Toronto Wine and Spirit Festival 2017


What better way to kick off a summer weekend than checking out the Toronto Wine and Spirit Festival down by Sugar Beach. Back for it's 9th year, the festival showcases some of the world's best wine, beer, cider and spirits producers. With a plethora of vendors on hand, it would be impossible to sample everything without getting liver cirrhosis. But here's how our night went down and highlights of some of our favourites.


To get a base layer of food to absorb the large amounts of alcohol to follow, we checked out Hot Bunzz Street Cuizine. We grabbed an Island Jerk Chicken bun and the Cajun Parm Cauli's on the Stick. The bun had a juicy piece of jerk chicken in the centre and was topped with garlic aioli and pineapple mango chutney. The latter had panko crusted cauliflower on a bed of potato chips and topped with Parmesan cheese and garlic and Sriracha aiolis.


We then moved on and grabbed a plate of Bourbon BBQ meatballs, topped with a sherry aioli, slaw, hickory sticks and habanero.

All three dishes were delicious, and with our stomachs lined, we were ready for some booze.


We started with a Shaken Pina Colada made from Malibu Coconut Rum. Topped with a fresh slice of pineapple, it tasted like summer.


One of our favourites for the night came from Kavi Reserve, serving their coffee blended Canadian Whisky. It tasted incredible both neat, and in an old fashioned cocktail. The taste and aroma of coffee, chocolate and vanilla really stood out. After chilling on the sand and listening to some live tunes, we went back for seconds and thirds.


Sticking with whisky, we sampled both of Forty Creek Whisky’sofferings: Copper Pot and Spike Honey Spiced. The latter was simply served with just some lemonade and it tasted fantastic. Again, we had seconds and thirds.


We then switched gears and tried Caorunn Scottish Gin. Made in small batches of only 1000 litres at a time, and infused with 5 local Celtic botanicals sourced locally in proximity from their facility, with a slice of apple. It mixed one of the freshest gin and tonics I've had in recent memory.


The liquor train continued with Siempre Tequila. They served up a cocktail mixed with hibiscus tea, agave syrup, lime and mint. I'm not usually a Tequila fan but this one was definitely worth a try. They were also serving up some drinks in a fresh pineapple that we didn't get to sample but our new friends in line we're lucky enough to snag the last few.


It's usually not a good idea to mix (said someone), but with so many breweries present, it was hard not to try a beer. We headed over to Waterloo Brewing and tried their IPA. It was a little citrusy, fairly light on the hops and not too overpowering.

Sadly, at this point, this was all my small frame could handle. We didn't get a chance to sample any wine but with so many wineries, there's no doubt there was plenty to satisfy even the pickiest wine connoisseur.


All in all, the mix of drinks and a sandy beach we're a perfect way to kick off summer in Toronto. This will definitely be an event to look out for when it rolls around again next year.


Contributor Ray Dang (@raydang21)

Photographer in Self-Training