Sample the Distillery District’s Craft Drinks

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Toronto’s Distillery District was once home to the largest distillery in the British Empire. So it stands to reason you should find some tasty drinks here! Take a break from browsing the funky gift shops and galleries to sample these unique beverages produced on site.

A tasting flight of sake from Ontario Spring Water Sake Co.

Mill St. Beer Hall

You pull up a high-topped chair at the outside bar at Mill St. Beer Hall. This bright, modern space revived the area’s distilling past when it introduced bierschnaps in 2013. You settle on a shot of light straw-colored Maple Bierschnaps, which frosts a tiny glass beer mug. As you sip the smooth, ice-cold spirit, you learn that Mill St. is the only brewery in Canada that distills its own bierschnaps. Before you go, you indulge in a taste of their homemade root beer. Childhood memories rush back as you delight in the bubbly, herb- and vanilla-flavored drink, even though you skip making a froth mustache from the creamy head.

SOMA Chocolatemaker

Your next stop along the Distillery District’s cobblestone streets is SOMA Chocolatemaker. Inside the lovingly restored stone tank house, you spot two glass cylinders slowly churning liquid chocolate. A one-ounce shot of pure chocolate, served warm? Yes, please! You choose Spicy Maya, which is infused with chili peppers, cinnamon, ginger, and Madagascar vanilla. The first silky sip has a spicy finish that warms your throat. You savor it as you browse the delectable chocolates, cookies, and colorful gelato the store offers. Then you find a seat next to the glassed-in chocolate laboratory. As you watch a worker pour creamy white chocolate into molds, you’re surprised to find yourself scooping up the last of your liquid chocolate with your fingers.

Ontario Spring Water Sake Company

A short walk away is Ontario Spring Water Sake Company, eastern North America’s first sake brewery. Inside the arched limestone doorway, you spy a small tour group gathered at the open concept brewery on your left. You pause to study the big stainless-steel vats where rice is brewed with pure spring water from northern Ontario. Then it’s off to the tasting bar. You settle onto a black wooden stool and order a flight of three. The first is a light, crisp introduction to this ancient Japanese art. The second is a fermented, slightly fruity blend that tastes a bit like apple. The grand finale is a classic, undiluted sake with a rich, complex flavor. Before you leave, you check out the small retail store for a tasty bottle to go.

Tappo Wine Bar & Restaurant

Your stomach is now rumbling with hunger, so you head for Tappo Wine Bar & Restaurant. The first things you notice as you enter this upscale Italian eatery are the high wood beamed ceilings and thick stone walls. You feel like you’re in a castle. As you scan the menu of Italian favorites by candlelight, you notice the rustic wheels, belts, and old machinery that pay homage to the building’s industrial past. You can’t leave without sampling Tappo’s specialty: a wide variety of premium wines from around the world. You raise a glass with friends and toast a day spent experiencing the Distillery District’s one-of-a-kind drinks.

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Cindy Burgess has been telling stories for more than 25 years. Her specialties are video production and online media. Her passion is travel and adventure!

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