How to make Bar Koukla's Greek cocktails at home

We take a trip to the Mediterranean with these three Greek cocktails from Ossington restaurant Bar Koukla. Here are the recipes.

With Toronto slowly reemerging from a long lockdown, a return to indoor dining is causing many mixed feelings. But as my sleepy eyes adjust to Bar Koukla’s airy, sun-soaked interior — I know I’m ready to dive back in. Wrapped in windows and adorned with natural textiles, it’s the first summer I’ve ever craved a seat inside over one on the patio.

Amongst a menu of small plates and natural wines, the cocktails here are one of the biggest draws to their terrazzo bar top.

“The ancient Greeks literally had gods of wine and partying,” says head bartender Stuart Knapman, who was drawn to Bar Koukla’s Greek flavours and technique-heavy approach to cocktails. “It’s often a country that’s overlooked compared to other Mediterranean countries. It’s exciting to build recognition for Greek spirits and cocktails.”

Knapman gets his inspiration from Greek mythology, as well as Greece’s rich history of winemaking, often utilizing the biodynamic wine list for interesting bases. However, his approach to cocktail making shifted to sustainability after a tumultuous year.

“People are opening and closing and having to throw out fridges full of food. It’s hard to stay zero waste in these circumstances,” says Knapman, who has been finding innovative ways to use leftover ingredients in his cocktails. A box of unused blood oranges — intended for a crudo — was transformed into a bright, citrusy liqueur for his paper plane riff, the Makeshift Wings.

After the year we’ve had, a cocktail here feels like celebrating on a cloud-tipped Mount Olympus, inside or out.

Aegean Spritz

Serves 1

Preparation time 5 minutes


  • 1 oz Absolut Juice Pear and Elderflower
  • ⅓ oz Skinos Mastiha
  • ⅓ oz Affino Aperitivo
  • ⅓ oz St-Germain
  • 2 oz prosecco
  • 1 oz soda water
  • Edible flowers, to garnish


  1. Build all ingredients in a large wine glass and add cubed ice.
  2. Garnish with edible flowers and expressed lemon zest.

Medusa Margarita

Serves 1

Preparation time 15 minutes


  • 1 ½ oz jalapeno-infused blanco tequila
  • ¼ oz mezcal
  • ¼ oz Green Chartreuse
  • 1 oz green pepper & pineapple cordial
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice

Green pepper & pineapple cordial

  • 500 ml pineapple juice
  • 500 ml green bell pepper juice
  • 1000 g granulated sugar
  • 10 g citric acid powder


Green pepper & pineapple cordial method

  1. Cold press pineapple and green bell pepper juice.
  2. Blend in a food processor with granulated sugar and citric acid powder. Bottle. Keep for up to two weeks refrigerated.

Medusa Margarita method

  1. Rim half of a rocks glass with black lava salt.
  2. Build all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake over cubed ice.
  3. Strain into rimmed glass and fill with cubed ice.

Nights of Wine & Roses

Serves 1

Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 40 minutes


  • 1½ oz dry red wine
  • ⅔ oz Grey Goose Vodka
  • ⅓ oz Dillon’s Rose Gin
  • 1 oz raspberry hibiscus cordial
  • ½ oz lemon juice
  • 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
  • Fresh mint and a rose petal, to garnish

Raspberry hibiscus cordial

  • 250 g frozen raspberries
  • 10 g dried hibiscus
  • 450 g granulated sugar
  • 5 g citric acid powder
  • 210 ml water


Raspberry hibiscus cordial method

  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a low simmer, stirring the mixture regularly.
  2. Simmer for 30 minutes covered, being careful not to boil.
  3. Strain out solids and bottle. Keep for up to three weeks refrigerated.

Nights of Wine & Roses method

  1. Build all ingredients in a cocktail shaker and shake over cubed ice.
  2. Pour contents of shaker, including cracked ice, into a highball glass.
  3. Add cracked ice to fill up the glass.
  4. Crown with crushed ice and garnish with a metal straw, fresh mint and a rose petal.

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