’ve covered the Manhattan and the Bronx on the “Cocktail College” podcast, but now we’re hitting up our neighbors up north to dissect the Toronto, a stirred, spirit-forward cocktail that showcases Canadian rye whisky and Fernet-Branca. The drink itself dates back roughly a century, first appearing in Robert Vermeire’s 1922 book “Cocktails: How to Mix Them.” These days, it serves as a means of exploring the vast worlds of Fernet and Canadian whisky, which, up until 2012, was the most popular type of whisky in the United States. In fact, the Canadians were the first to barrel-age the stuff, predating even the Scots in whisky innovation.

To guide us on our journey, we’re joined by Kate Boushel, director of beverage and education for the Barroco Group and bartender at both Montreal’s Atwater Cocktail Club and Milky Way Cocktail Bar. It’s a detailed history of Canadian rye, menthol-heavy amaro, and the 9.09 percent rule. It’s all right here on the “Cocktail College” podcast. Tune in for more.

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Kate Boushel’s Toronto Recipe


  • 2 ounces Canadian rye whisky
  • ½ ounce Fernet-Branca
  • ¼ ounce simple syrup
  • Garnish: orange twist


  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.
  2. Stir until cold and strain into a chilled Martini glass or a chilled rocks glass with one large ice cube.
  3. Garnish with an orange twist.