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NOW Toronto: Kristen Voisey's best bar goods

NOW Toronto: Kristen Voisey's best bar goods

"We asked Kristen Voisey, owner of T.O.'s favourite one-stop bar shop, BYOB, to whittle down her home bar into a compact, five-bottle desert island version. That's a cruel and difficult request from one cocktail geek to another, but she tackled the task like a champ.

Leblon Cachaça
"Because caipirinhas! Leblon is delicate and smooth, made with cane syrup and aged in cognac casks," Voisey notes. She likes to add a few dashes of Mister Bitters Fig & Cinnamon ($28) or Coster's Prescription Coffee & Cigarette Bitters ($16.95) to add some intrigue to Brazil's national cocktail. Keep a bottle of this sugar cane spirit redolent of vanilla and coconut in your liquor cabinet and it can be Carnival all year round. 

Hibiki Harmony

"I fell in love with Japanese whiskies on a recent trip to Japan," explains Voisey. "There's nothing like slowly sipping this over a crystal-clear ice sphere." Agreed. Released in Ontario late last month, Hibiki Harmony is light and layered. Absolutely nothing about this Suntory whisky is lost in translation - it's liquid poetry on any tongue. 

El Dorado 12 Year Old
El Dorado 12 is Voisey's staple rum. (She's a woman of impeccable taste.) She loves it straight up or in a rummy old-fashioned with Eli Mason Demerara Syrup ($12.95) or in a Manhattan with Apothecary Aromatic Bitters ($25). "It's great for tiki time, too," she says. "Try it with BG Reynolds Don's Mix ($18.95), fresh lime juice and Bitter End Curry Bitters ($21)."
Carpano Antica Formula
"What is life without Carpano? It's the star of my bar and a must for Manhattans and Negronis," says Voisey. This burly, spiced vanilla bomb of an Italian vermouth is also a treat on the rocks. Availability is spotty at best, but its little brother, Carpano Classico (1000 ml/$20.95, LCBO 360230) is now in select Vintages sections. 

Pierre Ferrand Dry Curaçao
Disconcertingly discontinued at the LCBO, this gorgeous curaçao is Voisey's go-to for bourbon crustas (with Eli Mason Gomme Syrup, $14.95) or mai tais (with Le Lab Orgeat, $19.95). "I love the candied orange aromas and complex cognac base," she says. So snatch a bottle if you spot one."


-Sarah Parniak
November 11, 2015