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Toronto Cocktail Recipe

Embark on a flavorful journey with this fabulous Toronto cocktail recipe!

It seamlessly blends rye whiskey with Fernet-Branca. Meanwhile, simple syrup and Angostura bitters balance the sweet and sour just right.

The result? A symphony of rich, herbal notes with a crisp, slightly bitter finish. You’ll savor the essence of Toronto in every sip. 

Toronto cocktail in a martini glass with an orange twist
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History of the Toronto Cocktail 

The Toronto cocktail is a true celebration mixology!

But ironically enough, the cocktail has no known ties to Canada. Except that it uses Canadian rye whisky, of course! 

It’s been around since at least the 1920s when it was known as the Fernet cocktail.

It became the Toronto cocktail in the late 1940s but fell out of fashion a few decades later.

Luckily, the early 2000s saw a resurgence in the drink’s popularity. 


The Toronto has very specific ingredients. So, it’s best to stick to the list and not make any substitutions.

Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Ice. Use large cubes in the mixing glass and none in the serving glass. 
  • Canadian rye whisky. A Toronto isn’t a Toronto without Canadian rye whisky. Select a high-quality brand with a smooth finish, like Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye.
  • Fernet-Branca. The Toronto is known for its deep, somewhat bitter flavor. Most of that comes from the Fernet-Branca. It’s essential. 
  • Simple syrup. Make your own by boiling equal parts sugar and water until the sugar dissolves. 
  • Angostura bitters. Ensure the bitters are fresh and of a quality on par with the other ingredients. 
  • Orange twist. The typical garnish for the Toronto cocktail. 
Toronto cocktail with an orange twist in a martini glass

More About Fernet Branca 

What can I say about Fernet Branca that hasn’t been said before?

Basically, people either love it or hate it. There is no in-between or middle ground. 

It’s a boldly flavored drink that combines notes of mint, licorice, and herbs.

It’s distinctly bitter but not as bitter as other liqueurs, such as Campari. 

When adding Fernet Branca to your Toronto cocktail, be precise. If you add too much, it’s all you will taste. 

And if you find you love it, try one of these stunning Fernet Branca cocktails.

How to Make a Toronto Cocktail 

Making this drink is super simple. Just follow these three easy steps: 

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1. Make and stir the drink. Fill a mixing glass with ice, then stir the ingredients to chill.

2. Strain the drink into a chilled glass with no ice. 

3. Garnish with an orange twist and enjoy!

How easy is that? You don’t even need a cocktail shaker.

And if you don’t have a cocktail glass, don’t worry. It’s just as tasty in a rocks glass.

More Robust Cocktails You’ll Love

Black Manhattan
White Negroni
Old Fashioned

Toronto Cocktail

Course: Drinks


Prep time





Embark on a flavorful journey with this fabulous Toronto cocktail recipe! It’s a symphony of rich, herbal notes with a crisp, slightly bitter finish.


  • ice

  • 2 ounces Canadian rye whisky

  • 1/4 ounce Fernet-Branca

  • 1/4 ounce simple syrup

  • 2 dashes Angostura Bitters

  • orange twist, for garnish


  • Fill a mixing glass with ice. Pour the rye whisky, Fernet-Branca, simple syrup, and Angostura bitters over the ice and gently stir until well chilled.
  • Strain the mixture into a chilled martini or coupe glass.
  • Hold the orange twist over the drink and squeeze it to release its oils. Then, place it in the cocktail as garnish.
  • Serve and enjoy!


  • Use high-quality rye whisky. You can’t have a Toronto Cocktail without Canadian rye whisky. Select one that’s smooth and refined for the best taste.
  • Stir, don’t shake. Shaking can cause ice chips to break off into the cocktail. It can also make it look cloudy. 
  • Be precise when measuring the Fernet-Branca. If you add too much, it’ll overpower the drink. 
Toronto cocktail recipe

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author avatar
NaTaya Hastings
NaTaya Hastings is a food and recipe writer for Insanely Good Recipes. She’s an educator, boy mom, dog mom, and whatever-stray-enters-the-yard mom. As a result, she's constantly cooking for both humans and animals.

Luckily, she enjoys it!

Though born, raised, and still living in Alabama, her specialty is NOT down-home Southern cooking. Instead, she loves to experiment with Asian, Mexican, Italian, and other ethnic cuisines. She has two mottos when it comes to cooking. “The more spice, the better!” and “There’s no such thing as too much garlic!”

She’s also pretty good with desserts. Especially the easy, no-bake ones.

Her favorite things are cuddling with her four giant dogs, traveling, reading, writing, and hanging out in nature. She’s also pretty excellent at Dominoes.

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