Summer is around the corner, which means that terrasse season is almost upon us. As the terrasses proliferate, so do their cocktail offerings. If you, like me, love cocktails, you'll find that this is both a blessing and a curse.
The abundance of choice for great cocktail spots and the diverse menu bars offer can be intimidating. And, because cocktails tend to be pricey (when compared to a pint of beer), choosing the right cocktail can also be stressful. No one wants to pay $8-$12 for a drink they don't like.
I've compiled a list of some of the best cocktails in Montreal, sorted by neighbourhood, so that you can find your new favourite drink at your local watering hole. Try any of these fail-safe drinks next time you're out with friends.
TL;DR Read on for a list of the best cocktails in Montreal, sorted by neighborhood
Le Mal Nécéssaire's "Abacaxai Mai Tai"
Where: 1106B blvd. St-Laurent, Montreal.
What: This tropical-themed tikki bar serves surprisingly refined cocktails. They are best known for their giant, sweet drinks, served in pineapples or coconuts. The small bar has a super friendly staff, so don't hesitate to ask for recommendations!
The Drink: The Abacaxai Mai Tai is a mix of Bacardi gold, Bacardi black, Cointreau, pineapple, Falernum, lemon, and Angostura bitters. The dizzying mix is served in a giant pineapple.
Soubois' "Suicide Forest"
Where: 1106 blvd. Maisonneuve O.
What: This upscale restaurant/bar in downtown Montreal serves refined cocktails that match its polished interior. The atmosphere is inviting, the drinks are flowing, and the music is bumping. What more could you ask for?
The Drink: The "suicide forest" is a mix of Belvedere, Southern Comfort, white pine sour, sea-buckthorn, lime, and soda. This interesting mix makes for a super refreshing cocktail.
La Distillerie's "Madman"
Where: 3 locations: one downtown, one in the Plateau, and one in Rosemont.
What: La Distillerie is undeniably a cocktail go-to. Their menu is extensive and sorted by style, so you can decide whether you're in the mood for a classic drink or something more tropical.
The drink: One of my personal favourites is the madman: orange, bourbon, cognac, spiced rhum, perychaud's, orange bitters, angostura bitters, and simple syrup served over ice. Strong and to-the-point!
Warehouse's "Pink Lemonade"
Where: 2 locations: one downtown and one in the Plateau.
What: Warehouse is another classic cocktail spot. The best part is that their entire menu is only $5.99, so you can eat for cheap while you sip your drink (goodbye, hangover).
The drink: The Pink Lemonade is a cocktail for all those people who like sweet drinks: top the citrusy-sweet drink with a beer for an extra kick.
Club Pelicano's "Frozen Paper Plane"
Where: 1076 rue de Bleury #001.
What: Located in the basement of a gorgeous building on Bleury, this speakeasy's unique pool-themed decor draws customers in, but they keep coming back for more because of the amazing, ever-changing cocktail menu.
The Drink: Try the frozen paper plane: a mix of whyskey rye, citron, contratto, amaro. It's even more delicious than it looks.
Bar le Lab's "Scarface"
Where: 279 rue Ste-Catherine E.
What: This bar is located in the heart of Place-des-Arts. They have a wide selection of drinks to choose from, so there's definitely something for everyone. The staff is knowledgeable and eager to answer your questions.
The Drink: The Scarface is a nod to the classic film. The eclectic cocktail combines basil, aquafaba, orange bitters, saline solution Tiki syrup, lime, la grande Chartreuse's vegetal elixir, and a Cocalero herb liqueur.
Where: 630 rue Cathcart
What: This Japanese-themed bar hidden in the heart of the city is perfect for dates and small gatherings. The intimate atmosphere and decadent drinks make it a place you'll want to visit again and again.
The Drink: The Okame is a delicate mix of tequila, lychee liquor, orange blossom, honey syrup, and egg white. So good!
Where: 1433 rue City Councillors
What: Biiru is a Japanese brewery in the heart of downtown. The small bar offers a great selection of beers and Japanese-inspired cocktails. It's a hidden gem in the Golden Square Mile.
The Drink: The Onsen is an exciting mix of sparkling wine, shiso, green tea syrup, grapefruit, and passionfruit.
Big In Japan's "Tokyo Mule"
Where: 4175 blvd. St-Laurent Blvd
What: This hidden bar on Saint Laurent offers a great selection of refined cocktails in an intimate atmosphere. The speakeasy is a great place for those who want to catch up or get to know each other over a drink in a smaller, quieter bar.
The Drink: The Tokyo Mule is a new take on the classic Moscow Mule: sake, ginger syrup, soda water, and mint. A must-try, especially in the summer.
Where: 3481 blvd. St-Laurent (2nd story)
What: This bar is nostalgically decorated to ressemble a prohibition-era establishment with dark wood, an imposing bar, and a fireplace. Their drink menu is extensive and their bartenders knowledgeable: this is a good place to get a classic drink.
The Drink: A negroni is a classic cocktail, but all negronis are not made equal. This bar serves up the best negroni in the city, which combines gin, vermouth, and campari.
Suwu's "East Side"
Where: 3581 blvd. St-Laurent Blvd
What: Suwu is a hip plateau bar known for its happy hour 2-for-1 specials. Decorated with hanging plants and candles, this bar also offers a solid menu and good music.
The Drink: The East Side is a nod to the origins of the name's bar. The refreshing drink is made from gin, mint, lime, and soda. Perfect for summer nights on the terrasse!
