This week, the world of masterful mixology brings us to Toronto’s Library Bar — a jewel in the crown of the city’s hotel bar scene, nestled in the ever-sophisticated Fairmont Royal York. So, what are we drinking? Glad you asked: the aptly named King of Dreams. That’s right, we’re getting regal; with the King’s Plate running this weekend, it seemed like an appropriate choice.
Conceived and stirred-up by the newly appointed Director of Mixology, James Grant (2021 World Class Global winner, 2022 Canada’s 100 Best Bartender of the Year), the King of Dreams is part of the freshly revamped Library Bar menu. Cinema, folklore and great works of literature are brought together by an overriding theme of storytelling through liquid excellence. The King of Dreams is part of the “Masterpieces” collection, home to a more premium selection of cocktails with fine, and often rare, ingredients driving a higher price point ($85 – $125).
Beautifully balanced and booze forward, the King of Dreams is luxury from the very first sip. Hennessy XO is very much the icon of the esteemed cognac maison. Blending 100-year-old eaux-de-vie, Hennessy XO was originally created in 1870 by Maurice Hennessy for his circle of high-flying friends. From grape to bottle, the process of curating XO is intricate and artful, rather like the cocktail in which it headlines here.
Expertly interacting with the cognac, the rare Palo Cortado sherry adds depth and the Napolen Bas Arnagnac brings through notes of cocoa, vanilla and citrus rind. Clarified liqueurs are a mark of mixology finesse, and here Grant adds a half measure for subtle sweetness and spice. Understanding the holy art of balance, the unique bitters add somewhat of a chefs-kiss moment to a deluxe cocktail, garnished with two maraschino cherries for simple sophistication.
The King of Dreams is described by Grant as “an ancient dream of paradise – milk, honey, and a story”, and is accompanied in the menu by a quote from Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, “A creature of hope. For Dreams are hopes, and echoes of hopes.”
If that isn’t something to chew on as you sip, we don’t know what is. Let’s hear it for delicious reverie!
Of course, cocktails are best enjoyed in both excellent company and fine surroundings; you’ll be pleased to know that the Library Bar is revered for its warm and graceful hospitality as well as its stylish Art Deco ambience (side note, the space recently underwent an extensive renovation, reopening in November 2021). Sticking around for a second drink? We can’t blame you. Insider tip: the Library Bar is also famed for its martinis. Cheers!