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Toby’s Spring Fling Cocktail Event

Tonight we were at another Toby’s Liquor store event. Still one of the best kept secrets as a spot to grab a drink, or a dozen at.

Unexpected and full of whimsy. These are ticketed events held every so often on the second floor mezzanine of Toby’s Liquor Store, on commercial drive. Tonight it was all about cocktails, as the drinks were curated to help usher in spring with fruity mixes and mixers expected to do well into the hotter weather months.

As guests were ushered to the top floor, we were each given a sampler glass to drink out of. One that we could also take home as a keepsake. A little coup that could also double as an egg cup.

From here, you were given the reign of the space as you visited each table, engaged in the vendors, and tried as many of the samples as you wanted. The only caveat was that there were no spit bucket, so each was a commitment.

Luckily there were help yourself jugs of icy water and a charcuterie board to graze on at the back bar.

I won’t be going over all the stations, but will highlight the standouts, from the ones that I tried.

I was surprised by the presence of actual mixed cocktails, as I expected this to be a showcase of easy to serve premixed drinks. Therefore, was immensely impressed by the bartenders present, mixing to order.

My favourite of which was North Side Fresh offering up a creamy oat milk number that tasted like a baked brown sugar dessert.

Adjacent was Oenomel Chocolate, set up with samples of their local artisan bars and truffles; paired with North Side Fresh’s two cocktails and featured spirits. A very clever idea and the crowd pleaser.

For premium premixed cocktails “On the Rocks” is one I gravitate towards. You buy it by the bottle and pour it as is, over ice or neat. Their cocktails are mixed with well known branded spirits the likes of Effen Vodka for the Cosmopolitan and the Espresso Martini, Hornitos Tequila for their Margaritas, and The Old Fashion had Knob Creek Bourbon. These were available for tasting today, and you were able to cop the matching coloured hat, give’ your drink of choice.

I would be interested in trying their newest releases in the future. A classic daiquiri with Cruzan Rum, a jalapeño pineapple margarita with Très Generaciones, and an Aviation with Larids Gin.

I discovered Lulu Spritz as a great picnic punch. Light and refreshing but with a higher 7% ABV than the regular 4-5% options out there. Not boozy, but complimentary to most foods given its citrus foil. The bitter lemon was mixed with vodka and the bitter orange with pinot grigio.

The only other mixed to order cocktail being offered were from Tanduay Rum. They had 3 different types of Mojitos featuring a different bottle of their rum in each. They had a classic mojito with lime and mint, and with coconut milk and their Boracay Coconut Mojito.

The most unique was the Tanduay Tamarind Mojito with Tanduay Gold Rum, Tamarind Puree, Demerara Syrup, Fresh Lime, Thai Basil, and Soda. There was no hiding the unique tangy and acidic nature of the tamarind in this.

Here, we also picked up another hat, to add to our collection and to match our mojito tasting.

At the Dillon’s table they were sampling the 3 flavours of their variety pack. Blueberry, Peach & A Twist of Lemon Vodka Cocktail; Raspberry, Lemon & A Hint of Lavender Vodka Cocktail; and Apricot & A Touch of Ginger Vodka Cocktail. My favourite was the latter as you don’t often see apricot as a fruit juices, and I also liked the warmth of the ginger as a digestif.

I was excited to try White Claw’s new tequila line, having already been well acquainted with their original low calorie vodka series so many summers in a row. And honestly, these are even easier to chug, and they have the same number of calories in each can. And like with the vodka, my favourite was the mango for its sweetness over lime and raspberry.

They too had a branded bucket hat for those who visited their booth, and we would add this to our growing collection of merchandise.

Another familiar spirit is Empress Gin, and today we had the ability to try their entire 3 bottle line. The original purple butterfly pea flower. Its sister, elderflower gin in a rosy hue. And the new member, a more traditional clear cucumber lemon gin. This was ideal for mixing, which we saw first hand in their cocktail garnished with a fresh stick of cucumber.

I spotted and was happy to learn that Please! Beverage Co.’s improper cocktails with proper ingredients is available at Toby’s. More like adult juice than a cocktail. So smooth and fruit forward that you can’t taste the liqueur.

Other canned cocktails for tasting include Cutwater’s margarita and Paloma, which drank like water.

Social Lite with their seltzer cocktails and a classic Tom Collins.

Georgian Bay’s gin in a very giftable wrapped bottle.

The familiar Barcardi was pouring out shots of their limited edition tropical flavoured vodka. The photo included coconut, pineapple, and guava.

You could also taste Cazadores’ tequila as is and take home a souvenir branded mug.

Busker was the only whiskey present. They mixed their Irish whiskey with a fruit number and I was not a fan of. Their whiskey was better neat.

And we discovered The Irony, a brand of spirits operating out of East Van’s Mad Labs. They have a collection of semi-sweet liqueurs and punchy spirits with flavours like blueberry, horseradish, cranberry, and jalapeño. I liked how their labels looked like drawings from your high-school science textbook.

Overall this served as a great way to get aquatinted with new spirits and beverages, that were available for guests to purchase during and after the event at a discount. As well as a fun social activity for a group of friends. Be sure to look out for the next one with the link below, I am sure you will see me there.


Toby’s Liquor Store- Commercial Drive
2733 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5N 4C5
(604) 879-2099

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