.25oz Fernet Branca
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 dashes simple syrup
Add all liquids to a mixing glass. Add ice and stir. Serve up in a chilled coupe. Garnish with the orange twist.
This classic Old Fashioned/Manhattan variant is surprisingly good. Actually, if you didn’t know better, you really would think the Toronto is a Manhattan with a very herbaceous bitters and a slight hint of orange; and for all intents and purposes it sort of is. The lack of sweet vermouth is made up for by the simple syrup (feel free to add more to taste). Still a dryer more rye heavy drink, the combination of Fernet Branca and Angostura add an amazing herbal bitter undertone with an emphasis on allspice flavor. Tasting the drink while making it doesn’t give the full spectrum of what to expect. The orange twist takes the drier rye and bitter flavor down a notch adding great citrus notes and really tying the drink together. Highly recommended.
Vermiere’s actual recipe lists Cognac or Rye (as in Canadian Rye) as the base spirit and uses a lemon twist instead of an orange twist.
Most sources date the Toronto back to a book, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, by David Ebury in 1948. While I haven’t been able to find any sources with a drink called Toronto any earlier than this, a book called Cocktails: How to Mix Them published in 1922 by Robert Vermiere lists a “Fernet Cocktail,” which is essentially the same recipe as the Toronto. Even more suggestive is the caption below the recipe:
This cocktail is much appreciated by the Canadians of Toronto.
At some point between these two books the name must have been changed to Toronto. Either way it’s a great cocktail.