A few of years ago I was visiting the great city of Montréal with a friend. Looking for something a little off the well-beaten track of St. Denis and St. Laurent, we took the recommendation to steer our BIXI bikes up to the 1300 block on Rachel East for a visit to Bar Le Lab, Fabien Maillard's intimate homage to the cocktail bars of another era. The bartender had the facial hair and wire rims of a Brooklyn hipster and the lab coat of an old-timey pharmacist (come to think of it, Brooklyn hipsters have the facial hair and wire rims of old-timey pharmacists!). Behind him, the most extraordinary array of boozes familiar and obscure. Watching him prepare our drinks was a show in itself and the results were spectacular. While Toronto has sprouted many fine and inventive cocktail bars in recent years, my memory of our visit to Le Lab has served as the gold standard for cocktail bars.
Well, now you can have a little taste of Le Lab in your own home bar with a new series of artisanal syrups from Maillard and company. You'll find these cocktail basics just to your left as you enter the shop.
And next to them, some new products from another great Montréal artisan, Camilla Wynne's Preservation Society. While she produces a wide array of pickles and preserves, chutneys and jams, we're starting with a small selection including some items perfect for cocktail inclusion, like her pickled celery and preserved oranges. And if you'd like to move cocktail hour a little closer to breakfast-time, try a little of her Marmgarita on toast (it's cocktail hour somewhere, right?). Seville oranges, limes, tequila, triple sec, salt - everything you know from the glass but in different proportions and in spreadable form!
These items join our already excellent selection of syrups and tonics and bitters and garnishes and bar tools. So if you're looking to up the ante where your cocktails are concerned, you could either take a drive down the 401 or a walk down Roncy!