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Roses Cocina's ecclectic, show-stopping cocktail recipes

X marks the spot for inventive cocktails and contemporary Tex-Mex cuisine at the recently opened Roses Cocina in Toronto’s luxurious Hotel X.

Roses Signature cocktail from Roses Cocina

From my apartment window, Hotel X’s roaring rooftop parties often catch my eye. The colourful lighting, blazing outdoor fire pit and throngs of mingling socialites always have me staring enviously. Pyjama-clad and with zero plans to go out, I feel as though I’m catching far-away glimpses of parties at Gatsby’s mansion.

Finally securing an invitation to visit the luxurious property, I gleefully don a collared shirt and practically waltz my way into Roses Cocina, Hotel X’s nifty yet humble second floor restaurant that dishes out upscale North American cuisine with a Tex-Mex twist.

Between bites of halibut served with chayote relish and strip loin-filled fajitas, it’s hard to pull my eyes away from the enormous floor-to-ceiling windows, each pane framing a scenic vista of Toronto’s skyline. Punctuated with modern decor, bulbous globe lights and a flat-screen showing black and white versions of popular films, everything here feels slick and contemporary.

Roses’ eclectic personality blooms on the cocktail menu. Head mixologist and maestro of the cocktail program, Ben Kingstone lights up as he unveils some of the compositions he’s arranged for thirsty guests. The Sayulita, he beams, is his favourite: Lemongrass-infused Ketel One Vodka and cucumber-flavoured dry sake mingle with salted coconut, rosewater cordial, mint and soda in a pastel tiki glass.

Ben Kingstone, head mixologist at Roses Cocina

Ben Kingstone, head mixologist at Roses Cocina

The wonders of this drink don’t stop there; the lime juice in the Sayulita isn’t from an actual fruit. “It’s actually a recipe I’ve been working on and curating for a very long time: to take the molecular structure of all the acids that are within a lime and add it to a cocktail,” Kingstone explains matter-of-factly. The concoction harnesses citric-acid compounds to emulate what a lime tastes like — and blows my mind a bit.

“Roses is definitely not just for hotel guests,” Kingstone adds. Sure, they cater to international travellers, but I sense Roses offers something beyond your standard hotel restaurant and bar. From genius infusions created with specific cocktails in mind to libations with near-perfectly balanced flavour profiles, there is real thought and ingenuity here that local foodies will both respect and admire.

Disclaimer: To make things easier for the home bartender, we’ve simplified some of Roses Cocina’s recipes.

California Chrome

California Chrome cocktail from Roses Cocina

Makes 1

Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ oz Tromba Blanco
  • ¾ oz white port
  • ½ oz salted honey ginger syrup
  • 1 ½ oz fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • Grapefruit moon, to garnish

Salted ginger syrup

  • ½ cup fresh ginger juice
  • ½ cup water
  • ¾ cup white sugar
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 ½ oz honey

Method

Salted ginger syrup method

  1. Add ginger, water and sugar to a pot and bring to a simmer, not a boil, until sugar dissolves into a syrup.
  2. Add honey to the syrup.
  3. Add a pinch of salt.
  4. Stir to combine, then cool in the fridge.

California Chrome Method

  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker tin with ice.
  2. Shake until cold to the touch.
  3. Strain into a glass over fresh ice and top with soda.
  4. Garnish with a grapefruit moon and serve.

Sayulita

Makes 1

Preparation time 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Tanqueray Gin
  • 1 oz cucumber dry sake
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 3 oz salted coconut and rosewater cordial
  • 5 mint leaves
  • Soda water
  • Dehydrated lime wheel, mint sprig and cucumber ribbon, to garnish

Salted coconut and rosewater cordial

  • 4 cups coconut water
  • 1 cup + 3 Tbsp white sugar
  • 4 tsp lime juice
  • 4 drops rosewater
  • ¾ tsp salt

Method

Salted coconut and rosewater cordial method

  1. Combine all ingredients and stir until fully incorporated.

Sayulita method

  1. Add the mint leaves and lime juice to a collins glass.
  2. Fill the glass with crushed ice and add the vodka, gin and sake.
  3. Stir with a bar spoon.
  4. Top with soda water.
  5. Garnish with a mint sprig, dehydrated lime and cucumber ribbon.

Roses Signature

Roses Signature cocktail from Roses Cocina

Makes 1

Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ oz Tromba Blanco
  • ¾ oz crème de cassis
  • 1 oz fresh lime juice
  • ¼ oz salted vanilla agave syrup
  • Black salt, to garnish

Salted vanilla agave syrup

  • 1 ¾ tsp vanilla extract
  • 6 oz agave nectar
  • 1 cup + 3 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1 cup + 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 3 cups water

Method

Salted vanilla agave syrup

  1. Combine all ingredients, except for vanilla extract, in a pot and bring to a simmer, not a boil.
  2. Stir until combined.
  3. Once cool, add the vanilla extract.

Roses Signature Method

  1. Add all ingredients to a shaker tin with ice.
  2. Shake until cold to the touch then strain into a glass over fresh ice.
  3. Garnish with black salt and serve.

The Hip

Makes 1

Preparation time 10 minutes

Cooking time 1.5 hours

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ oz lemon vodka
  • ¾ oz Cointreau
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • ½ oz simple syrup
  • 1 oz egg whites (or vegan alternative)
  • ¾ oz summer berry cordial
  • Orange zest, to garnish
  • 1 pinch sumac, to garnish

Summer Berry cordial

  • 2 cups frozen berries
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 oz lime juice
  • 2 ¼ cups white sugar
  • 1 pinch salt

Method

Summer berry cordial method

  1. Combine the berries and water in a pot.
  2. Bring to a simmer and let cook for 1.5 hours.
  3. Take off the heat and let sit for another 1.5 hours.
  4. Strain the berries, saving the liquid.
  5. Add the salt, lime juice and sugar to the remaining liquid and stir to combine.

The Hip method

  1. Add egg whites to a shaker, and shake hard without ice.
  2. Add all ingredients to the shaker with ice. Shake.
  3. Fine strain into a large coupe.
  4. Top with orange zest and sumac.

*Kingstone uses leftover bubbles from sparkling wine to create the foam. To make your own foam at home, use egg whites.

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