– James Grant, Fairmont Royal York’s award-winning Director of Mixology, unveils a new batch of cocktails unlike any ever before seen in the landmark bar’s history –
TORONTO, Aug. 1, 2023 /PRNewswire/ – Esteemed as Toronto’s treasured cocktail den, Library Bar launches a new cocktail menu by Fairmont Royal York hotel’s award-winning Director of Mixology, James Grant. As an exceptional first for the iconic brand, Grant levies inspiration from a collection of odd and daring to refined ingredients, showcased in themes of Martinis, Masterpieces, Poetry, Folklore, Science Fiction, and Best Sellers.
Grant’s inspiration for the menu is derived from a canon of both literary and film classics, crafting a cocktail experience unlike any beverage menu ever before seen at the iconic hotel. A bold step forward for the modern-traditionalist Library Bar brand, the audacious menu features sections like Masterpieces with cocktails ranging from $85 – $125 CAD with ingredients like sturgeon caviar, to Science Fiction, with cocktails such as Spice Melange featuring a cricket garnish. Next, guests can behold a cocktail of creative liberties in Southern Reach, in which riboflavin creates an atomic neon appearance and is garnished with an edible szechuan button for an intense but temporary tingling mouthfeel sensation. Balancing these sections are Poetry and Folklore, which levy inspiration from international folk tales, classic Greek mythology, and eerie otherworldly television and film epics.
Winner of the Diaego World Class Global Bartender of the Year 2021 and Canada’s 100 Best Bartender of the Year 2022, Grant’s hospitality ethos and creativity as a bartender is largely due to solely managing and bartending at his alma mater, Little Hong Kong, a 16-seat bar in Edmonton, Alberta, where he honed the fine art of conversation to connect with each guest and craft bespoke cocktails. “Stepping in to the role of orchestrating the guest experience for one of Canada’s most storied hotels requires a sense of reverence for its legacy, and, lends the opportunity to write your own chapter in Toronto’s history,” says James Grant, Director of Mixology, Fairmont Royal York. “I’ve always had a passion for stories, which carried me through my academic career studying history, myth, and literature. As a bartender, I’ve found a medium through which I can share stories with my guest. More importantly, through these drinks, I can help craft new stories for those who join us in Library Bar.” With a new menu collection that truly upholds its namesake, Library Bar was first introduced to Fairmont Royal York in 1972 as a traditional British-style bar that evolved in to the renowned martini instituition it is today.
“Library Bar is a beloved international figure and a cornerstone of Toronto’s great history as a meeting place of the minds. James Grant’s creative character is showcased fantastically in this intriguing collection of charismatic cocktails. The menu is finely curated for our guest experience, and with it, James has certainly authored his unique legacy and talent in Library Bar’s history as Fairmont Royal York’s most forward-thinking establishment,” says Edwin Frizzell, Vice President, Central Canada and General Manager, Fairmont Royal York. “There is an art to hospitable entertaining, and I believe James and our whole team have created a menu that is at first an enjoyable read, then, transforms into a surprising delight to the senses the moment the cocktail is served to our guest.”
Library Bar’s menu features 20 cocktails in total – 17 new cocktails and three from the most recent menu.
Library Bar’s seminal classic, The Birdbath Martini, features a new recipe for QUILL Gin by Grant in partnership with a local Ontario distiller. The next addition to the bar’s exclusive martini list introduces The Luxe, a masterpiece in its own right for the quintessential Birdbath martini, featuring a new house olive oil and butter spirit, vermouth blend, lemon oil, and served with a soft pretzel and sturgeon caviar.
Cocktails: The Classic, The Luxe
A section of cocktails headlined by fictional and non-fictional protagonists alike, highlighting their triumphs and follies. The Masterpieces are defined by an exceptional caliber of ingredients that create an elevated dining experience. Master & Commander lends upon tales on the high seas from the Napoleonic War; Birthday Suit is a coy phrasing for The Emperor’s New Clothes; The Curator is an ode to the painting of Sir George Locke that hangs above the bar’s mantelpiece; and, King of Dreams embodies the Greek myth of Morpheus and the ancient ideals for paradise on earth.
Cocktails: Master & Commander, Birthday Suit, The Curator, King of Dreams
The juxtaposition of this section’s cocktails highlight Grant’s mixologist character: technical execution balanced with a great sense of muse, curiosity and humour. Best showcasing Grant’s style is Divine Comedy, a cocktail inspired by Dante’s Inferno. Served in a beer tulip, the beverage journeys from intense heat to a smooth, cool finish with Amaro Lucano, an Italian herbal liqueur, habanero and eucalyptus – and garnished with a prosciutto crisp.
Guests will be equally moved by The Legend of Princess Kaguya, a Japanese folk tale that inspires a visually serene cocktail in The Moon, composed primarily of Dillion’s Gin and Shōchū, a Japanese distilled beverage, and garnished with a bamboo leaf ribbon and grapefruit coin.
Cocktails: Ghost Ships, Bespoke Tailoring, The Moon, Divine Comedy
Grant fondly introduces Folklore with the menu heading, ‘Cocktails wild and unhinged in their profiles.’ Black Lodge, Grant’s personal favourite, is an ode to David Lynch and Mark Frost’s television series Twin Peaks, featuring Lagavulin 16 Year Scotch Whisky, Campari, Coffee Liqueur, and Sweet Vermouth, creating a bold and smoky drinking experience.
Cocktails: Black Lodge, Wild 400, Gunslinger Punch, Little Seeds
This collection showcases Grant’s intentional shift in orchestrating an new iteration in Library Bar’s traditional guest experience, demonstrating the iconic brand’s evolution as an industry-forward cocktail bar, proving to be an impressive first for the global Fairmont Hotels & Resorts brand.
Cocktails: Spice Melange, Last of Us, Sacred Beast, Southern Reach
A growing collection of the bar’s fan favourites, featuring Dominicana, a play on the espresso martini, and Twist of Fate, the most ordered Library Bar cocktail from the previous menu since the bar’s reopening in November 2021.
Cocktails: Dominicana, Twist of Fate
About Fairmont Royal York
Timeless and iconic for 94 years, Fairmont Royal York celebrates a new era as Toronto’s landmark hotel with Fairmont Gold, a hotel-within-a-hotel featuring elegantly appointed suites, premium services, and an exclusive lounge on the 18th floor. A grand arrival welcomes guests to the renovated lobby and three signature dining venues. With contemporary railway-inspired design, CLOCKWORK Champagne & Cocktails hosts a bubbly cocktail offering with tasteful metropolitan fare. Steps from the lobby, REIGN features three dining experiences: REIGN Restaurant serves sophisticated cuisine from the bounty of Canada’s rich landscape; REIGN Bar toasts to Toronto’s Jazz-Age revival with a prestigious wine list, chef’s tasting boards, and live entertainment; while REIGN Bakery creates a charming morning ritual with artisanal-roasted coffee and freshly baked goods. Renowned as the city’s cocktail den, the legendary Library Bar features the Birdbath Martini crafted as a masterpiece. The place of occasion, Fairmont Royal York is the city’s destination for glamorous wedding celebrations and inspiring events – embracing a legacy that is famous for generations.
SOURCE Fairmont Royal York
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