Drink This: the pear rakia cocktail from Rakia Bar
Image: Karolyne Ellacott
At the city's original Rakia Bar out in Leslieville, owner Dušan Varga can be found working the subterranean space, educating diners with his seemingly boundless knowledge of rakia (aka fruit brandy). The Annex outpost is a more casual rendition which recently superseded Hrvati Bar — another eastern Euro space. There, in a room reminiscent of a compact beer hall, generous after-work specials allow customers to dive into cabbage rolls or ćevapi platters for just $5.
The pear rakia cocktail (it's off-menu — just ask) stars Poire William from G. Miclo ($9). Poire William is a colourless eau de vie that hails from Alsace and is made from the incredibly ripe Williams pear (known as the Barlett in North America). The most sumptuous versions of the fruit brandy see the pear actually grown in the bottle, allowing for optimal ripeness — not to mention rather whimsical orchards.
For the cocktail, the brandy is matched with St. Germain elderflower liqueur and ginger ale, making for a subtly fruity drink which avoids overt sweetness.
Rakia Bar, 690 Euclid Ave., 416-778-8800