World Class talent at the Royal York photo

A few years back, Toronto’s venerable Fairmont Royal York underwent a reno that transformed the train-station vibe of the main floor public area into the glamorous Clockwork Champagne & Cocktails. Now the space has a resident barkeep as dashing as it is.

As director of mixology, James Grant, World Class Global Bartender of the Year 2021, Canada’s 100 Best Bartender of the Year 2022 and one of the few gents who can truly carry off a moustache, has crafted a cocktail menu designed to take guests on a journey through time. Cocktails include the delicately tropical Tick Tock and its spirit-free sibling, Matter of Time, as well as Meet Me at the Clock, which is like the love child of a French 75 and Sgroppino, and the rich, brown-spirit-forward Grandfather Clock.

Over at the hotel’s cozily clubby Library Bar, meanwhile, Grant oversees a list of “masterpieces” made with top-shelf spirits, like the $100 King of Dreams made with Hennessy XO Cognac and Napoleon Armagnac, and an opulent variation on the Library Bar’s signature cocktail, the Birdbath Martini. This luxe version of the classic made with bespoke Quill vodka or gin and served tableside from a bespoke mixing glass also features a house olive-oil-and-butter spirit, house vermouth blend and lemon oil, and is accompanied by a soft pretzel and sturgeon caviar.

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