For a long old time (has it been months, years or decades?), we've been living out our restaurant dreams vicariously through cocktail kits and takeout from Toronto's latest openings. While that's been a much-needed distraction from the apocalypse, purchasing a set that comes with a bottle of gin, a bar spoon and a mixing glass every time you want to recreate that bar experience quickly adds up and doesn't help our pandemic spending habits (online shopping is literally all we have right now, okay?). 

Praise be, then, for another timely AGCO boon in the form of recently legalized pre-mixed bottled cocktails. Alcohol sold for delivery must now be securely closed, instead of sealed and unopened — making it much easier for restaurants and bars to offer more takeout and delivery options, including mixed drinks and growlers. In the latest episode of Seriously, Canada?!, the laws have been updated to permit something that should never have been restricted.

But in a year of seriously dire news, we'll take delicious, premade, batched and bottled cocktails from Toronto's bars and restaurants as a huge positive. 

From cocktail kit connoisseurs bottling up bevvies to monthly subscriptions that will keep you in bartender-mixed libations until spring, Toronto's most innovative bars and restaurants are at it again.

The best bottled cocktails for delivery in Toronto

1. Dolly Trolley Drinks

Delivery only

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If you've ever spent an eve at Supernova Ballroom, the now-shuttered sustainable cocktail bar on Bay Street, and wondered how you could ever enjoy their seasonal sippers at home, you're in luck. Kelsey Ramage quickly pivoted last spring and created Dolly Trolley Drinks, a cocktail delivery service that uses their signature preservation techniques and flair to bring drinks to your door. Born as a way to survive the financial challenges of the pandemic, Dolly Trolley put together cocktail kits with housemade mixers and spirit add-ons so fans could easily mix up bar-quality drinks from their jammies. Now, the service has evolved to create classic cocktails, including paper plane and clover club, pre-bottled with enough for around 6–7 serves. Every drink has its own how-to video with Kelsey, so you can flex your mixologist's muscles.

2. Cry Baby Gallery

1468 Dundas St. W.

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Le sigh — if there's one drinking den you really ought to see in person, it's Cry Baby Gallery: a cocktail-bar-meets-art-gallery with some oysters thrown in there for guaranteed good times. Rob Granicolo — the mastermind behind this speakeasy snuck behind a room full of art — has made the best of things with a monthly cocktail subscription service that delivers a different bottled libation to your door once a week. Depending on the offering, there might be a classic cocktail like penicillin winging its way to you, or the Noce do Coco, a Montenegro and coconut concoction to whisk you off on virtual vacation this winter. For $100, you'll get four cocktails delivered in the cutest branded bottles, so long as you're within Cry Baby's delivery zone.

3. Minami

225 King St. W. Suite 100

The latest concept from Aburi Restaurants Canada (Miku, TORA, Aburi Hana), Minami also specializes in the same signature torched aburi sushi that the other restaurants are known for, but this time in a stunning space on King West. Along with the flame-seared sushi, bento boxes and bowls, you can also order their premade bottled cocktails for takeout and delivery. The Shinjuku is a delightful mixture of sake, lychee liqueur and grapefruit syrup, with cotton candy on the side to garnish. And why not add on a bottle of sake too while you’re at it?

4. The Cloak Bar

488 Wellington St. W

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Our favourite speakeasy spot may be closed for indoor dining, but that hasn’t stopped them from getting their creative craft cocktails into our hands. In addition to their boozy kits, they’re also selling full sets with all the basic bartending accessories and unique batched cocktails, like their Oaxacan old fashioned and tobacco island punch.

5. Prohibition Social House

696 Queen St. E.

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Hearts were broken when Leslieville institution Prohibition Gastrohouse announced its permanent closing in the spring, but luckily for eastenders, the property was scooped up by Aidan Hospitality (Grace O'Malley's, The Wallace Gastropub) and has been given a second chance at life under the new name Prohibition Social House. Order one of their classic cocktails to-go (negroni, margarita, old fashioned), along with elevated pub fare.

6. BarChef 

472 Queen St. W.

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Maybe we would have paid more attention in school if molecular mixology was a course, but at least we have BarChef to give us a delicious lesson in all things cocktails. While we miss being served the intricate displays of innovative drinks beneath the glow of their towering bottle shelf, their newly available hand-crafted bottled cocktails and cocktail sets are a lovely placeholder. Their toasted old fashioned with Canadian rye, Ontario maple syrup, toasted chamomile and saffron bitters will keep you warm and toasty this winter. The Best of BarChef sets will give you a taste of the good ol' days with cocktails that have defined their programme. Order online from their site for pickup or delivery.

