What to imbibe: The Gibson, Dark & Stormy, Some Like It Hot, Botanic Gardens
Yet another cocktail gem nestled in Chinatown, Gibson has become the familiar favourite that is the cocktail equivalent for comfort food if there ever was one. Led by another Japanese maestro, Aki Eguchi from the Jigger and Pony Group, the bar is named after the classier and more rarefied cousin to the martini, which novelist and cocktail aficionado Kingsley Amis had proclaimed the finest iteration of a dry martini in the world. In cocktail circles, the Gibson bears the mark of a serious connoisseur with unique taste and represents uncompromising quality, an ethos that this cocktail bar holds dear. Quiet and discreet, it caters to guests who know exactly what they want in a hospitable and inviting fashion. Liken it to your favourite cafe, you can slide into one of the chairs to read a book over a handcrafted cocktail (just because you can) and no one would lift an eyebrow. Another standout—the oyster selection here is excellent and at $2 to $3 a pop during Happy Hour, it is the perfect prescription for any day.
“Gibson’s Grand Shanghai is one of my favourite short drinks—a powerful concoction of punchy cognac, with the headiness of smoked angostura bitters and a lovely piquant citrus from dehydrated cranberries.” — Daniel