Barchef, Toronto Mixology Cocktail Bar
472 Queen Street West (at Shaw) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Founded by well-known mixologist Frankie Solarik and co-owner Brent VanderVeen, Barchef is the IT spot for mixology cocktails if you are in or visiting Toronto. The bartender the evening we visited Barchef was Jordan Powley, who has been behind the bar at Barchef almost one and a half years. Jordan had previously worked in Vancouver and in Port Hope at Black Beans Steakhouse and Lounge where he had apprenticed under master mixologist, Wes Galloway.

Mixology Cocktail Drinks at Barchef - Toronto Cocktail Bar

Jordan Powley behind the bar at Barchef – Toronto Cocktail Bar

It takes a few minutes to adjust to the transition from the streetlight to the ambient Barchef atmosphere, mostly lit by candles. The bar looks half alchemists lab, half magic potion bottles, set aglow from interspersed candles.

After careful consideration, I ordered from the Molecular Cocktails menu. My Sailor’s Mojito ($25.) created with sailor jerry rum, beach essence, fresh mint, fresh lime, vanilla syrup, mojito ravioli, and vanilla air, arrived foaming and aromatic. Definitely not your average Cuban mojito.

Molecular Mojito Cocktail at Barchef, Toronto Mixology Cocktail Bar

Molecular Mojito at Barchef, Toronto Mixology Cocktail Bar

The bar patrons next to us ordered a Vanilla Hickory Smoked Manhattan ($45) made with Crown Royal Cask 16, in-house cherry vanilla bitter, hickory smoked syrup, vanilla cognac, smoked hickory and vanilla. It arrives under a large glass dome with the intertwined aromas of smoked hickory and vanilla.

Vanilla Hickory Smoked Manhattan - Molecular Mixology Cocktail at Barchef in Toronto

Vanilla Hickory Smoked Manhattan – Molecular Mixology Cocktail at Barchef, Toronto

Other intriguing Molecular Cocktails at Barchef included: Martini 3 Ways, Transformation, and Black Truffle.

Molecular cocktails, though a specialty of Barchef, are by no means the only custom cocktail recipe type offered. Barchef also has group drinks called “Punch Bowls” in Small ($50.) for groups of 4-6 people, and Large ($90.) for 7-10 people. My guess is though that if you have a party of 7-10 people, it would be hard to get a consensus on which Punch Bowl cocktail to choose, when there are so many choices in the four different cocktail categories on the Barchef menu.

There are eight tempting cocktails on Barchef’s “Sweet & Sour” cocktail menu. My companion opted for “Van Gogh’s Downfall+ ($15.) which he generously let me sample. It was a winner made with absinthe, lemon rind, star anise and clove syrup, almond argeat, and fresh lemon. Definitely a drink I would re-order.
The “Sipping” cocktail menu had seven choices, each priced at $14.

If you’re visiting Toronto, Barchef is worth a stop, and if you are planning a special occasion event, Barchef also does cocktail catering and bartending.

About The Author

Christine at World Travel Guide. Traveling is my passion.