Le Fitzroy's "Selfitz"
Where: 551 ave. Mont-Royal E.
What: Le Fitzroy is a pool bar in the Mile End that turns into more of a club on weekends. The casual bar serves a good selection of beers, and they have some really fun cocktails.
The Drink: The Selfitz is a springy cocktail that mixes Belvedere, St-Germain, Fitzsour, soda, lemon, and fresh mint.
Candi Bar's Alcoholic Slushies
Where: 1148 ave. Mont-Royal E
What: Calling all my peeps with a sweet tooth: Candi Bar makes colourful and creative cocktails that will remind you of your favourite childhood treats.
The Drink: Candi Bar has ten delicious flavours of alcoholic slushies that you can try. On Wednesdays, their slushes are $10, which means that you can cool down on a hot summer day with an inexpensive drink.
Clandestino's "Smoked Mezcal Jalapeño Margarita"
Where: 436 rue St-Francois Xavier St
What: This hidden bar in the Old Port specialises in tequila and mezcal, and serves cocktails made exclusively with either spirit. For the uninitiated: mezcal is a smoky-tasting spirit made from agave.
The Drink: The bar creates all sorts of original drinks, like the smoked mezcal jalapeño margarita. Equal parts smoky, spicy, and sweet, it's the kind of drink that has to be tasted, not described.
The Coldroom's "Matcha Made in Heaven"
Where: ??? rue Saint-Vincent
What: This speakeasy located in the Old Port may be hard to find: there is no specific address for a reason. However, once you make your way in, you will be glad you did. Their creative cocktail menu and atmosphere are worth every cent you might spend there.
The Drink: Matcha Made in Heaven is a seasonal drink that combines Hakutsuru sake, rinquinquin peach, pineapple, lime, matcha, and pecan bitters for an original drink you can't find anywhere else.
Santos' "Winter Negroni"
Where: 191 rue Saint-Paul O.
What: Santos is an Old Port classic for a reason: go for dinner and drinks and stay for a dance later in the evening. The food is good, the music is good and the cocktails are excellent. Plus, they have Ladies' Night deals on Tuesdays...
The Drink: This delicious, warming cocktail is for those of you who aren't ready to say goodbye to winter just yet. This new twist on an old classic combines Bacardi rhum, Aperol, Pimms, and chocolate bitters.
Philémon's "Big Grey"
Where: 111 rue St-Paul O.
What: This hole-in-the-wall bar is easy to overlook amongst the other, flashier bars in the area. However, step inside to discover a hip bar with a great selection of coktails, beers, and wines. On weekend nights, the place gets packed with people who are ready to dance.
The Drink: Philémon's refreshing cocktail dubbed the "big grey" is composed of gin thuya, rosemary syrup, and fresh lemon. I'll take 3.
La Champagnerie's "French Passion"
Where: 343 rue St-Paul E.
What: La Champagnerie is an upscale bar in the Old Port with an extensive champagne list. It's a great place to go with your friends if you're celebrating something big. Of course, La Champagnerie specialises in bubbly cocktails, and you should definitely try one.
The Drink: The French Passion is an exquisitely simple drink composed of gin, passion fruit syrup, lemon juice, and bubbles.
Flyjin's "Stairway to Buddha"
Where: 417 rue Saint-Pierre
What: Flyjin is an upscale club in the Old Port. The brewery serves asian fusion food in the evening before the location transitions into a bar at night. They have a great selection of beers and sake, but also have an extensive cocktail list.
The Drink: The Stairway to Buddha is a complex mix of Glenmorangie 10 years, Cointreau, passion fruit purée, and burnt cinnamon.
Milky Way's Swan
Where: 1886 rue Centre
What: This tropical-themed bar has been the talk of the city since it opened early this year. The bar serves a variety of tropical drinks with beautiful presentations in a lively atmosphere.
The Drink: This punchy drink is served in a giant metal swan, and it makes for #instagramgoals. What more could you want?
Le Royal's "Troski Le Sans Patrie"
Where: 1232 ave. Mont-Royal E.
What: Le Royal is the bar affiliated with the restaurant Le Rouge-Gorge, a critic's favourite in Montreal's Mile End. The upscale bar serves a variety of delciately balanced drinks in an elegant atmosphere, as well as a selection of champagnes.
The Drink: Troski le sans patrie is a mix of gin, rhum, citrus syrup, and coup de grisou beer.
Hui Clos's "Cherry Fashioned"
Where: 7659 rue St-Denis
What: Huis Clos is an amazing bar in Villeray. They're well known for more than just their drinks: they have daily specials on oysters and some pretty fantastic fare for a bar.
The Drink: Classy food pairs well with a classic drink. Though oysters are delicious with a caesar, try it with a new take on an old fashioned. The Cherry Fashioned is made with Maker's Mark, red vermouth, cherry Schurb, angostura, and bitter Peychaud.
(for those willing to venture a little further for a good drink)
Mile Public House's "Moco Rico"
Where: Quartier Dix30 (9190 blvd. Leduc #130, Brossard).
What: Mile Public House first opened in the South Shore and currently also has a location on the North Shore. It offers fun cocktails and is well-known for its selection of mojitos.
The Drink: The Moco Rico is a fantastic mix of rhum, mint, citrus, rasperry puré, and soda.
Get sipping Montreal! And feel free to make your own suggestions. It's 5 o'clock somewhere right?