7. Ricarda's 

134 Peter St.

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Weekends are a little quieter without Ricarda's Jazz Brunch in our lives but at least we have their signature, premade cocktails to shake things up on our Saturday — okay fine, Tuesday nights. The Never Mind with chamomile infused gin, St. Germain, lavender and lemon juice is like sleepy time tea, but better, because gin. And the Ms. Carter with Bulleit Bourbon, Bénédictine, Dolin Dry Vermouth, grenadine, lemon juice and Peychaud’s Bitters is our new lockdown BFF that we don't have to keep distance from. Order from their online shop.

8. Bar Mordecai

1272 Dundas St. W.

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Mahjong Bar’s sister spot and next-door neighbour, Bar Mordecai had just barely been born when the pandemic hit and forced them to shutter. Now the new kid on the block is dishing out more than a dozen different cocktail kits and bottled cocktails that combine the best of both bars. If you're having trouble deciding, go based on the season — the horoscope season, that is. A riff on a Oaxacan old fashioned, the Aquarius season cocktail sees reposado, mezcal and 'Aquarian syrup' combined for a quirky, spiced sipper.

9. The Cocktail Shop

229 Ossington Ave.

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From the team behind Mediterranean restaurant Bar Sybanne at Ossington and Dundas, comes The Cocktail Shop. Currently the only cocktail kit vendor on UberEats, they’ve made it even easier to get your hands on expertly curated cocktails. Their premade bottled offerings include tipples like the City of Gold, with coffee-infused Bacardi, banana liqueur, pineapple and cream of coconut. We may not be able to leave the country, but we can sip on this vacation in a glass.

... And the places doing bottled cocktails for pickup 

10. Cocktail Bar

892 Queen St. W.

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Dundas West's Cocktail Bar has been one of our favourite Toronto drinking holes for years — but when the pandemic swooped into our lives, the destination for well-crafted beverages hid out in the wings. Unable to serve any kind of food for takeout, Jen Agg's spot has been patiently waiting for a miracle. Bottled cocktails might not constitute salvation, but it's a lifeline at least. "Our beloved Cocktail Bar is hanging on by a thread, because there was really nothing for us to sell...until now!" writes the restaurateur in an Instagram post.

While the bar will continue to sell full cocktail kits, David Greig (one of the Agg empire partners) will be operating a bottle shop out of Cocktail Bar on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and selling bottled cocktails like Happy Accident and Bumblebee. You'll have to pop by to find out what's available that day, but no matter what, you're guaranteed a high-quality bevvy.

11. Civil Liberties

878 Bloor St. W.

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This Bloorcourt Village bar has kept its creative juices flowing throughout the pandemic with their bottle shop and cocktail kits, and now they have a lineup of fantastic cocktails to-go. Each cocktail serves two and comes with funny quotes from their respective bartender. We'll let them do the talking.

"Chinese 5 Spice is just f*cking great, and everything is better with a bit of butter," says Graham, referring to The Spice World Martini (5 Spice butter washed Grey Goose Vodka, Lillet, Grand Marnier). "This drink is meant to taste like the only truly redeeming parts of a snowshoeing or cross country experience. Much like the horrific winter slog, we are all going through, these experiences mostly f*cking suck," Nick says about the Snow Shoes cocktail, which most definitely does not suck.

12. Clockwork

100 Front St. W.

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While sipping cocktails and champagne (yes, at the same time) on the Clockwork Terrace may feel like light years away, there is a way to pass the time until then that doesn't involve 1,000 piece puzzles. Clockwork, the Fairmont Royal York's lobby lounge which looks like it's straight out of a scene from The Great Gatsby, has bottled cocktails that deserve a best dressed nom. for presentation — and they taste just as good, too.

Director of Mixology Rus Yessenov has bottled up his clever creations so you don't have to spend another night mixing vodka with orange juice — we've already got one pandemic going on, OK? Just twist, pour over ice, sit back in your matching sweatsuit and sip. Order Clockwork at Home through their website, and pick-up between 3:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.